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I. Into my life

II. Into this world

Matthew 4:12-23 12 When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he returned to Galilee. 13 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali— 14 to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah: 15“Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— 16the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” 17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” 18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him. 21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.

In the name of Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, dear Christian friends,

Do you remember your child’s first word? Many people do. To hear that first intelligible word come out of your child’s mouth is a monumental event as it signals growth, maturity and wisdom.

Have you ever wondered what the baby Jesus’ first word was? Was it Abba, the Aramaic word for father or Immah, the Aramaic word for mother? Besides Jesus, probably only Mary and Joseph know the answer.

We hear so very little about Jesus’ childhood, so for the first thirty years of his life, all the words of Jesus recorded for us consist of his limited interaction with his parents after they found him conversing with the teachers of the law in the Temple and his conversation with John the Baptist at the time of his baptism. His first recorded public words are found in this text. Did you hear them when they were first read? Are they memorable? “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

Why these words? Shouldn’t it have been words like “for God so loved the world” or “it is by grace you have been saved”? While they are not the most memorable words, they were effective and insightful, a combination of law and gospel, the two main teachings of the entire Bible.

These words— and all of Jesus’ recorded words throughout all of Scripture— glow like a bright light in a dark room. They are inviting, informing, inspiring! Whether it is these words or any of the rest of Jesus’ teaching and preaching, they are a beacon shining into the dark recesses of our own sinful nature and into this world of darkness in which we live. Following the words of the song sung earlier, we fervently pray, SHINE, JESUS, SHINE! I. Into my life II. Into this world.

Sin and all its components— greed, hatred, idolatry, lust, selfishness, etc.— and all its companions— the devil and his dedicated demons as well as this wicked world— resided in each of our hearts from the time we were conceived in our mother’s womb and that sinful nature was a creepy, scary place of darkness, abounding with evil and wickedness. Unfortunately, it still is and still lives in us!

But now, as children of God, baptized with the simple water and saving Word, we have Christ living in us. He is a bright light! He is a beacon of hope! He is a