Which is more powerful, light, or darkness? Why?
Isaiah the prophet had some bad news for God’s people, the Jews. Because of their constant sinning, and because they had ignored God’s commandments, the Jews were going to be conquered and taken as captives into the evil empire of Babylon. And they would be there for 70 years. This 70 years of captivity would be known as the “Babylonian Exile.”
But Isaiah didn’t only have bad news for the people. He also told them of God’s promise to rescue them out of the exile. He gave them hope in God and in his light. Listen to these verses from Isaiah 60 and see if you can hear the bad news but also the good news of hope:
Isaiah 60:1-2. Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
2 For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the LORD will arise upon you,
and his glory will be seen upon you.
3 And nations shall come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your rising.
What was the bad news? (darkness shall cover the earth)
What was the good news? (your light has come)
The darkness that Isaiah is talking about is the time when the Babylonians would conquer the Jewish people. But the light would be the time when God rescues his people from Babylon.
But now I want to tell you something very important about prophecies in the Old Testament – Often they have two different meanings. The first meaning might happen soon after the prophecy is spoken – soon the Babylonians will come and conquer the Jews and take them to be slaves. But there is usually a second meaning to prophecies, a meaning that points far ahead to Jesus. And Isaiah 60 points to Jesus.
When Isaiah tells God’s people to “Arise, shine, for your light has come,” he’s telling us about when Jesus will come to earth to rescue us. Not a rescue from Babylon but a rescue from our sin. From our selfishness. From our greed. From our anger. From our meanness. From our jealousy. And from the sadness that comes when you have no hope of ever being out of the darkness of sin.
But because of Jesus we never have to be sad and lost in darkness again. Why?
Because “the glory of the Lord has risen upon you” – Jesus has risen from the dead! Jesus died for our sins but he didn’t stay dead. He arose. His all powerful life shone in the darkness and conquered death. And now his great life and love can be ours to share with him when we trust in him to rescue us. Now we can live forever in the light, never in the dark again.
We can arise and shine the light of Jesus everywhere we go.
Because of Jesus you never have to be sad in the darkness of sin again. You are in the light!
With Jesus you can shine his light of love and grace everywhere you go.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Sing This Little Light of Mine together. But more importantly talk about ways that you can shine the light of Jesus this week.
You are the light of the world. Help me to arise and shine your light wherever I am.
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