Study Guide: Keeping the Light

Sunday December 18, 2016 | Greg Boyd

Focus Scripture:

Brief Summary:

Keeping the Light. Throughout the biblical narrative, we see that Jesus is the light of the world. And that light is shared with humanity in order that we may shine the light. In the Old Testament, Israel was called to be the light to other nations. With the Incarnation, Jesus came as the light of the world. And today, the family of God is to bear witness to the light of the world. Greg shares with us how we are blessed to be conduits of light, to shine and share the light.

Extended Summary:

Within the prophecy of Isaiah 60:1-3, we encounter 3 different applications.

First, this prophecy was for the people of Israel. Ever since the rebellion, humanity is under a cloud of deception. But God doesn’t leave us enveloped by this cloud. Rather God is about bringing light into this dark world. This mission of dispelling the cloud, God works slowly and faithfully, in small intentional ways. God covenants then with Abraham, and the decedents of Abraham, that is the nation of Israel. Israel was called to be the light to the other nations. They were blessed in order to be a blessing. But more often than not, the Israel lights failed to share their blessing. Isaiah 60 was originally prophesied for Israel, yet they could not fulfill the vocation to be a light to the world. Therefore, God continued the mission of dispelling the cloud of deception by coming into the world. God Incarnate, Jesus, becomes the one true Israel in order to faithfully live out the light.

The second application is Jesus Christ. Jesus is Israel, bringing salvation to the world. All the promises for Israel are fulfilled in Jesus Christ! Jesus fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah 601:3.

But, if Jesus totally fulfilled this prophecy, then why is there still darkness? Jesus did, in fact, fulfill the prophecy, but it is not yet completed. This leads us to the third application of the prophecy.

The church is called to fulfill the prophecy! This is the third application. If we are united by faith in Christ, we are decedents of Abraham and therefore we are called “The Israel of God”. The true Israel is all who believe, not the nation. We are those who are to fulfill the vocation that was given to Abraham and Israel! We are the people through whom the glory of God is to shine! The vocation of the church is to put on the beauty of God. The blessing and the vocation of Christ pertain to the church. Since Jesus is the light of the world, we are called to bear witness to that light. We are blessed to be a blessing. The prophecy of Isaiah 60 is fulfilled when the entire world sees the light, and we are to share and shine that light. Jesus is THE light of the world and we are the conduits of that light.

The purpose of light is to dispel the darkness. It is not designed to be hidden under a bowl, but shine on a lampstand. Like a city on a hill, the church is to shine the light that is Christ. The purpose of the light is to be seen, to be heard and to shine for all to see. This is our vocation.

Reflection Questions:

  1. Greg points out that the church has often failed to shine the light, to fulfill the vocation of shining the light, just as Israel did. Take an honest inventory of your life; are there ways in which you have failed to shine the light? Examine those moments. What prevented you from shining and sharing the light? It’s ok, we’ve all hidden our light from time to time. But in order to move forward and shine brightly, we must first understand why we failed to shine.
  2. With your response to question #1 in the forefront of your mind, now take the next step. Ask Jesus, “What are ways in which I can shine your light?” From there, bring the question to your community. Discuss ways in which you may shine the light together.