Dec 7

We live in a troubled world.  Deeply divided; rampant ingratitude and injustice; confusion; defeat.

Not exactly God’s vision when He created the universe; the earth; humanity.

I wonder what the people thought when they heard these words of Isaiah the prophet, hundreds of years before Christ.

Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.  You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder.  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.  Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.  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.  Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.  He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.  The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.  (Isaiah 9:1-7)

I imagine they thought the same thing we would think.  “Finally, God is sending us a leader, a king, a president; someone who can get us out of the mess we’re in.  Finally, we will enjoy victory over our enemies.  Finally, the good guys win, and justice and righteousness are upheld.  Finally, God is sending us a savior.”

And they—and we—would be right.  Sort of.

You see, God did what He told Isaiah and the people of his day that He would do.  He sent a Savior.

It’s something Matthew understood, but only after he saw that Savior unjustly killed and then raised to life.

Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali— to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:  “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—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.”  From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”  (Matt. 4:13-17)

The answer is Jesus.

Perhaps you saw the comments by Benjamin Watson, NFL player for the New Orleans Saints, after the Grand Jury decision last month.  Here is an excerpt from his Facebook page post.  The post can be read in its entirety on his Facebook page here:

I’M ENCOURAGED, because ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem. SIN is the reason we rebel against authority. SIN is the reason we abuse our authority. SIN is the reason we are racist, prejudiced and lie to cover for our own. SIN is the reason we riot, loot and burn. BUT I’M ENCOURAGED because God has provided a solution for sin through his son Jesus and with it, a transformed heart and mind. One that’s capable of looking past the outward and seeing what’s truly important in every human being. The cure for the Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner tragedies is not education or exposure. It’s the Gospel. So, finally, I’M ENCOURAGED because the Gospel gives mankind hope.

He gets it too.  Do you?

Your world needs to hear that Gospel.

From you.

Bill Allen

Dr. Bill Allen preached at South Fork from 2005 to 2015. He received a Bachelors degree in Bible from Oklahoma Christian in 1978, a Masters in Bible from Abilene Christian (ACU) in 1988, and a Doctor of Ministry from ACU in 1992. He now preaches at the West Erwin Church of Christ in Tyler, Texas.

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