Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2016
Texts: Matthew 11:11, 12; Revelation 5:5; Matthew 12:25–29; Isaiah 27:1; Matthew 11:1–12; Hebrews 2:14
Wouldn’t you love to have superb night vision so that you could see in the dark? No more stumbling around when the electricity goes out to find a flashlight. Of course you could shuck out an armload of cash and purchase a night vision device that would allow you to see objects in monochrome (usually shades of green).
The human eye can see in the dark in a limited way. Three parts of the eye make this possible. The pupil, which is like a camera’s aperture, expands and contacts to let in more or less light. The rod and cone cells are two different types of cells that perceive light. Cone cells see fine detail and color but need lots of light to work well. Rod cells only see black and white and have poor resolution, but work better in low light.
Scientists used to think that animals which can see well in low light only see things in shades of gray. But research is beginning to show us that many nocturnal creatures have color vision in near-total darkness. One of the first creatures found to have color night vision was the elephant hawkmoth. God gave them larger lenses which allow them to detect ultraviolet, yellow, and blue on a moonless night with light only coming from stars. They have no trouble finding flowers by color any more than butterflies do during the day.1
In our Sabbath school lesson for this week, we are peering into the darkness and learning about an unseen battle taking place between good and evil, between Christ and Satan. Matthew helps us to not only put on spiritual night vision goggles, but also gives us the ability to see the colors of this conflict in order that we might be on our guard.
After healing a demon-possessed man who was also blind and mute, the Pharisees claimed that Jesus cast out demons by the power of the devil. Here we “see” the colors of this cosmic battle explained by Christ. “But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?’ ” (Matthew 12:25, 26). Christ had vision that could see people’s thoughts.
Jesus unveils these two clashing kingdoms and reveals how the devil would not destroy his own empire in order to build up his realm. A nation at war with itself is weakened and will become powerless against other nations. Satan was not fighting against himself; he was in mortal combat against the Savior.
In the dark conflict over the lives of human beings, there are no “fence-sitters.” We are either on one side or the other. Let’s open our spiritual eyes wide, step away from the enemy, and walk toward our Friend.
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