Sunday, December 11, 2016
Isaiah 9: 1 – 7
Sermon Series #3 from Isaiah
Preached by Rev. Dr. Harold E. Kidd
“The People who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined” Isaiah 9:2
During this Advent Season we have been considering several passages taken from Isaiah, who received the honor of being known as the Messianic Prophet. His book having more prophesies concerning the coming of Jesus than any other prophetical writing of the Old Testament. For this morning let us consider the theme: “We Have Seen The Light.”
The prophets were men whom God raised up during the dark days of Israel’s history. In the words of James Weldon Johnson, They were God’s Trombones. Speaking truth to Power, ushering warnings of pending Judgment to God’s people lest they turn from their wicked ways, repent and turn back to God. But as well offering hope to a demoralized people of a future filled with blessing, that would be experienced with the coming of the Messiah.
Much like our own day and time, they lived in darkness, marked by the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities, social injustices, spiritual and political blight. They lived under a dark cloud of pessimism marked by: “what’s going to happen to us?” And one of the messages God gave to Isaiah to speak to His people, was that light was coming into their darkened world through the coming of this Messiah.
This light who is Jesus, whose birth we celebrate, would be a light shining in a dark world, a guiding light for those who have lost their way, a spiritual light for those whose eyes see only in a mirror darkly. And it is because “We have seen HIs Light”, that we can hold fast to our hope, our peace, our Joy and His Love for us.
And if Scripture truly does interpret Scripture, then every one of the Old Testament Prophecies concerning Jesus’ birth , His Life, His ministry, His death, and His resurrection finds its fulfillment in the New Testament. Isaiah truly was one of God’s Trombones. For when Isaiah prophesied of the Messiah in Chapter 61 of His book, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor, He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted.” This was confirmed the day Jesus went into the Synagogue in Luke 4 and publicly announced the beginning of His ministry by reading from Isaiah chapter 61 saying, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your hearing.”
When Isaiah prophesied in chapter 53, “That He has borne our grief and carried our sorrows and was bruised for our iniquities, and the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” It was fulfilled at Calvary.
When John declares in verses 4 -5 of his Gospel, “In Him was life and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness and the darkness” he did not comprehend, “meaning could not overcome it.” This is in fulfillment of what Isaiah had written in chapter 9: 2; “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death; upon them a light has shined.”
No matter how good our eyesight is, no matter how keen our natural vision, we need light in order to see clearly. For darkness hides true reality. Without light to reveal that which is really there, without light to expose what is truly real, we can begin to imagine and speculate at what we think we see or imagine, but which might not actually be real. And without light to show us reality, we can see or imagine blindly, never taking note of what is truth.
Darkness blinds, but light enable us to see. Darkness obscures and clouds, while light is a radiant energy that stimulates visual perception and accuracy. In theological terms, darkness symbolizes what is false, chaotic, evil, and death; while light symbolizes truth, harmony, life and God. Satan is called the Prince of Darkness and the god of this world, while Jesus is described as the Light of the world. Paul declares in 2 Corinthians 4:4 “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. Whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God should shine on them…For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glorify of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
Peter declares in 1 Peter 2: 9, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Jesus came to give us spiritual light that we might spiritually see this world in which we live for what it truly is. He came to give us spiritual light in order that we might be empowered to make wise choices that lead to our fruitfulness and abundant living in Him and for Him.
He came to give us spiritual light to help us see and discern the devils booby traps, pitfalls and snares the enemy of our souls has planted that he might trip us up, cripple our life in Christ, and make shipwreck of our testimony for the Lord. The devil’s aim is to blind us to God. Jesus’ purpose in coming into this world was to illuminate our hearts and minds with the light of God.
Is it any wonder then that the first act of Creation was when God said, “Let there be light.” It was God who created the light by which the earth was first illuminated, and both Isaiah prophetically and John experientially, confirm that Jesus was sent into this world as the Light of the world to illuminate a world lost in the chaos and darkness of sin. It is Jesus who is The Guiding Light, sent to illuminate our hearts and minds with the presence and love of God.
When Jesus came into the world, He came into a world in desperate need of spiritual light to illuminate the lives of God’s beloved humanity lost in the darkness of sin. As Jehovah was a cloud guiding them through the wilderness by day and a pillar of fire leading them by night, and the Psalmist David like us came to discover, in those dark, cloudy, and unclear seasons of life, “The Lord is my light and my salvation.”
In Psalm 27 David encountered a season when he could not see his way clear. He needed light in the midst of his darkness. The light David needed in order to see God in His midst, working in His behalf, only God could provide. In the midst of a host of enemies encamped round about him, David faced some dark and bleak possibilities. He needed a guiding light that would give him some new direction. In all that we need, in all that we face, the light of Jesus reveals what it is we are really facing in order to aid us in making right choices, He will show us that we never walk alone, for He is with us. He will reveal to us that He alone is our salvation, and He will illuminate a course of action we must take.
If we are lost in sin, if we should ever become blinded by our own false self-perceptions, or life circumstances, if we see no light at the end of the tunnel, God in Jesus is still available and assessable to send forth His Guiding Light to shine in our confusion and darkness. Light that brings soul peace out of circumstantial chaos. Light that brings joy in the midst of sorrow. Light that births new hope in the midst of our doubts and despairs.
Jesus is our Guiding Light. His Light births resurrection in the darkness of death. His Light gives strength in the darkness of human weakness, His Light brings comfort and hope during dark seasons of sickness and failing health. How thankful we should be this morning, that Jesus is our Guiding Light. He is the Light of the world. He will show us the way. He will reveal to us where the opportunities are. How thankful we should be this morning that we have seen His Light. Jesus the Light of the world. How thankful we should be this morning that Jesus has come to light up our life!
“Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost but now am found was blind but now I see.” All He asks of us is to “Walk in the light, the beautiful light, Come where the dew drops of mercy shine right, Shine all around us by day and by night, Jesus the Light of the World.”