Thursday 06 January 2011

Bible Book:

"Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you." (v. 1)

Isaiah 60:1-6 Thursday 6 January 2011


In making sense of the meaning of the coming of Jesus as thelight of the world, light for all, this is one of the Old Testamentpassages that stood out for the early Christians. It's clearly agood news passage for people who have been living in darkness(probably, in its original context, the darkness of exile in aforeign land). It's a passage that says when the light comes thingswill be very different, the world will be changed. 

Down the centuries, Christians have seen the link between thispassage from Isaiah and the story of Jesus' birth as told inMatthew's Gospel (Matthew 1:18 - 2:18). Matthew talks of thecoming of wise men, but in some carols they have become 'kings' (eg"We three kings of orient are", "Three kings from Persian landsafar"). How do wise men become kings? Well, here in Isaiah the talkis of nations coming "to your light, and kings to the brightness ofyour dawn" (verse 3). 

Verse 6 talks of gifts being brought - gold and frankincense. Thishelps make sense of the rather strange presents for a baby listedin Matthew's story of Jesus' birth (Matthew 2:11).So both Matthew's Gospel andmany later Christians see the birth of Jesus in the light of thisprophecy of hope from many centuries before Jesus'birth. 

These verses speak clearly of the light being for all, as peoplecome from far and wide in response to it. This is not just about aGod of one people but of all peoples - light for all. And this isright at the heart of the celebration of this day, Epiphany (6January) in the Christian calendar, the manifestation of Christ aslight for all the world. 

To Ponder

This is a 'good news' passage for people livingin darkness of various kinds. How would you describe the good newsof Christianity in ways that make sense today?

To what extent is light a helpful image for you,as you think and talk about God's love in Jesus?

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