…to those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death…

“And you, my child (Zechariah on the birthday of his son John), will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death to guide our feet into the path of peace.” Luke 1:76-79 ESV

On the day of John the Baptist’s birth, his father Zechariah found his voice restored and was filled with the Holy Spirit when he said these words about his son (for the whole amazing story read Luke chapter 1).

This passage seems appropriate for New Year’s Eve—especially at the end of such a difficult year for so many of us. We have all witnessed the horrific deeds done in darkness. We have been pressed into the shadow of death by the Corona virus.

I’m moved by the phrase, because of the tender mercy of our God…the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death to guide our feet into the path of peace.

Long before 2020, I experienced life in the darkness. I was oppressed by my own deceitfulness and its consequences. I lived in despair. It was then a friend who loved Christ prepared the way for my salvation by telling me about Jesus. I received forgiveness of my sins by accepting Jesus’ death in my place. His love brought light and hope and peace to my life—and still does.

Throughout the New Testament, those who followed Jesus were those who acknowledged their need for a Savior and turned to him in faith. Those who were righteous in their own eyes saw no need of this Jesus or of any Savior at all. But Jesus said he didn’t come for them! (Matthew 9:13, 21:32)

Are you in the dark? Do you sit under the shadow of death?

Are you—

  • ensnared? Jesus came to set you free! (Luke 4:18)
  • hopeless and despairing? Jesus is the light which drives away the darkness! (John 12:46)
  • oppressed? Jesus lifts your burdens! (Matthew 11:29-30)
  • lost? Jesus came to seek and save the lost! (Luke 19:10)
  • guilt-ridden? Jesus didn’t come for the righteous but for sinners! (Matthew 9:13, Mark 2:17)
  • immobilized by the power of death? Jesus destroyed death! (Hebrews 2:14)
  • anxious and afraid? Jesus gives peace! (Ephesians 2:14-18)

Because of the tender mercy of God, the rising Son came to us from heaven to shine on YOU!

You need not remain in the darkness, Jesus came for you!

Go to Jesus, he will set you free—no circumstances are too difficult for him.

You can have life and peace in 2021! Happy New Year, my friend.

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