The Book of Isaiah
THE GREAT LIGHT OF SALVATION - Part 1
1. It was during the reign of wicked King Ahaz that Isaiah made these amazing prophecies concerning the coming Messiah (7:14; 9:6, 7).
2. It was a very dark period in the nation’s history. But in the midst of this darkness, the prophet Isaiah had a message of hope. God was going to send the Light to scatter the darkness (9:1, 2).
3. That Light was the Lord Jesus Christ.
4. John 3:19, 20 says, “And this 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 reproved.”
5. Our Lord said in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
6. Our Lord said in John 9:5, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
7. Our Lord said in John 12:46, “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.”
8. First John 1:5 says, “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”
I. JESUS IS THE LIGHT OF ISRAEL (9:1, 2).
1. One of my favorite Christmas carols is,
“O come, O come, Emmanuel,
2. Like all good hymns, the words are right from the Bible. “Emmanuel” is Jesus, “God with us” (Isa. 7:14; Matthew 1:23).
3. Zebulun and Naphtali (9:1) were located in the northern part of Israel, the area that was first plunged into gloom and anguish when they were judged by God and taken away captive by the Assyrians.
4. The people from this area were the first to be “lightly afflicted” (9:1), i.e. the first to be depopulated by the heathen.
5. “Galilee of the (Gentile) nations” was our Lord’s boyhood home and an area where He ministered (9:1). It was called “Galilee of the nations” because it was under Gentile domination.
6. Nazareth, our Lord’s hometown, was in Zebulun. “The way of the sea” (9:1) describes a major international highway running through this region.
7. “The people that walked in darkness” (9:2) would be the first to see “a great light” (cf. Matt. 4:12-17).
8. Those “that dwell in the land of the shadow of death (misery, ignorance, poverty, etc.), upon them the light shined” (9:2).
9. The Israelites were in the darkness of paganism and religious tradition. They were even dabbling in the occult (Isa. 8:19-22).
10. Darkness had spread all over the land of Palestine, and men were groping in the darkness.
11. God allowed the prophet Isaiah to look down through the corridors of time and see the coming Messiah, the Light of the world, the Alpha and Omega, the Prince of Peace, the King of kings and Lord of lords (cf. Isa. 9:6, 7).
12. Albert Barnes, the great commentator, wrote these words, “The eye of the prophet seems to have been fixed on this great and glorious event – as attracting all his attention. The scenes of coming times, like a panorama, or picture, passed before him. Most of the picture seems to have been that of battles, conflicts, sieges, dimness, and thick darkness. But in one portion of the passing scene there was light. It was the light that he saw rising in the distant and darkened Galilee….he saw in this region the Prince of Peace – the Sun of Righteousness Himself” (Barnes’ Notes, Isaiah).
II. JESUS IS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
1. We know from both the O.T. and the N.T. that Jesus was sent to be a Light to the Jews (Isa. 9:1; John 1:11).
2. But He also is “the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:9; cf. 4:42).
3. John 1:12 says, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”
4. John 1:4, 5 says, “In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”
5. It is not just Israel that is in darkness. The whole world is in darkness. As I was preparing this message, I thought of that old hymn, written by PP Bliss, “The Light of the World is Jesus.”
The whole world was
Come to the light, ’tis shining for
No darkness have we
6. The light of the world is Jesus, but sinful men have rejected the Light.
7. “And this 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 reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God” (John 3:19-21).
8. People love Santa Claus and all of the worldly festivities associated with Christmas, but sadly, they do not want anything to do with Jesus.
III. JESUS IS THE LIGHT FOR THE CHURCH
1. Christmas time is a good time for the church to send the light, the blessed Gospel light. Families are reunited during the Christmas season.
2. Some folks who do not often go to church are often happy to attend services during Christmas time. We thank God for that.
3. There is much gift-giving around Christmas. God has already given us the greatest gift of all. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son…” (John 3:16).
4. In Romans 5, the apostle Paul refers to salvation as a “free gift” six times.
5. Referring to the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul says in II Cor. 9:15, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.”
6. And Paul says in Ephesians 2:8, 9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
1. I read a story yesterday about a recent problem at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Washington State.
2. A Seattle rabbi by the name of Elazar Bogomilsky, had threatened a lawsuit unless the airport put up an 8-foot-tall menorah. He said it was not fair to have Christmas trees but no menorah.
3. The airport managers believed that if they gave in to the rabbi’s demand, they would also have to display symbols of other religions and cultures, which was not something airport workers had time for during the busiest travel season of the year.
4. So instead they took down most of the trees. But airport workers started bringing in their own trees and poinsettias. Eventually the rabbi backed off and now mostly everybody is happy.
5. A number of years ago, J. Vernon McGee wrote a pamphlet entitled, “The Cross is God’s Christmas Tree.” Dr. McGee was a great Bible preacher and so there is plenty of Scripture in his pamphlet.
6. “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree” (Acts 5:30).
7. “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (I Peter 2:24).
8. Have you accepted God’s free gift?