Walking in Darkness

David Bast

Read: Matthew 4:12-17

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. (Isa. 9:2)

“In the days of Pekah king of Israel, Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria came and captured . . . Galilee, [and] all the land of Naphtali, and he carried the people captive to Assyria” (2 Kings 15:29). This was the beginning of the end for the Jewish people, and the conquests started in the north, in Galilee. But Isaiah proclaimed a message of hope. The people in darkness would one day see a great light. The dawn of the age of blessing, would come—also in the north, in Galilee.

At the outset of Matthew’s account of Jesus’ ministry, he records that Jesus moved from Nazareth to Capernaum. He didn’t do that because he thought it was time to get his own place, like a thirtysomething finally moving out of his parents’ basement. Nor is this merely an incidental detail. Matthew quotes Isaiah to explain the significance. Jesus’ ministry began “by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali” (Matt. 4:13). It wasn’t a coincidence that he started in Galilee: it was a divine geography lesson, to show that Jesus was the ultimate light of deliverance, and that he would begin in the same place where the darkness had first come.

Maybe you have known what it’s like to walk in darkness of some kind. But the gospel promise is that the very places where you have felt the greatest pain will one day be transformed into light and glory by the salvation of the Lord. —David Bast

As you pray, ask for God’s light to shine even in the darkest places.