Reflections: Monday, The Third Week of Epiphany

Today’s Reading: Isaiah 9:1-4

Daily Lectionary:Joel 2:18-32, Romans 11:25-12:13

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. (Isaiah 9:2b)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. When Isaiah wrote this, the Northern Kingdom of Israel had been invaded. God punished Israel for their sin and rebellion against Him by raising up the mighty armies of Assyria against them. The Assyrians were extremely cruel and violent — so much so that God later punished them for their cruelty.

The first attacks took place in the lands of the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali. The suffering these people endured was legendary — when Isaiah mentioned these territories, everyone remembered and shuddered.

Isaiah speaks a prophecy of hope to the people of these burned and shattered communities. These regions which had endured such darkness and desolation would be a place where the greatest light that has ever shined would beam forth — God would send the Messiah, Jesus, who is the Light of the world. (You can read about this in Matthew 4:12-25, the reading for yesterday’s devotion.)

Jesus lived and ministered in Galilee, in Naphtali. He journeyed around this region preaching, teaching, healing, and calling people to repent and find forgiveness of sins in Him. People who had been lost in the darkness of sin and death saw the light of eternal salvation when they heard Jesus and believed in Him.

The darkness the people had suffered under the Assyrians was terrible. But the light that they were comforted with by Jesus was so pure and true that it still shines today and will shine forever. The light of Christ shines for you.

Jesus did not just come to save the people of Israel. He lived to show all people in every place and time the love and mercy of God. He died on the cross to pay for the sins of the whole world. He rose from the dead to give eternal life to all who believe in Him.

Jesus brings light that shines forever. He brings light that shines into all darkness, even the darkness which you endure in your life. Fear not the darkness of sin, death, and suffering. Jesus has brought you light, forgiveness and peace.  In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Almighty God, grant us a steadfast faith in Jesus Christ, a cheerful hope in Your mercy, and a sincere love for You and one another; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

-Pastor Jeffrey Horn is Pastor at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Escondido, CA,

Audio Reflections Speaker: Patrick Sturdivant, Development and Marketing Executive at Higher Things.

Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.