16 The people sitting in darkness have seen a great light, and to those sitting in a land of the shadow of death a light has dawned on them.
Verse 16 continues with Matthew quoting from Isaiah 9.1-2.
As we can see the prophecy is about people being in darkness seeing a great light.
From around 1690 onwards there came about what is termed ‘The age of enlightenment’. It had the objective of challenging previously held beliefs, particularly Catholic and Protestant doctrines, and anything else. Basically it is based on gaining knowledge and wisdom from what can be seen and observed. It also involved the rejection of what cannot be seen.
This all comes from the human understanding.
Therefore, it clashes head on with faith, which is described as:
What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see – Hebrews 11.1 (NLT).
God’s word tells us that true enlightenment comes through Jesus. He is the Light of the world.
John’s gospel tells us this about Jesus:
4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men;
5 And the light shines in the darkness, but the darkness cannot take possession of it – John 1.4-5.
Without Jesus people sit in darkness.
The Philosophies of this world will never be able to lead people into the light of Jesus. He is the eternal Light, leading all who believe in Him into eternal life.
Before we came to know Jesus we were sitting in the darkness of this world, and no amount of worldly knowledge or wisdom could have enlightened our soul.
There is some value in being ‘street wise’, in order to be able to shine the light of Jesus into peoples’ lives. Therefore, we must rely on the Holy Spirit to lead us to be aware of the worldly wisdom that we need.
Our objective will always be to shine the light of Jesus into the darkness of sin that people are sitting in.
Also, we need to be the light of Jesus constantly shining into the darkness of our own lives so that we are able to confess our sins and receive the enlightenment of His forgiveness.