Matthew quotes these words from Isaiah 9:2 to introduce the ministry of Jesus in Galilee. Though many devout Jews lived there, the area was called “Galilee of the Gentiles” because of the heavy non-Jewish population. Before Jesus began walking among them, preaching about the kingdom of God and working mighty miracles, the inhabitants lived in total darkness. They were lost in ignorance; deceived by false “gods”; captive to sin; estranged from God; without any hope in life; and headed for eternal doom. But now the light has come! Jesus, who called Himself “the light of the world,” dispels darkness in all its forms. He preached the good news of God’s rule, and showed us how to live, thus banishing ignorance. In His own person and through His teaching, he pointed men to the only true God, thereby delivering them from deception. When He died on the cross he redeemed believers from the penalty of sin; His gift of the Holy Spirit frees them from the power of sin. His sacrificial death satisfied God’s holy wrath, so that now we can have peace with the righteous Judge of the world. His glorious resurrection ensures that all who follow Him will not suffer endless misery in hell, but will enter into everlasting life. This assurance gives us unshakable hope. Shall we continue to sit in darkness, or shall we lay hold of the Light of life?