A PROMISE WAS GIVEN BY THE PROPHETS:
ONE DAY THE PEOPLE WALKING IN DARKNESS
WOULD SEE A GREAT LIGHT
HERE THIS PASSAGE IS PUT TO MUSIC IN HANDEL’S MESSIAH:
WHEN JOHN THE BAPTIST WAS BORN,
HIS FATHER, WHO HAD BEEN STRUCK DUMB BECAUSE OF UNBELIEF,
WROTE ON A SLATE THAT HIS NAME WAS JOHN.
THEN ZECHARIAH’S TONGUE WAS UNLEASHED TO PROPHESY,
TO TELL ALL THE PROMISE WAS FULFILLED,
FOR HIS SON WOULD POINT TO THE TRUE LIGHT,
“THE SUNRISE FROM ON HIGH.”
whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
to give light to those who sit in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
(Zechariah’s Song in Luke 1:78-79)
These prophecies from Isaiah and Zechariah inspired the carol,
“O Come O Come Immanuel,”
the hauntingly beautiful song filled with images of light overcoming darkness.
is sung here by Enya with visuals from The Nativity Story.
INDEED, JESUS WOULD SOON BE BORN ON EARTH,
A LIGHT THE DARKNESS WOULD NOT OVERCOME,
A TRUE LIGHT THAT ENLIGHTENS EVERYONE.
THIS WEEK WE ARE CONTINUING TO MEMORIZE THE FAMOUS PROLOGUE
FROM JOHN’S GOSPEL.
THERE ARE THREE, AT LEAST, VERY RICH WORDS IN THIS PROLOGUE,
AND THIS WEEK WE WILL LOOK CAREFULLY AT TWO OF THEM TO DEEPEN
YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF WHY JESUS CAME
AND WHY HE IS RESISTED, BOTH BY UNBELIEVERS, AND, IF WE ARE HONEST
BY OURSELVES AS BELIEVERS.
1. Christmas provides some of the most beautiful art and music on earth. Comment on Jocopo’s painting — what do you see? And comment on either of the musical classics.
2. What other comments or thoughts do you have as you consider the opening or the journey we are on?
We are continuing to memorize the famous prologue — if you are doing ESV, print this off and put it in a plastic sleeve.
(1) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
(2) He was in the beginning with God.
(3) All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
(4) In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
(5)The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
(6) There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
(7) He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light,
that all might believe through him.
(8) He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
9. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
10. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.
Monday: Review 1 through 8. As Twila says, Review, Review, Review.
3. The first word we are going to consider is “logos,” translated word. In part, Keller explains, the “logos” for something is the purpose or design for it. In other words, Christ came, in part, to show us our purpose or design. He, as the Word, is the “Master’s Manual” for our lives. He knows better how to run our lives than we do. And submitting to the Word brings freedom and enlarges our hearts.
A. What thoughts to you have on this meaning of the word “logos?”
B. Give an example of how The Word knew better than you did how to handle a particular problem and how, if you submitted to it, you were helped.
C. What challenges are you facing today that the Word could help you with?
Tuesday: Review 1 through 8 and add verse 9.
4. The second word we are going to consider is “overcome,” sometimes translated “understood,” “comprehended,” or “extinguished.” Again, a very rich word. Keller likens it to the word “master” because it contains both ideas of overcoming something and understanding something. What thoughts do you have on “the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it”?
5. What thoughts do you have on verse 9, on the fact that the true light enlightens everyone?
6. Romans 1:18 explains why not everyone responds to the light they are given. What is it? How is this also true of you as a believer?
Wednesday: Review 1 through 9 and add verse 10.
7. What irony do you see in verse 10?
The human heart is able to suppress what is obvious in order to do what it wants to do. As Woody Allen said famously, after sleeping with his daughter, “the heart wants what it wants.”
8. Comment if you had time to watch.
9. As you submit to the Creator, do you experience more of His presence?
Thursday: Review 1-10 and add 11.
10. Any new revelations on this passage?
11. Listen to this optional (not free) Keller sermon and share your thoughts.
Friday: Review 1 through 11.
12. Any new revelations on this passage? How is it impacting you?
Saturday: Review 1 through 11.
13. What is your take-a-way and why?