In some ways, it’s been a depressing past couple of months. Finances have been a bit of a struggle, and I’ll have to admit that it’s hard not to think about.
But as I look at this passage, I see hope. It says,
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 Gentiles, by way of the sea, along the Jordan — The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the shadow of death a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder. For as in the days of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. (1-4)
This passage, of course, is pointing to Jesus. It’s amazing to me that the Pharisees and the teachers of the law missed this when saying, “Look into it, and you will find that the Prophet does not come out of Galilee (John 7:52).
That this passage is talking about Messiah cannot be denied, however, as it continues,
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 increase 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. (6-7)
Every Christmas, we hear this in messages and in song. But it is a message that the world needs to hear more than once a year. So many are walking in gloom and distress. Whether it’s relationship problems, financial problems, health problems, or whatever it may be. I was reading that in Japan, the suicide rate is among the highest among industrialized nations. But as Jesus brought light and hope to a dying nation in Israel, so he brings hope to people today. He brings joy to those who are in despair. And he breaks the yokes that would burden us and weigh us down.
He’s the Wonderful Counselor who shows us how to live in the midst of a broken world. Who shows us how our broken lives can be restored. He is the Mighty God who has the power to help us in our distress. He is the Everlasting Father, the one who knew us before time began, and who cares infinitely about us. And he is the Prince of Peace, giving rest to those who are burdened by anxiety and fear. And as he came 2000 years ago, he will come again.
Come that day, he will return and make right all that is wrong in the world. Injustice will be a thing of the past. So will death, sorrow, and mourning.
But until then, he has given us of his Spirit to dwell in us, to comfort us, and to guide us. He has not left us alone as orphans. He is with us each and every day. And when we’re weighed down by our worries and our troubles, he will be our light in the darkness. All we have to do is to turn to him. And he tells us now,
Come to me,all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29)