Summary: The light of the Lord coming to earth was prophecied hundreds of years beforehand. We can know this light in our individual lives by receiving Jesus into our lives. He is the Light of the World.
Iliff and Saltillo UM Churches
January 2, 2005
“Lord, Shine Your Light on Me”
INTRODUCTION: Today’s scripture speaks of a prophecy that has been unfolding throughout history and which is still unfolding. To the people of Isaiah’s day, the prophecy seemed a long time in coming, but God was working out many details leading up to the birth of Jesus and the epiphany--the appearance of His light breaking into a darkened world. This Jesus who already existed with God before the foundation of the world, made His appearance in human flesh and revealed God to us. Let us look at how this prophecy gave hope and light to a darkened world.
I. Hope for a Darkened World: The prophet Isaiah looks to the future glory of Israel, a reflection of the Lord God himself. He calls them to arise and to shine for their light has come. Although darkness covers the whole earth now, he was telling them that it would not always be that way. Although the impenetrable darkness had enveloped Israel when she was not obeying God, they were encouraged to lift up their heads--to arise. In this prophecy there is a spotlight shining on Zion’s hill for all to see. People would be attracted to this light and be drawn toward it. They are encouraged to look toward this day when the streams of people would come from the far corners of the earth. People would come bearing appropriate gifts and find their place of worship. Those coming would include both Jews and Gentiles alike. Whereas before Jerusalem reflected the judgment of God, then it would reflect His grace and His favor. The prophet called the people not only to arise but to shine with this divine glory, the Source of which was God Himself.
The unfolding of this prophecy in their day was only partial as it is in ours until Christ comes back again and God’s final plan has unfolded. It is true that they returned home from captivity and the Persians helped in the rebuilding of the walls to the city; but the full impact of this light had not come yet. Fulfillment of it was beyond the Old Testament era. Perhaps to have the vision of hope was enough for them at the time as they waited and held these things in their hearts. It was a turning point for them. When the Jews returned from captivity, they had a measure of light, gladness, joy, and honor and were made to rejoice in His goodness. They had a small portion of this light but more was to come. When the Jews were settled again in their own land after the captivity, many other people joined them, but it does not appear that there ever was any such following to them as would answer the fullness of this prophecy. This looks to the time when the Gentiles would be brought into the church--flocking to Christ and coming by faith and hope. The gospel church is referred to as Zion and Jerusalem. In this sense all believers are said to come to it.
Hebrews 12:22 says, “You have come unto Mt. Zion to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.” This serves as a key to the prophecy of people coming to Mt. Zion and Jerusalem.