The first public words of Christ after His Baptism and temptation by the devil were words of inspiration. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4.17) Christ has invited us to change the way we look at life. He has invited us to look at those around us with the Light of Christ, rather than the darkness of the world. In a world filled with darkness, we have seen The Light of God, which will guide our path. It can be very easy to be distracted by the darkness, but we have the power to chase the devil away with the commandment, “Get behind me Satan!” and he is required by God to obey our prayer, because we have the power of the Light of God. God has given us the opportunity to live rather than die, to seek Him rather than run away because The Light has come and destroyed the darkness.
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Thank you for tuning in to another episode of Be Transfigured, where we invite you to live a new life in Christ. We pray that this episode is a blessing to you and will inspire you to rededicate your life to Jesus Christ. We invite you to join us for worship or study at the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Tarpon Springs, Florida, where visitors are always welcome. We'll be back in a few moments to share some more information about our ministry.
As I mentioned when we were celebrating Christmas, immediately the world began to reject our Lord and Savior at his birth. Last week, we celebrated his baptism and we celebrated the revelation of the Trinity to the entire universe. We saw in the baptism of our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ revealed to us, Father, Son, and Holy spirit, the Trinity. And immediately again, the world began rejecting the message. The gospel that was read yesterday, although we didn't hear it today, talks about the temptation by the devil, of Jesus Christ. How the devil took Jesus right after his baptism, he took him up on top of the mountain and began tempting him. Of course, Christ being God, was able to withstand the temptation and he chased the devil away. But the devil to this very day, has never given up. The devil keeps the world in darkness, this is why in the gospel says today that Christ went and he dwelt in the land of Naphtali. It says, the people living in darkness have seen a great light, because John the Baptist had just been taken prisoner by King Herod, and so Christ moves to a place where they will accept him, ironically outside of the church to the Gentiles.
The first people to recognize Christ at his birth were the Magi outside the church. And so here again, after the baptism, we have those outside the church being blessed with the light of God because the world is filled with darkness and Christ is the light of the world. And so, being in that dark place and himself bringing light to the people, he begins and the first words of his ministry; repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. That wonderful Greek word, Ματανοείτε changed the way you look at life, changed the way you think, changed the way you see things. In spite of the fact that the world is filled with darkness, we have seen the great light. We have seen the light of God come into the world, and as we will sing after the divine liturgy, after communion, we have seen the light, we have worshiped the Trinity because God has come to save us. But my brothers and sisters in this dark world, we still must change the way we look at life. We still must, today in 2020, we still must repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
It isn't that we live such sinful lives, most of us live good lives. However, we look at life through the eyes of the dark world. And now that the light has come, it is time for us to change the way we look at things and begin looking at each other and our neighbors and our enemies with the light of Christ, with the good news that a light has come to those who live in darkness, to cast away the darkness, to shed light on the evil, and the evil will run. As Christ chased away the devil from his temptation, he teaches each and every one of us to use the very simple expression, I'll say it in Greek and in English, οπίσο μου σατανά, get behind me, Satan, and he will abide by the commandment. When he is struggling to tempt us, when he is bringing us into struggle, because we have the light of Christ, we can say to the devil with complete authority, get behind me, Satan, and he will be obedient.
It may only last for a moment because he is the conniving one. But if we look at life with the power of God's light, and if we go through our daily lives shining the light of Christ, in every moment of our life, the devil will continue to run away from us because the devil does not like the light. The devil prefers the darkness. And so, Christ reminding us, change the way we look at things, change our perspective, it is our opportunity, my brothers and sisters, to get back to what really matters in life, and that is our relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is so easy in this world to turn the internet on or to turn the television on, and to get lost in all of the darkness of life. It is so easy for us to be tempted by the devil to walk one way or another off the path, but the kingdom of heaven is at hand, and we have the light of God to lead our way.
How wonderful that God has given us this great gift. How wonderful that God has revealed himself to us as the creator of the universe, as the one who holds life in his hands, and he's given that life to us. He's given us that opportunity to live, not to die. He's given us that opportunity to seek him not to run away. He's given us the opportunity to defeat the devil with our own prayers and our own willingness to follow Christ, no longer to allow the devil to have any kind of control over us. That is the great feast of light Των Φωτών, as we say in Greek, the feast of Epiphany, because the light has come and has destroyed the darkness. Now, it's our opportunity to stay in the light and to not go into the darkness, but to remain in the basking of Christ's Holy light. This is the year of the light, this is the year that God has given us to live a new one, a new opportunity, a new chance. This is our opportunity. Glory to God for all things.
Transfigured is a production of Be Transfigured Ministries in cooperation with the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Tarpon Springs, Florida. We depend upon your generosity to maintain our ministry. You can make a safe online donation when you visit our website, liveanewlifeinchrist.org.