Last week Beccy took us through the ancient prophecy of Isaiah which foretold the arrival of the light in the form of a baby who would be God Himself.
The Light from on high
(Luke 1:57-80) Richard Moores
Let’s stop for a moment …. Think about a sunrise …. What things come to mind?…… Maybe it’s the golden glow shimmering over the glorious countryside, or just the fact that we wake up in the light rather than the darkness of a cold winter’s morning. There’s something special about a sunrise.
In today’s passage, we look in on the naming celebration of a week-old baby and his fathers’ response. On announcing the name of this baby as ‘John’ his father, Zechariah, after being unable to speak since before the baby was conceived, was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied that salvation was going to come. Not only that, but also that John would be the prophet who would precede this coming Saviour!
There are many titles and metaphors from the Old Testament prophets to describe the coming Saviour, and in Zechariah’s prophecy he refers to the One to come as a Sunrise: ‘the rising sun will come to us from heaven, to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace’ (vv78-79).
Let us now consider a couple of these Old Testament prophets who speak of Jesus as a sunrise.
Isaiah declares that a light is going to arise and God’s glory is going to be revealed to them. As we saw last week, Isaiah wrote this during a dark time in Judah’s history before the exile into Babylon but he speaks hope that the darkness will be replaced by a ‘sunrise’ when people and nations will come to know this great Light. His hope-filled message promises that the darkness caused by separation from God will not last forever. Zechariah takes this image and connects it to the truth that this Light will bring knowledge of salvation and the forgiveness of sins.
Malachi prophesied alongside Haggai and Zechariah (not John the Baptist’s dad!) at the opposite end of the exile for Judah when the new Jerusalem temple was being built.
As well of speaking of judgement for those who continue to walk in their own ways rather than follow God, Malachi says that, ‘for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall’ (v2).
Malachi prophesies that the sunrise will bring healing for those who trust in Him, referring to Jesus, but also freedom for those who know Him.
After the darkness of being separated from God, a new day was dawning when the Sunrise will ‘Arise and shine’ and reveal God’s glory in a person the world can know; He will bring hope, peace, forgiveness, and freedom, not just for Israel but for all the nations of the world.
– When you think of a sunrise, what do you think of and how can that relate to Jesus’ coming as a sunrise?
– Read Isaiah 60:1-3. How did Jesus fulfil this prophecy and how does it relate to the world today?
– Draw out a sunrise scene and then write words along the sun’s rays of who Jesus is as the light and the sunrise.
Song: All my hope
XplosionTV Bitesize: a video for children and the young at heart
A craft activity is available for the whole blog series. Please download the star instructions