“Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever… Galilee of the Gentiles will be filled with glory. The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness (a land where death casts its shadow), a Light will shine!” Isaiah 9:1-2 NLT
Israel had, indeed, endured centuries of darkness and despair, and, as oppression followed oppression– Assyria and Babylon and Greece and Syria and Rome and Idumea–, their desire for a conquering Messiah grew stronger.
Longer still had been the reign of sin and death and darkness over all of mankind, separated from God, with no hope of return. In this passage, we find not only the Jews, not only Abraham’s children, having God’s Light shine upon them; we find the land of Galilee of the Gentiles, not only seeing the Light of God, but actually having it shine upon them.
The Light of Jesus was visible to many. Great crowds followed Him, seeing that He had something their religious leaders never did. From the time that His Star appeared in the East, many undoubtedly saw His Light; the wise men followed that Star, until they found Jesus Himself. They came in contact with Him, the Light of the World, and it changed their lives for ever. His Light had shined upon them.
There were others, too, who not only saw Jesus, the Light of the World; but they actually experienced His Light, shining upon them, changing their lives forever. The leper who fell at Jesus feet, saying, “Lord, if You want to, you can make me clean” received Jesus’ reply “I want to with all My heart; Be healed.” The demon-possessed man in the tombs across Lake Galilee received complete deliverance and a sound mind from Jesus, and all he wanted after that was to remain with Jesus. But Jesus gently told him to spread the word of the Light to his friends and neighbors.
“I am the Light of the World,” Jesus Himself has announced. “He that follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the Light of Life.”