The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”
After Jesus was led into the desert and was tempted by Satan, He began to preach to the people. He came preaching with power and was filled with the Spirit, fulfilling the prophecy in Isaiah 9:2: 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. From that point on Jesus began to preach that the kingdom of God was near. Today’s Scripture reading in Matthew points to Jesus as the great light who had come to those living in the shadow of death. Reminiscent of the 23rd Psalm, Jesus came as our Shepherd, the One who leads us out of the shadow of death and into the light: The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not be in want… Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil… Jesus came to lead us out of darkness into light – out of the shadow of death and into the light of eternity.
God tells the people through Isaiah: I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make rough places smooth. (Isaiah 42:16) God was bringing comfort to His people as He lead them out of captivity, guiding them each step of the way.
Jesus Christ came to be a light to the Gentiles, to those who did not know Him, to a people living in darkness. He brought salvation and eternal life to those who believed. Peter describes believers as chosen people, a royal priesthood who were called out of darkness into Christ’s wonderful light.
Sometimes we forget that we no longer live in the shadow of death, that we have been called out of darkness into light. We forget and our lives are darkened by struggles, perhaps life-threatening issues, disappointments, or depression. Darkness tries to lure us into standing under the shadow of death, but as believers we are called to the light; we are called to life and not death. We must agree with the life of Christ in us that cries out for the light.
Heavenly Father, I have at times forgotten that I am a child of Christ called out of darkness into the light. Help me to live in agreement with the life of Christ in me and no longer stand under the shadow of death. In Jesus’ name, Amen