Isaiah 9:2-3 NIV
“The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
You have enlarged the nation
and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
when dividing the plunder.”
What does it mean to walk in darkness? The New Testament talks about this, too, especially in John 8 and 1 John 1, but also in Romans 8 and in other passages, too (Jn 8:12; Jn 11:9-10; Jn 12:35; Rom 8:1-17; Gal 5:16; Eph 5:2; Col 3:7; 1 Jn 1:6-7; 1 Jn 2:11; 2 Jn 1:6; 3 Jn 1:3-4; Rev 3:4).
Well, our walk is how we live. It is how we conduct our lives day in and day out. It is our habits, our way of life. It is what we practice, which is either sin or it is righteousness. It is our “go to” whenever we are sad or lonely or hurting or angry, etc., too. And it is our mindset.
And darkness has to do with sin, with what is evil, and with what is devoid of the light (truth, righteousness, Jesus). So, to walk in darkness would be to willfully and habitually and even premeditatedly live in adultery, idolatry, greed, bitterness, envy, hypocrisy, and deception, etc.
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light, which is Jesus Christ and his gospel and his righteousness. Jesus Christ came into the world to save those walking in darkness, to save them from their slavery to sin so that they would no longer walk in darkness but now in righteousness.
He taught us that if we would come after him that we must deny self, take up our cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. For, he said that if we hold on to our old lives (of sin) that we will lose them for eternity, but if we lose our lives for his sake (die with him to sin), we will live eternally (Lu 9:23-26; cf. Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24).
So, when by faith in him we die with him to sin that we might live to him and to his righteousness, which is why he died for us, then we are born again of the Spirit of God to newness of life in Christ, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (1 Pet 2:24; Eph 4:17-24; Rom 6:1-23).
Isaiah 9:4-5 NIV
“For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor.
Every warrior’s boot used in battle
and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
will be fuel for the fire.”
The whole purpose of our salvation from sin is to deliver us out of the darkness, from walking in it. It is not just to deliver us from hell and to promise us heaven when we die. Jesus died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness (1 Pet 2:24).
His death on that cross shattered the yoke of slavery to sin that we were all living in. He lifted the burden of sin from our shoulders in his death and in his resurrection. He conquered sin on our behalf so that we might be crucified with him in death to sin and that we might live for him.
It is not okay for us to continue living in sin (darkness) once we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ. We died to sin. How can we live in it any longer? We were raised with Christ that we may live a new life, not that we should continue living in our old life for sin and for self (Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24).
“Our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin” (Rom 6:6).
So, we are to count ourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. We are NOT to let sin reign in our bodies. We are no longer to obey its evil desires. We are now to offer ourselves to God as instruments of righteousness. Sin is to NO longer be our master (Rom 6:11-14).
For, we are slaves of the one we obey – if sin, it leads to death, but if obedience, it leads to righteousness which then ends in eternal life with God (Rom 6:16-23). For, if we continue to walk in darkness, we will not inherit eternal life with God, but we will die in our sin (Rom 8:1-17; Gal 5:16-21).
Isaiah 9:6-7 NIV
“For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.”
I love this picture of Jesus. Yes, he was born as a baby to a human mother, conceived of the Holy Spirit of God. But our focus is not to be on his birth. We are not to still see him as a helpless baby still lying in a manger, especially while Santa/Satan is pictured as all powerful, all knowing and present all over the world on a single night, giving him God’s attributes.
How many of us who celebrate our birthdays spend those celebrations focused on what we looked like as babies? None of us, I am most sure. And how many of our friends and family members celebrate our birthdays by looking at our baby pictures and then by giving each other gifts? They shouldn’t. They should honor us, but as who we are now, not as babies.
So, what I love about this is that Jesus’ birth is mentioned but then it quickly moves into who he became as our Savior, our Messiah, and our King. And that is where our focus needs to be. And how he wants to be honored is by us giving our lives to him as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to him.
We should not now focus on Jesus as a baby in a manger, but as Almighty God, who is all powerful, and completely sovereign over all that he has made. We should see him both as Savior and as judge, for he is coming to judge one day and we will all have to answer to him for how we lived our lives on this earth (Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 2 Co 5:10; 1 Co. 6:9-10).
For, Jesus gave his life up for us on that cross that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. When he shed his blood for us on that cross, he bought us back for God (he redeemed us) so that we might now glorify God with our lives (1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15).
So, don’t treat him like they did when they hung him on that cross to die, although he had done no wrong. Don’t reject him by refusing to die with him to sin and by declining to live to his righteousness for his glory and praise.
He Was Despised
Handel (From: “The Messiah”)
He was despised and rejected of men;
A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief… (From: Is. 53:3).
He gave His back to the smiters,
And His cheeks to them that plucked off the hair:
He hid not His face from shame and spitting (From: Is. 50:6).
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