â€œThe people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.â€ (Isaiah 9:2)
This beautiful verse is treated in the New Testament as a Messianic prophecy, fulfilled when Christ came into the worldâ€”growing up in Nazareth and then dwelling in Capernaum, both cities being located in â€œGalilee of the Gentilesâ€ (Matthew 4:15). This was in the region once occupied by the ten northern tribes and then devastated by the invading Assyrians when they carried the Northern Kingdom away into captivity.
This region had for centuries thereafter remained in spiritual darkness, even after the return of Judah from captivity in Babylon. But then Christ came, and â€œfrom that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at handâ€ (Matthew 4:17). Thus, His public ministry actually began in this land of darkness. â€œAnd the light shineth in darkness. . . . the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the worldâ€ (John 1:5, 9).
Wherever Christ comes, the light comes, for He is light. He left heaven for Earth, saying: â€œI come to do thy will, O Godâ€ (Hebrews 10:9). This great purpose of God â€œis now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospelâ€ (2 Timothy 1:10).
And yet, tragically, â€œthis is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reprovedâ€ (John 3:19-20). To those who desire light, Jesus says: â€œI am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of lifeâ€ (John 8:12). HMM