JESUS IS THE LIGHT OF ETHIOPIA
You can’t go long without experiencing the oppression of evil in Ethiopia. Darkness has a tangible presence in that place. Satan does not need to hide behind sex-saturated marketing campaigns, godless academic debates, or idolatrous social commentaries. He rears his ugly head, and cries out in his ugly voice to everyone. In fact, it’s the first thing you hear each morning.
Every day in Ethiopia while it’s still dark, 3:45 a.m. to be exact, a call to prayer is played over loud speakers, piercing the quiet of night and waking those in the deepest slumber. The call is a rhythmic, primal chant beckoning its hearers to wake up and come worship a false god. This false god requires righteous works, but does nothing to make that possible. This disruption dominates the airways, it’s the battle of darkness waged in the dark.
When I first experienced this, I was annoyed at being woken up so early. Then I felt sympathetic to all the people who have to undergo this each morning. I thought of the mother who just got her newborn back to sleep before being rudely awoken again. I thought of the laborer who is forced to work sleep deprived in his trade because he is roused hours before he needs to be at work. Day in and day out, darkness cracks its whip over these treasured possessions of God.
Appropriately, the light overcomes this darkness—these calls to prayer end with the sunrise. There is hope in the light.
“Because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1:78–79
Jesus is the light of the world. Jesus is the light of Ethiopia. Jesus is the light of our lives.
“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” John 8:12
Jesus is so different from this false god. He too requires righteousness, but he knows that we, just like our father Adam, have fallen far short of it. Instead of demanding righteousness from us, he has made his righteousness our own.
“For as by one man’s [Adam’s] disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s [Jesus’] obedience the many will be made righteous.”Romans 5:19
I thank God Almighty that I’m not tormented the way they are in Ethiopia each morning. But I’m not so deceived to think that Satan and darkness are not also at work where I live. It may be more discrete, but it’s no less destructive. Thankfully, Jesus is just as present, too. Jesus is my hope in the battle waged against darkness, a battle that continues in this life, but a war that Jesus has already won as he tells us in Revelation:
“The devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” Revelation 20:10
I couldn’t imagine living without having my hope grounded in what Jesus has done. The evidence of evil at work in the world and the devastating effects of sin in my life and in the world would be too much to bear. But, Satan doesn’t win, he doesn’t get the last word—Jesus does. Jesus has conquered the world:
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”John 16:33
Jesus gets the last word. And his last word is our greatest hope:
“Surely I am coming soon.” Revelation 22:20
This post is republished material from Mars Hill Church for teaching and archive purposes only.