This Great Gospel Light of Mine

January 22, 2017 – 3rd Sunday after Epiphany

by Pastor Pete Scheele


Grace and peace to you as you live in the assurance of God’s love, from God, our Father, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Amen.


Read Matthew 4:12 – 25

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This little light of mine I’m going to let it shine. Have you ever thought about the light that is shining from your life?  Oh, there is a light, because it was given to you when you were baptized in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  That Light is the love of God that gave His Only Son for all our sins so that we could live in the light of God’s love instead of the darkness of death. There are only two options you have once you have been baptized, because you have been given the Light of God’s love in your life.  You can go around letting the light of God’s love shine in your life and grow in it or you can spend your life trying to cover it up and turn it off the darkness of this world.  It’s your free will that determines how you use this light of God’s Love given to you and the Devil will try to blow this light out of our lives, but God will be trying to keep this light shining forever. So, what are you going to do with this great Gospel light of yours?  Or in other words what are you going to do with the ministry that God has given to you?

Now to be able to answer that question you have to understand better what your ministry is and how God is going to work in your life to enable you to accomplish your ministry alone with your vocation. Today we are going to spend some time looking at Jesus’ ministry and vocation so that we can better understand our ministry of shining the light of God’s Love to others.

This morning in our Gospel reading we were told about how Jesus begins His ministry.  Two weeks ago, we heard about Jesus’ baptism and then last week we heard about Jesus going out into the wilderness for 40 day to be tempted by the devil, which brings us to Jesus beginning His ministry as the light of the World. 

The Apostle Matthew tells us, “Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, He withdrew into Galilee.  [13] And leaving Nazareth He went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali,  [14] so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: [15] “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— [16] the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.” (Mt 4:12 -16)

From the conception of Jesus in the womb of the Virgin Mary there have been three proposes for Jesus coming into this world. The first was to save the world from the sin of all mankind, the second was to show the world the love that God has for all mankind and the third was to give the world a light that would lead them to their eternal home with God for all eternity. Jesus saved all of mankind from their sins by His life, death and resurrection.  Jesus showed the world God’s love by His life and death by sharing God’s love with everyone He met even to the point of dying for us so that He could give us a new life. Jesus by His Words and actions showed the world that the only way to eternal life is through Him and Him alone and then He gave us the Holy Spirit so that the light of God’s love could shine from our lives out onto others. Our God is unchangeable, He has loved us from the beginning of time, He has redeemed us from our sins through His Son, Jesus Christ and He is still working through His Word and Sacraments by the Holy Spirit to bring us and keep us alive with Him. We hear from the Apostle Matthew that Jesus was preaching the same message that John the Baptist was preaching as he tells us, “From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Mt 4:17)

So, what is the purpose for our ministry? Well it’s the same message as that of all the prophets, the Apostles and Jesus had come to proclaim, that all the world needs to repent of their sins and hold tightly to the great Gospel light of God’s love given to us so that we will be ready when the kingdom of heaven comes into our lives.  That’s exactly what we are doing as we let the light of God’s love shine in our lives, which is letting the ministry God has given to us be a part of the vocation that God has given to us in this world.

Now each of us have been given skills and the abilities to use in various ways. The use of those skills and abilities gives us our vocation. So, as we let the light of God’s love shine forth to other, we are doing the work that God has given us to do with the ability given to us so that the light of God’s love is shown to a world that is dwelling in darkness.  As we let our lives shine with God’s love for others we are doing the ministry that God has given us to do in our vocation. As we walk in this world shining God’s love to others we are encouraging others to follow with us in the light of God through repenting of our sins and preparing for the kingdom of heaven to come. 

That’s what we find Jesus doing as the Apostle Matthew tells us, “While walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen.  [19] And He said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  [20] Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.  [21] And going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and He called them.  [22] Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him.” (Mt. 4:18 – 22)

Now what we are not told in the account of Matthew is that Peter, Andrew, James and John had all spent some time with Jesus before He called them to follow Him.  Jesus knew as He was walking by the Sea of Galilee that Peter, Andrew, James and John had to light of God’s love in them because His Words had given it to them, but it need to be trained for the ministry of sharing the light of God to all the world. Thus, they were the first of Jesus’ Apostles that would be trained by Jesus Himself to share the light of God’s love with the world.

So, now is the light of God’s love shining in your life?  Yes, it is shining for that’s the reason why you are here today to be feed and nourished in the great Gospel light of God’s Love so that it can help you find your way through the darkness of this world and help others come to the light of God’s Love. Do you hear the voice of Jesus calling you?  Well if you haven’t heard it yet, listen to it now. Jesus says to you, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mt. 4:19) He isn’t just talking to the fisherman of Galilee; He’s talking to all of us to let the light of the great gospel of God shine in whatever vocation we choose to work in this world at.

Follow Me,” that is to come to God’s Word and learn how to let your light shine into the world that you live in, because it is the light of God’s love that attracts the people living in darkness to come and check out what is the difference between the darkness that they are living in and the light that we are living in.

The great Gospel light that has been given to us by God’s love will shine out into the world if we don’t try to hide in under a basket or let the devil blow it out, just as song says, “Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.”  So, if we are letting the light of God shine in our lives, it would be helpful for us to keep listen and learning from God’s Word on how to bring the harvest of the light of God’s love to His kingdom. Thus, the importance of being in God’s Word daily, coming to worship God with a repentant heart and mind so that we can be fed by Jesus’ Body and Blood and refreshed in the waters of our Baptism so that the light of God’s love can shine brightly from our lives. 

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Mt 4:17) That’s the whole reason for us to let the great gospel light of God’s love shine from our lives into the world because we don’t want anyone to be left out of the kingdom of heaven. God wants us all to be with Him in His glory, but without the light of God shining in our live we are lost in the darkness of this world.  It is by God’s light shining in your lives that we are able to share the love of God with others so that they come to see the need to repent of their sins and let the great gospel light of God’s love show them the way to the Heavenly home prepared for them by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Let it shine till Jesus comes, I’m gonna let it shine.

Let it shine till Jesus comes, I’m gonna let it shine.

Let it shine till Jesus comes, I’m gonna let it shine.

Let it shine, let it shine, all the time

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.

Let it shine, let it shine, all the time

Our skills and vocations may be different from those of John the Baptist or Jesus or anyone else, but our message is the same.  It’s time to get out of the darkness of our sins and come to the great gospel light of God given to each and every one of us through God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Let your great gospel light shine into the world of darkness that we live in so that it will guide you and others to the source of all life found in Jesus Christ.  Amen.

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