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Darkness.

Emotionally. Relationally. Spiritually. Physically.

It’s consuming the land of Galilee. The Assyrians have taken over and they’ve annexed the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali.  The people are living in oppressive darkness and it doesn’t look like there’s any hope. Life only seems to be getting worse and there’s no way out.

It’ll take something God-sized to save future generations. Something God-sized to break the yoke of oppression that’s been placed upon the people and something God-sized to break the rod of power that has brought overwhelming darkness to the land.

With death lurking in the shadows, fear is rampant. Sadness is rampant. Hope is no where to be found. The people have gone from having everything and not appreciating it to having nothing and now appreciating even the slightest glimmer of hope. They feel as if they’ve been forever exiled to darkness.

But.

There’s always a but when it comes to Jesus.

The widow at Nain had lost her son, but Jesus.

The adulteress was going to be stoned to death, but Jesus.

How are we going to feed this crowd of 5000? But Jesus.

We’ve been walking in spiritual darkness, and it’s only getting darker. The Assyrians have conquered us. It’s like we’re back in Egypt again. We’re oppressed. Abused. Taken advantage of.

But Isaiah prophesies. A child will be born. A Wonderful Counselor, a Mighty King, an Everlasting Father. The Prince of Peace himself. When he comes, darkness will flee. Clothing and weapons used for war will be repurposed to bring life instead. When he shows up on scene, the yoke of oppression will be broken and a yoke that is easy and light and that leads to life will be given instead. He will rule not out of oppressive power, but through life-giving love.

I don’t know what darkness you’re wrestling with today. What I do know is that you don’t have to feel like you’re exiled to it. Jesus has rescued me from my own darkness and he want’s to rescue you too. He want’s to give us something better than happiness. He want’s to give us peace. Peace from the darkness, peace from living under other’s expectations, peace that everything is going to be okay in the end because he’ll be ruling all of heaven and earth with life-giving love.

A retelling from Isaiah 9:1-7; John 8:12.

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Storyline Commentary

Setting A land where the people are now walking in darkness. The Assyrians have taken over, annexing the land from Israel and now the people sit in gloom and distress.

Characters

  • Israel who sits in gloom and distress.
  • The Assyrians who hold the Israelites under their thumb.
  • Isaiah giving a prophecy of hope that the gloom and distress will not always be forever.
  • A future Messiah who will wipe away the distress and gloom, not just for a time, but forever. This is a prophecy about eternal solution to the problem of darkness in our world.

Tension People are sitting in overwhelming gloom. They’ve been captured, their oppressed, and they’re left wondering if there is any hope of things getting back to the way their God, Yahweh, would want them.

Resolution Instead of human rulers, God will become their King, bringing everlasting peace. Darkness will be banished and the Prince of Peace will rule supreme. +++

Reflections

Why did people find this important to write down? Israel has a long history of putting into power human rulers who fail them as well as being ruled by Gentiles who bring failure upon them. They need hope that one day that the doom and gloom that drowns them currently will be no more because God will raise a Messiah King.

Why did this passage endure? We need hope. This passage has endured because of how beautifully it paints our future hope. Items used for war will now be used to keep us warm instead. The yoke of the world that weighed us down will now be replaced with a yoke that leads us to life. The darkness that brings death to us relationally, spiritually, and physically has been wiped out with light that now brings life.

What is it that is true for them then that is true for us now? There is darkness that steals life from us. Sometimes it’s ourselves who cause the darkness in our lives. Sometimes it’s others who cause the darkness, and sometimes darkness just seems to come out of nowhere in the form of an unexpected illness, or in the form of unexpected grief and it overwhelms us. Regardless of how we’ve found ourselves walking in darkness, there is hope in that we can walk in the light, not so we can experience relief though relief will come, but to experience peace from the one who brings Peace. Like then, despite everything that is going on, we can walk in the light of Jesus’ love for us and experience peace.

Kaleb Heitzman

I grew up rigidly trying to following strict truth-statements about Jesus. In the last few years I've discovered Jesus is so much more than a truth-statement. Jesus is a way of life and he invites our life stories into his "new life" story.

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Kaleb Heitzman

I grew up rigidly trying to following strict truth-statements about Jesus. In the last few years I've discovered Jesus is so much more than a truth-statement. Jesus is a way of life and he invites our life stories into his "new life" story.

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