I spend most days sitting at a desk, typing on a computer and making phone calls. But last Thursday morning, I woke up in a tent in West Virginia and put on my “caving” clothes.
That day, I spent several hours climbing, wading and crawling around deep inside a couple of caves. It was wet, dark, muddy and pretty much the exact opposite of my preferred environment. But in a word, it was AWESOME.
After a few hours of exploring, the group I was with all turned off our lights to sit in absolute darkness and I couldn’t get Matthew 4:12-17 out of my head…
When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali – to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:
“Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles – the people living in the darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”
From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
We live in a world that never really gets dark. There’s the sun, moon, stars and something like 5,000,000,000 light bulbs. It’s hard to really imagine complete darkness and so it can be hard to comprehend the impact of true light coming complete darkness. But I can tell you, when I turned my little light back on in the depths of that cave, I appreciated that little light. When you come face-to-face with total dark, you crave even the tiniest of lights.
When you really come face-to-face with the darkness of sin, you crave the power of the light of Jesus.
When you really come face-to-face with the fact that you’re dying, you would do anything to live.
…but if you don’t recognize the dark, you never look for the light.