E19: There has shone forth a glorious light!
PODCAST: Just in time for Christmas, this podcast episode really highlights the tremendous promise and hope of Jesus’ coming that’s prophesied in Isaiah 9.
Christmas podcast about Isaiah 9
In our last podcast episode before Christmas, Kathy and Milenko talk to our good friend Richard Savage about a Christmas song he wrote years ago, based on the prophecy in Isaiah 9:2-7 about Jesus’ coming and the incredible meaning and hope that had for mankind. The passage begins: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land in the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined.” Richard goes into even more detail about the tremendous significance these words have for each and every one of us, now at Christmas, and always.
Transcript: “Living the Gospel” podcast, Episode 19: There has shone forth a glorious light!
This is ActiveChristianity’s “Living the Gospel” podcast. Join us as we explore different aspects of the gospel according to the Bible, and how we can put this into practice in daily life.
Milenko: Welcome back to “Living the Gospel!” I’m Milenko, editor of ActiveChristianity.
Kathy: And I’m Kathy, also from the editorial team. Today actually is our final podcast before Christmas and our last podcast for 2019.
Milenko: Now think of that. Looking back over the year, what’s been one of the highlights for you Kathy? Talking about ActiveChristianity, that is?
Kathy: Well, we’ve done a lot of exciting stuff this year; we’ve seen our readership jump, so that’s been extremely exciting. To see that our message is actually reaching so many people. But honestly, probably actually finally launching this podcast has been the highlight of the year for me. We’ve talked about it for a long time; now we’ve finally done it, and it’s been such a new and interesting experience. Somewhat outside of my comfort zone, to be honest, but it’s been really good for me, and I’ve learned so much myself through working with this, actually.
Milenko: Yes, so have I, and I totally agree with you. It’s been a really exciting year. And my favorite thing was that I recently had the opportunity to travel to Kenya and Cameroon.
Kathy: Oh yes!
Milenko: And it was really inspiring to see that the gospel is the same everywhere, that it applies to everyone, anywhere, anytime and we can have fellowship despite our different circumstances.
Kathy: Absolutely! So now, we are just two days away from Christmas, and today we have our very good friend Richard Savage with us, so a very warm welcome to you, Richard.
Richard: Hi, great to be with you dear friends and specially just before Christmas.
Kathy: What is Christmas like for you at home in England, Richard?
Richard: Well, Christmas has always been a special time, ever since I was little. I was an only child, so lots of presents, the stocking by the fireplace, the fun of decorating the Christmas tree, waking up to the sound of Christmas carols on Christmas morning. And mum and dad always used to make a special festive breakfast, dinner and teatime. And especially it was the one time of the year when my parents would sit down and play games with me. So those traditions have continued with my children, and those who are married with their children.
Kathy: It sounds so cozy.
Milenko: It really does. We wanted to talk to you today about a Christmas song Richard, that you wrote some years back. This song is called, “To the people who once walked in darkness,” and it’s based on the verses in Isaiah 9, isn’t it?
Richard: That’s right – Isaiah 9:2-7. From the time I was converted at the age of 21, when the light of Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and His coming to earth, shone into my heart, Christmas became so much more meaningful.
Kathy: The song starts with the lines, “To the people who once walked in darkness, there has shone forth a marvelous light”. Who are those people who once walked in darkness?
Richard: Well, I for one, living for myself as though my life was my own and God didn’t exist. I’d heard about Jesus since childhood, but the significance of His coming to earth and who He was had never dawned on me. I had sung in the choir at church, but after I was 15, I thought religion was just hypocrisy, people trying to be what they weren’t, better than anybody else. I listened to so-called scientists who didn’t believe in God. But life became pretty meaningless if all we were was an accident of evolution, and survival of the fittest. Why did I want to become a doctor and help the sick, the infirm and the elderly?
Kathy: So, what changed you?
Richard: I came under a conviction of sin, that I wasn’t the nice person I thought I was, better than most, but actually self-centered, worshipping nature, and denying the evidence of a wonderful Creator. Then one evening I heard the truth, and everything fell into place – God, Jesus, the Bible and – best of all – that Jesus loved me, had died for me, and He wanted me, of all people, to be one of His disciples. How could I refuse such an invitation!
