“1 Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past, [God] humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future, He will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan— 2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. 3 You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder. 4 For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. 5 Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for fire. 6 For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given: and the government will be on his shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
On September 19, 1858, Charles Spurgeon, who at the time was only 24 years old, gave a sermon on Isaiah 9. Here is how he began that sermon:
“One evening last week I stood by the sea-shore when the storm was raging. The voice of the Lord was upon the waters; and who was I that I should [remain inside], when my Master’s voice was heard sounding along the water? I rose and stood to behold the flash of his lightnings and listen to the glory of his thunders. The sea and the thunders were contesting with one another; the sea with infinite clamor striving to hush the deep-throated thunder, so that his voice [could] not be heard; yet over and above the roar of the billows might be heard that voice of God, as he spoke with flames of fire, and divided the way for the waters.
It was a dark night, and the sky was covered with thick clouds, and scarce a star could be seen through the [breaks in the storm]; but at one [instant], I noticed far away on the horizon, as if miles across the water, a bright [light] shining, like gold. It was the moon hidden behind the clouds, so that she could not shine upon us; but she was able to send her rays down upon the waters, far away, where no cloud happened to intervene.
I thought as I read this chapter last evening, that the Prophet (Isaiah) seemed to have stood in a [similar place], when he wrote the words of my text. All around about him were clouds of darkness; he heard prophetic thunders roaring, and he saw flashes of the lightnings of divine vengeance; clouds and darkness, for many a league, were scattered through history; but he saw far away a bright spot—one place where the clear shining came down from heaven.
And he sat down, and he penned these words: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light: on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned.”
The prophet Isaiah lived 700 years before the birth of Christ. His name means, ‘Salvation of the Lord,’ and what an appropriate name for God to give to the man chosen to deliver a message of hope in the midst of a very dark time in Israel’s history. Isaiah was more than a prophet. He was an Old Testament evangelist declaring the light of the gospel to a lost and dark world.
Our world is still dark and it still needs to hear a message of hope. Here is that message: “For unto us a child [has] been born, to us a Son [has] been given.” His name is Jesus. He is a Wonderful Counselor. Come to Him all who are weary and He will give you rest. He is our Mighty God and the embodiment of our Everlasting Father. Jesus said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).
He is the Prince of Peace. He is the only One who can give us peace with God and the peace of God. Moreover, He is the only One who can bring peace into our fallen world. One day, and perhaps soon, His kingdom will come to this earth in all of its glory, and it will last forever. The light has dawned. The light is here. Jesus is that light. He is the Light of the world.