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.
Do you feel like you’re living in thick darkness today? The darkness of the unknown? The darkness of depression? The darkness of sickness? Loss? Brokenness? Temptation? I just spent 20 minutes watching the TV news ticker scroll by and the darkness was palpable.
The prophet’s message for us in Isaiah 60 is not that the darkness isn’t real or that we need to find our own way out of the darkness. In fact, one of the biggest mistakes we make when we are stuck in the darkness is that we spend all of our energy trying to get out of it. We just want to escape the dark. But the only way to overcome the dark is not to escape it, but to let in the light.
Good news – Your light has come.
When Isaiah wrote these words about the Jewish exiles in Babylon. Their captivity in a foreign land was their darkness. But Isaiah reminds them that the promises of God remain true in spite of their dark situation. Yahweh will restore them once again. They will arise and shine. Once again Zion will be a beacon of light and hope for the nations.
But Isaiah’s prophecy also has a deeper meaning. The light and glory of Yahweh that will come to Zion and pierce her darkness is Jesus Christ, the Suffering Servant, the Messiah. He will be crucified in thick darkness and he will be resurrected to glorious light that shines upon us.
Christian, the light of Yahweh has come upon you just as it did Zion of old. We who are in Christ are God’s new holy city. In the book of Revelation, John sees the New Jerusalem prepared as our eternal home, full of the light and glory of God. But John doesn’t just see us IN the holy city. He also sees us AS the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven as Christ’s glorious and pure bride.
Revelation 21:2. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Revelation 21:23-25. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, 25 and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there.
Christian, as the thick darkness surrounds you today find hope.
Find hope in knowing that you do not have to create your own light today. Light has come to you. Jesus Christ came to die in our darkness so that we might live in his light.
Find hope in knowing that your future is one of light and glory both IN the New Jerusalem and AS the New Jerusalem. God forever sharing his glory with us, and we, his holy city, receiving and returning that glory back to him.
And finally, find hope in knowing that right now, in this moment, you are full of the light and glory of God. You have made it to Zion. You have received the light of God’s grace. So now arise! Shine! For your light has come. Reflect the light and glory of our Suffering Servant Jesus to all you can in these darkest of times. Pour out his love like a fountain. Forgive. Be patient and long suffering. Listen more than you talk. Show kindness in small ways. Share. Pray. And embrace “to live is Christ.”
What thick darkness are you facing today?
You in Christ
In Christ, the light and glory of God is in you today. How does this pierce the darkness in your soul today?
Christ in you
Where can you arise, and shine the light of Jesus today?
Playlist: Arise Shine.
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