Today’s Bible reading is Isaiah 9 and Romans 12.
Reading Isaiah 8 earlier this week felt a little like scanning today’s headlines:
Conspiracy theories. Fear. Disappointing leaders. False messengers. Misleading “comforters.” Distress. Rage. Contempt for authority. Disregard for God. Darkness. Anguish.
It’s all right there in Isaiah 8, and has been for 2,700 years. It’s not a pleasant chapter to read. But the darkness of Isaiah 8 is what helps us see how much we need the light of Isaiah 9, and how precious that light is.
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone. (Isa 9:2)
Sound familiar? Seven centuries after Isaiah wrote them, those words were picked up by Matthew and used as a timeless pointer.
And leaving Nazareth [Jesus] went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:
“…the people dwelling in darkness
have seen a great light…” (Matt 4:13-16)
Into a world plagued by conspiracy theories, fear, disappointing leaders, false messengers, misleading “comforters,” distress, rage, contempt for authority, disregard for God, darkness, and anguish, light began to shine.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
He’s right there in Isaiah 9.
“In him was life,” John tells us from the outset of his gospel, “and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:4-5).
Two thousand years later, the light continues to shine. His kingdom stands. The gates of hell shall not prevail against him. Those dwelling in deep darkness still have the opportunity to turn. Listen to him as Counselor. Recognize him as Prince. Follow him into the paths of peace. Submit to him as God.
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light…” For 2,700 years the answer–God’s answer–to the darkness of Isaiah 8 has been shining in Isaiah 9.