When we experience hatred, our faith is strengthened by realizing that our Lord Jesus, the incarnate Son, shares in our suffering and guides us toward victory. The timeless words of Isaiah 9:2 offers practical wisdom for us.
Oppression and God’s people have always gone hand in hand. Oppression is not a one-time event; rather, it is a persistent phenomenon. God is so deeply jealous of His people. The Bible lists several examples of God reaching down to rescue His people. God is described as having “heard their cry,” “seen their misery,” “concerned about their suffering,” and “coming down to rescue” them in Exodus 3:7-8. Here God identifying with His oppressed communities reiterate His powerful acts over all forms of oppression and leading them from darkness to a great dawn.
Burden Of Darkness
Under heavy burdens, bleakness of bondage, God’s people have waited for a deliverer whose arrival will blaze a bright light.
The gloom in Isaiah 8:22 was the terrible invasion of the Assyrians, especially for the northern regions, the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali. These northern regions of the Promised Land, around the Sea of Galilee were most severely ravaged. Isaiah’s prophecy speaks this of a “land of deep darkness,” which can resonate with several issues Christian groups are facing today. These varied forms of darkness are of mild and strong forms in the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual spheres.
Let’s face our excessive worries and anxieties. Identify the dark corners of our community life as well. The first step in addressing our pain spots with God’s assistance is being open and willing to accept them.
Beacon Of Hope
Isaiah declares (9:1) that there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. Because the darkness would be dispelled by a tremendous light of salvation through the messiah king.
Since Jesus fulfilled what Isaiah predicted would be the hope for the Israelites in the future, it is now an authentic historical fact. “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (Jn 1:4-5). Born into a dismal background, the Saviour and Lord Jesus gave His life as a light to the sin-darkened human race. He has given us a light quality that no amount of power can overcome.
This advent season, reminds us that we are not to be terrified but hopeful in Jesus we have a hope in the midst of unending trails. Because the incarnate God, Jesus Christ who brought the hope, through His death and resurrection has empowered us to follow His footprints. So, we are not heading to a hopeless end but an endless hope as His witnesses.
Promise of Emmanuel is a great assurance that God is participating in our struggles. It is so vivid that as Emmanuel, Jesus himself passed through opposition and endured the cruellest persecution unjustly. Therefore, this truth of abiding presence of God is an evergreen promise that we can hold fast while sojourning through the tough tides.
Let us fasten our relationship with Jesus, so that no matter how turbulent the journey maybe we won’t lose heart!
Matthew 4:13-16 paints the fulfilment of Isaiah 9:2 in the Galilean ministry of Jesus. Since the majority of Jesus’ ministry dispelled darkness in this northern area of Israel, around the Sea of Galilee, God certainly blazed His light upon this land.
When the light permeates, darkness disappears. As Jesus resides in our hearts and communities we are set for an unending celebration. No longer we focus on our external troubles, instead focussing on Jesus’ Word and letting Him shed deep insights into every small and big need (Ps 119:105). This is the way to experience His light to stay relevant and resilient.
Interestingly, Jesus Himself was misunderstood, insulted, disowned, and persecuted, He knows our heartaches, fears, worries, emotions, etc. His name Emmanuel (Isaiah 7:14, Matt. 1:23) reassures His presence and participation in our struggles in emotional, physical, social, and spiritual realms. That’s why he said precisely to Saul, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” (Acts 9:5).
Having enlightened us, through His Person and the powerful acts, Jesus continuously offers strength and guidance to navigate difficult times to emerge resilient.
Bearers Of Light
Gloom was replaced by the glory when Jesus began His ministry. Since then, the fulfilment of this prophesy continues snowball throughout the history, even to our times. The light keeps shining brightly and spreading widely.
Isaiah 9:3 illustrates the true effect of having seen great light. It is not a private party, but of corporate celebration, marked by sharing the light of Jesus with those who need it. Jesus has passed on the baton to His followers to keep shining till His return. Jesus who said I am the light of the world (Jn 8:32) has also said you are the light of the world (Matt. 5:14). Our call is to take this light and multiply the celebration of Emmanuel in more hearts, homes and communities this year.
May the spirit of incarnation, help us take this light to the weak, meek, and disputed people those insider and outside our faith communities.