One of my favorite Old Testament prophecies about Jesus, the coming Messiah, is Isaiah 9. During a time when the Israelites felt beaten down and defeated, God told them about their Savior. When hope was fleeting, and fear was overwhelming, God promised that one day He would come and establish His Kingdom forever. It was the promise of ultimate victory in the midst of earthly defeat. It was the guarantee that there is hope.
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. – Isaiah 9:2
Imagine yourself in a dark, unfamiliar room. The first thing you want to do is find a source of light. You move slowly through the room, waving your hands in front of you, hoping to find a light switch so that you can find your way. You have no idea what you might step on or run into as you stumble through the darkness. Stumbling through life in this fallen world without Jesus is the same way. There is so much injustice and evil. What is the point without the hope of a much better eternity? Jesus came to be the Light of the World. He is the only way that we can have hope in something better to come. (“I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” – John 8:12)
For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them. – Isaiah 9:4
We have all felt the struggle of trying to get it right on our own and the tugging at our conscience when we know that we’re falling short. Eventually, we realize that no matter how hard we work or how much we fight, there is always something just out of our reach. Jesus came to take our burdens and give us rest. (“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28)
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. – Isaiah 9:6
God made it clear that when He came to earth to dwell with his people, it would not be as some mighty heavenly being, but as a baby boy. Miraculously conceived and humbly born. (Isaiah 7:14) The incredible proclamation of the Savior that was to come was delivered by an angel to the man that would be His earthly father: “Joseph son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20)
What all these promises meant to the Israelites in Isaiah’s day still hold true for us today. But we are no longer looking forward to the arrival of our Messiah. Our Savior has already come. When we celebrate Christmas, we celebrate the birth of our Savior and all the gifts that come wrapped up in his grace.