a light has dawned

Uncategorized Jul 20, 2022

“Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
      the way to the sea, along the Jordan,
     Galilee of the Gentiles—
the people living in darkness
     have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
     a light has dawned.”        Isaiah 9:1-2 

When Jesus heard that John the Baptist had been imprisoned, he left his home in Nazareth and went to Capernaum at the north end of the Sea of Galilee.  This was in the traditional lands of the Israelite tribe of Naphtali, but he probably passed through the lands of Zebulun on his way. 

His very first message in this land, far from his hometown was an echo of John’s: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”  Perhaps he felt the need to emulate his cousin, to follow the legacy of this first man to identify and anoint him, the man who baptized him.  But it wasn’t long before his message turned from “Repent” to “Follow me!”  

It certainly requires repentance to follow Jesus, because the meaning of repentance is to turn one hundred and eighty degrees and go in the opposite direction.  I’ve been going my way, doing my thing, pursuing my dreams, and I have to set all that aside and follow Jesus.  Suddenly, instead of working my goals, I’m called to work for others.  Instead of improving my life through the fruit of my labor, I’m called to work in the vineyard of my Lord, fish for souls, strive for justice and peace and prosperity for all, not just myself and my own.  For as soon I follow Jesus, the first words he says are “mourn, hunger and thirst for me, be merciful, be pure, make peace, be persecuted, let yourself be insulted, stop taking offence…do these things and you will be blessed.”  (Matthew 4:12-5:12) 

Following takes a change of direction.  It takes a change of attitude, a change of activity, changes that I cannot muster in myself without a change of heart.

“Change my heart Oh God, make it ever true.
Change my heart Oh God, may I be like You.”   Eddie Espinosa 

Love, Liz
photo by Ben Barnes