Beginning at Capernaum on Lake Galilee a light began to shine into this dark world (Matthew 4:15-16). Jesus began to publicly announce the kingdom of heaven. The village of Capernaum did not at first receive that message, and so Jesus denounced it. Modern Capernaum stands as a monument to church division with half owned by Franciscans and the other half owned by Greek Orthodox Christians. In our silly squabbles down through Christian history we have often forgotten the power of that light. That unifying message of the cross is considered to be foolishness outside of Christianity (1 Corinthians 1:10-18). Human politics has no power to unite Christians, yet that message does. It is the power of the cross, the power of God. It is a power that we ignore when we squabble over the things that divide us.
Repentance is the primary message of Jesus’ preaching (Matthew 4:17; Luke 24:47) but how does this occur? It begins like the Greek word suggests, as a change of heart. That change is a gift from heaven. In the beginning God said, let there be light, and in the beginning of a new creation in us he must shed divine light on our hearts. At first we find the light fascinating and eventually are ashamed of the darkness in us and the world. In humiliation, we will experience a change of heart, a change from arrogance and self-reliance to humility and reliance on God. Shame grows into a hatred of sin and begins to transform our actions. We fall short of perfection but love the light so much more than the darkness, and we love more deeply God’s forgiveness.
Christianity's "foolish" message is that our hope is not in the rich, powerful, intelligent and talented people who lead us, but in Jesus alone. He is the Light of the world.