Summary: Isaiah prophesied long ago that the Messiah, Jesus, was coming, and therefore, we must accept Him into our hearts today.
The Gospel According to Isaiah
Text: Isaiah 9:1-7
1. Illustration: Praise God for Christmas. Praise Him for the incarnation, for the word made flesh. I will not sing of shepherds watching flocks on frosty nights, or angel choristers. I will not sing of a stable bare in Bethlehem, or lowing oxen, wise men trailing star with gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Tonight I will sing praise to the Father who stood on heaven’s threshold and said farewell to his Son as he stepped across the stars to Bethlehem and Jerusalem. And I will sing praise to the infinite, eternal Son, who became most finite, a baby who would one day be executed for my crime. Praise him in the heavens, Praise him in the stable, Praise him in my heart. SOURCE: Joseph Bayly.
2. One day I was sitting in the office of one of my heroes of the faith, Dr. Stanley M. Horton, and he autographed for me a copy of his commentary on the Book of Isaiah along with these words: "Pastor Mark Schaeufele, enjoy the Gospel According to Isaiah."
3. Truly, the Book of Isaiah is a testament of Jesus Christ as Messiah. Nowhere is this better exemplified than in our text Isaiah 9:1-7.
4. It tells us that:
a. Jesus brings light to our darkness
b. Jesus brings freedom to our slavery
c. Jesus brings himself to our world
5. Read Isaiah 9:1-7
Proposition: Isaiah prophesied long ago that the Messiah, Jesus, was coming, and therefore, we must accept Him into our hearts today.
Transition: Isaiah tells us that...
I. Jesus Brings Light to Our Darkness (1-2)
A. A Great Light
1. One of the great truths of Scripture is that because of our sin we walk in darkness, but that Jesus has come to bring us into the light.
2. This great prophecy concerning the Messiah begins with, "Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will be humbled..."
a. These two tribes had been devastated by Assyrian invasions in 734 and 732 BC.
b. However, the physical suffering was nothing in comparison to the spiritual darkness in which they found themselves as they turned to gods of wood and stone (Walker, Cornerstone Biblical Commentary: Isaiah, 49).
c. As you might imagine there was great despair in those days.
3. However, the good news that Isaiah brings the people is "but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory."
a. He says there was coming a day when these areas would be filled with the light of the coming Messiah (Walker, 49).
b. Galilee, where God’s judgment first humbled his people, would be honored in the future.
c. This was fulfilled when Jesus chose his first disciples in Galilee and ministered there (Horton, CBL: Isaiah, 77).
d. When every human attempt has come to nothing God will bring the light, not because he has to or because we have unlocked some hidden key, but only because of His grace (Oswalt, NICOT: Isaiah 1-39, 239).
4. Furthermore, Isaiah says, "The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine."
a. This verse explains why the gloom of the previous verse will be disappearing.
b. Like the suddenness of the dawn a light will appear. When they find themselves groping around in the darkness, they will sudden find themselves blinking from the light (Oswalt, 242).
c. Isaiah 49:6 (NLT)
He says, “You will do more than restore the people of Israel to me. I will make you a light to the Gentiles, and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”
d. The idea of God as the provider of light was a regular feature of Israel’s worship.
e. All light is said to come from God, not just because he created it, but because it is part of what God is (New International Dict of OT Theology & Exegesis. Pradis CD-ROM:Lexical Articles/ a / r/a /ANE).
f. There is light for people in spite of their sin and rebellion.
g. 1 John 1:5 (NLT)
This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.
h. This does not mean they could continue to walk in sin and be in the light, but nothing could keep God’s light from shinning on them (Oswalat, 242).
B. Out of Darkness Into His Marvelous Light
1. Illustration: A little boy was asked, "What is a saint?" He replied, "A saint is a person who lets the light shine through." Evidently he got this idea by watching the sun shine through the prophets and other great people of God in the stained-glass windows of his church. But he was certainly not far off base. A saint, or a person who is pure in heart, will let the light of God’s grace and mercy shine through. As that person’s heart remains pure, it remains transparent to God’s light.