During the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:14), Jesus spoke to the crowds and declared, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). Jesus miraculously illustrated this truth by healing a man born blind (John 9). The Apostle John declared that Jesus was the light of men (John 1:4).
The metaphor of Jesus being the light of the world is an image steeped in Old Testament history. For example, God led His people through the wilderness of the Sinai in a pillar of cloud to guide them during the day and in a pillar of fire by night to light their way (Ex. 13:21–22).
Familiar are the words expressed by David in Psalm 27:1: “The Lord is my light and my salvation.” The psalmist also said of the law of God: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). Additionally, Israel’s armies conquered by the light of God’s face (Psalm 44:3).
Israel’s prophets also regularly used the light metaphor. When God reveals Himself, the light of His glory is present (Ezek. 1:4, 13, 26–28). In Isaiah 60:19–22, the prophet tells us that in the age to come, God Himself will be light to His people, a point also made by the prophet Zechariah ( Zechariah 14:5–7).
Isaiah described the reflected splendor of God’s people in Isaiah 60-62. This God reflected glory would not only inhabit the City of Jerusalem but also the country and nation of Israel.
Concerning Jerusalem, Isaiah declared that:
- Jerusalem would illuminate the entire earth (60:1–3): All the nations will see its light.
- Jerusalem would be visited and honored by the Gentiles (60:5–7, 10–16): The nations will come to see Jerusalem and bring its people goods.
- Jerusalem would be protected by God himself (60:17–18): Violence would disappear from the land.
- Jerusalem would shine forever in its splendor (60:19–21): The people will have no need for sun or moon, for the Lord will be their everlasting light.
- Jerusalem’s population would vastly increase (60:22): The smallest family will become a large clan.
- Jerusalem would be known by various new names (62:1–4, 12): Isaiah prayed for God to take away Israel’s shame and to give them a new name.
- Jerusalem will be given the name Hephzibah, meaning “City of God’s Delight,” and Beulah, meaning “Bride of God” (62:4): Jerusalem will lose its shameful names.
- Jerusalem will become “The City No Longer Forsaken” (62:12): The cities citizens will be called “the Holy People” and “the People Redeemed by the Lord.”
Concerning the Nation of Israel, Isaiah declared that:
- Their children will care for them (62:5): God will rejoice over them.
- They will be regathered from among all other nations (60:8–9; 62:10–11): They will come home, bringing their wealth with them.
- They will rebuild long-destroyed cities (61:4).
- The Gentiles will serve Israel (61:5): They will feed the Israelites’ flocks, plow their fields, and tend their vineyards.
- They will be a priestly nation (61:6): They will be called priests of the Lord.
- All reproach will be replaced with great honor among the Gentile nations (61:7–9): They will be a people the Lord has blessed.
- They will never suffer defeat again (62:8–9): They will be safe from their enemies forever.
- In the future Israel will testify throughout the earth concerning God’s faithfulness. (61:10–11).
- The people are to give themselves no rest until Jerusalem is established (62:6): They will pray to the Lord night and day for fulfillment of his promises.
- The people are to give God no rest until Jerusalem is established (62:7): Jerusalem will be the object of praise throughout the earth.
All of these future blessings and promises of and from God are directly because of the person and work of the Servant of Yahweh, the Messiah, who is Jesus Christ. He alone is the Savior of God’s people because God the Father appointed Him and the Holy Spirit anointed Him (Isaiah 61:1-3).
The Father’s appointment and the Spirit’s anointing was so the Messiah would preach good news to the poor (61:1b), comfort the brokenhearted (61:1c), release the captives and free prisoners (61:1d), and transform ashes into beauty, sorrow into joy, and despair into praise (61:2–3): All this is done for the glory of God.
Soli deo Gloria!