But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.
 The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.
 You have multiplied the nation;
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
I was listening to a podcast the other day and some guys were talking about things in the Christian church but they themselves weren’t Christians. A lot of it didn’t make sense to them and they weren’t very respectful.
I talked to another guy that felt like religion was just packed with an abundance of rules. It was almost stifling. How could anyone live with so many rules?
Religion really can be a walk of darkness, overwhelmed by guilt, and satisfying nothing. But that’s not how God intended it to be.
When Isaiah says that “Those who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” he was referring to Jesus, the Messiah, as the light. That means that every one of the rest of us fall into that category of people walking in darkness.
A religion of rules doesn’t bring the light anymore than the lines on an unlit highway at night. You only know the rules when you break them, and the punishment can be to the greatest extreme.
Jesus came in the flesh and increased our joy. He ‘fulfilled the Law’ in that He did everything God would ever require of Mankind. Now that Jesus did it, all that are in line behind Him reap His benefits. Jesus really is the light that makes the appearance of rules seem clear. When you see that Jesus’ love and grace is the primary event in our actions and not fear of breaking a law, the activities of the Christian life start to make more sense.
- We stay abstinent before marriage because we want to show the love and commitment of Christ with our strong marriages
- We go to church every Sunday because we want to grow around other people that want to grow in their love for Jesus
- We give our money away because we’ve found a good thing and we want more people to experience it
- We prioritize our lives around Jesus because we depend on Him in the most important aspects of our lives
Do you see how Jesus is the light that shines in darkness? Rules don’t shine. Judgement just brings more darkness.
Jesus brings hope and peace because He has forgiven our sins and put His Spirit into our new lives.
That is how joy multiplies and gladness spreads. He is our light, and we love to shine Him all around.