Milenko: That’s amazing! The song speaks about Jesus’ life and light. That really changed the world, didn’t it? But then it goes on to talk about His disciples, and that “we are saved from all sin through the knowledge of Him.” So, what are the possibilities that we, His disciples, now have? The song also says, “We can now be a new creation!” That’s rather exciting!
Richard: Most definitely. As Paul writes in Romans 5:10-11: “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” What is sad today is that so many Christians only rejoice over His death on Calvary, by which Jesus paid the penalty for our sins, so we could be forgiven and reconciled to God. And that is very great. But what is so much more wonderful is that now we can be saved by His life.
Kathy: What does that actually mean, that we can be saved by His life?
Richard: “We can be saved from all sin through the knowledge of Him” – knowing how He as a human being, with an ancestry like us descended from Adam after the Fall of mankind, could be tempted in every way as we are, yet without sinning, so God could raise Him from the dead because He was a spotless Lamb, who could atone for our sins and – much more – through the Holy Spirit have all we need to overcome sin, just as He did. And we can also say, through His life because He lives, evermore, praying for us that we can come to the same wonderful life that He came to. So now we really can be His disciples if we are willing to follow Him on the way He went, always saying, “Not my will but Yours be done!” Whenever there was a conflict between His own will and God’s will, He was determined to do His Father’s will. And He prayed for grace to do it, as we see in the garden of Gethsemane. It was a battle for Him, but because He really was committed to doing that, He got all the help God could give Him to do God’s perfect will. And that’s our calling as well. He came to destroy the works of the devil and by His grace we can also be overcomers, as John writes in the book of Revelation and Paul in Romans 8:37: in all kinds of tribulations and temptations “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us,” and in 2 Corinthians 2:14: “Thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.”
Milenko: Think of that!
Richard: That really is great!
Milenko: Yes, it’s glorious, isn’t it?
Kathy: That we can actually live the life that Christ lived! It’s unbelievable!
Richard: Oh, it is wonderful! We really can be completely changed from what we are or would have been by nature, following the lusts and desires of the sin in our flesh, what Paul calls “the old man” and become a completely new person – nothing less than becoming like Jesus through and through. This is the “new creation” that Paul writes about in Galatians 6:15. This does not come about through what he calls “circumcision or uncircumcision,” but by faith working through love (Galatians 5:6) and keeping the commandments of God is what matters. Through putting to death all the sin that lies in our human nature, as Jesus did during His life, we can partake more and more of His divine nature, transformed through the obedience of faith working through love. This is the new creation, the life that Jesus wants us to have more abundantly as we walk on the way He went; the way of the cross.
Kathy: And that’s what were really celebrating, now at Christmas isn’t it?
Richard: Yeah, we have to say that Jesus is the best Christmas present God could give mankind, and through wanting to be His disciple and obey Him always, we can receive the Holy Spirit as our Helper – another fantastic present whom Jesus wants to give all those who obey Him. Then we can celebrate the significance of Christmas, Easter and Pentecost all through the year. So, a very happy Christmas to all who are listening in.
Milenko: Thanks really much for joining us Richard! It’s been really inspiring, and I’m really excited to now introduce the song that you actually wrote, that we can listen to all together.
Kathy: So, let’s listen to the song, sung here by Buddy Coblentz.
To the people who once walked in darkness
Kathy: I actually really get goosebumps when I listen to that song.
Milenko: It’s a really good song, and the way it was sung as well, the message really came across, how important this day really is for us.
Kathy: So that’s it for us for today. Thanks everyone for listening and I want to wish you all a very happy Christmas.
Milenko: And happy Christmas from the whole team at ActiveChristianity and Living the Gospel!
Eunice: Merry Christmas from Eunice!
Julia: Hi everyone! Merry Christmas from Julia! I hope you all have an awesome holiday season.
Milenko: So, we really want to thank you all for listening these past few months. It’s been a joy to start this project with you all. Looking forward to 2020 and the new challenges and progress we can be looking forward to then!
Kathy: So, bye for now everyone, and we’ll see you back on New Year’s Day!