Hope foretold - 24 August 2020
By Xanthe Hancox
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. They lived in a land of shadows, but now light is shining on them. You have given them great joy, LORD; you have made them happy. They rejoice in what you have done, as people rejoice when they harvest their corn or when they divide captured wealth.
The prophet Isaiah’s words foretell the birth of Jesus, and why this brings such hope to the world. It’s a passage that is usually read at Christmas time, but I think it’s impossible to talk about hope without taking a look at what Isaiah has to say.
In the prophecy of Isaiah, darkness and light are used to represent sin and salvation. Without Christ, we are lost in the darkness of sin. But because of the birth of Jesus, we have hope in God’s light, his victory over sin and death. God promises us salvation in Jesus.
In our world and in our lives, it can sometimes feel as though the darkness is overwhelming. It can seem as though sadness and sin have the upper hand, while the light of goodness and joy are hidden in shadow.
But God’s Word promises us that light is coming to the world in Jesus. Isaiah promises a Saviour who will rule the world. Further down in this chapter Isaiah goes on to list the name by which Jesus will be called: “Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6). His reign will bring peace and joy to the world. “Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.” (Isaiah 9:7).
The Bible is composed of 66 books written over the course of about 1 500 years. The fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies in the life of Jesus is truly miraculous.
Prayer: God of promise, we thank you for the light of hope you have given us in Jesus. Thank you for the certainty of your Word. Amen