Darkness prevailed over the land. People were in bondage to both a governmental system and a religious system that choked the life from everyday people. Lawlessness had increased. Corruption in tax collection and among the elite were common. Political or religious leadership would do anything to protect even the notion of a threat of someone else who might be construed as a king. Justice and mercy were often forgotten or negated. (Matthew 2:16-18; 27:18, 23:23)
Sounds like today but the verses are a reference to the time when Jesus was born. In his youthful years he lived perfectly — a model citizen, a humble young man, obedient to his parents, able to run the father’s business — even in the midst of a land of darkness. No one would know him until…as foretold by the old books, John the Baptist would come to make a straight path, to preach repentance for sin, and actually see the Spirit, like a dove, settle upon Jesus Christ. It is said in Matthew 4:15-16 that the people in darkness had seen a great light. On them “a light has dawned.”
Just a few years later, having healed thousands, preached about the Kingdom, delivered many from demonic oppression, and raised people from the dead, He would die for all, though He had done nothing wrong. He was the Son of God; He was sent by the Father; all things had been completed to fulfill Scripture. A way to God through Him had been secured for anyone who was or is besieged with sin and darkness (Hebrews 1:3).
The days, then, were similar to this day of unrest, lawlessness, arrogance, and oppression. And, these things are not just in one place. Some regions, countries, cities, and locales have extreme issues, while the people remain in darkness. Some things have not changed since sin entered the world (Genesis 3).
So, don’t be alarmed as a believer but be circumspect and live in the light. If you have the word of life, live and speak it. Defend the widow, help the fatherless, visit those who are sick or in prison, help the oppressed, speak biblical truth and be salt. Nothing has changed about those commands. They remain in force and He knows our walk. (Matthew 25:31-46)
For unbelievers, the call of God to come to him has not changed. You can reach out to him because the Creator of all things knows our plight and our needs. He knew them from the beginning, but Christ has secured a way to know him in a personal way (Hebrews 1:3, 8:11, Jeremiah 31:34). This has not changed because Christ paid the ultimate price, though all deserted him, to ensure this path is clear by dying on the cross. You need only to choose Him from the heart, and trying to make yourself right enough to deserve Him will never succeed. It takes a heart change that only He can do.
Meanwhile, He uses circumstances of storm or strife, lack or blessing, and the testimony of those who follow him for one purpose: to call those in the darkness to come to the light. Unrest in the heart and sin, which is nothing more or less than wanting one’s own way apart from God, continues to warp and oppress people until death occurs. The time is upon many to decide to draw close to Jesus Christ and know him. “A light has dawned.”
The first image is by Grace Wagler, used with permission.
For questions about a biblical world view and its pertinence to human life, readers are invited to obtain the creation study under downloadable courses.