The culture in which Jesus arrived as a baby, isn’t that much different than the culture you and I live in today. Jesus came into the world during a really dark time—people were desperately looking for and longing for peace, purpose, and hope. When Jesus was born, it was a spiritually dark time, and a time when God was silent.
Throughout the first 39 books of the Bible—books we call the Old Testament—God was active. God was active. God was speaking. And God was obvious. Through signs and miracles, stuff in the sky, stuff on the earth, God was obvious. God made the Jewish race, the Israelites His people, and God declared, “I will be your God. Follow Me. Worship Me alone. You will find your purpose in Me.”
Even though God was obvious. God was speaking, and God was active, God’s people, the Israelites, chose to go their own way. God warned them that if they continued disobeying. If they continued worshiping idols. If they continued to not listen to Him, He would stop speaking. He would stop being active. And He would be hidden. But they still didn’t listen. The prophet Isaiah spoke these words to the reality of their desperate situation in Isaiah 8…
I will wait for the LORD, who has turned away from the descendants of Jacob. I will put my hope in him. Look to God’s instructions and teachings! People who contradict his word are completely in the dark. Isaiah 8:17, 20 (NLT)
Darkness. Silence. Despair. For 400 years, after the 39 books of the Old Testament were written, God was silent. For 400 years, God’s people lived in darkness, and God was not obvious. No miracles. No amazing signs. No flood waters being parted. No fire from the sky. No giants being killed. During these 400 years, some amazing people in history stepped on the scene. Cambyses. Alexander the Great. Cleopatra and Marc Antony. Caesar and Brutus. Even though some interesting people lived during these 4 centuries, no sign of God. Darkness.
And then something amazing happened…a Great Light came.