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Bible Study: Light in the darkness

NASHVILLE (BP) – This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, Lifeway publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.

This week’s Bible study is adapted from the Bible Studies For Life curriculum.

Bible Passages: Isaiah 9:1-3, John 1:1-9

Discussion Questions:

  • In what ways does our world walk in darkness?
  • Which description of Jesus in John 1:1-9 encourages you today?
  • What opportunities exist to display the light of Christ in the community?

Food for Thought:

A couple mornings each week, I get up earlier than usual for a meeting. In the winter, that means getting up before the sun rises. My wife, on the other hand, does not need to get up as early as I do. Being the good husband I am, I don’t turn on a light, and I try to be quiet and careful not to wake her.

One morning as I tried to leave the dark bedroom for my early morning meeting, my big toe collided with the edge of our dresser – hard. I sure could have used a light in that dark room.

Physical darkness can be a dangerous thing, but not nearly as dangerous as spiritual darkness. This was the situation for the nation of Judah in Isaiah 9:1-3. As a people, they were far from God.

When Israel split into two kingdoms after Solomon’s death, the resulting tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali, along with eight other tribes, became the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Because Israel had rebelled against God, He allowed the Assyrians to take over the nation around 732 B.C. The Assyrians exiled the people and brought in people from other nations to settle the land.

Isaiah’s words in chapter 9, however, offered a message of hope to the people of Judah. Even though they had been rebellious and had been “walking in darkness,” that darkness would be swept away by “a great light” (v. 2). A light would one day come and they would rejoice!

The opening verses of the Gospel of John declare that the bright glory of Jesus has overcome the darkness in this world. John did not hold back on announcing who Jesus is. Jesus is God. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Jesus is the One who brings light to all people. “That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it” (1:5).

God raised up John the Baptist to prepare the way for Jesus and to point people to the light of Christ. Like the Old Testament prophets who were commissioned by God for special assignments with specific messages, John’s message was all about the light of the Messiah. Shortly after John’s birth, his father Zechariah prophesied that his son would “go before the Lord to prepare his ways,” proclaiming the light and salvation of Christ (Luke 1:76-77). When God sent Jesus into this world, He proved He had heard our cries in the darkness and loved us enough to save us from darkness!

There is much that is wrong in our world, but we don’t face problems just because we are imperfect people. We live in an evil world. Left on our own, we are full of darkness and sin. When we look at Jesus and see Who He is, the light of His life reveals who we truly are: sinful people. Thankfully, God does not want to leave us in darkness, which is why Jesus has come to us!

Bible Studies for Life

Bible Studies for Life connects the Bible to life for adults, students and kids. Bible Studies for Life helps individuals and groups know God’s Word through trustworthy content, creates biblical community through engaging and conversational group studies, and helps people engage the culture missionally by unpacking what the Bible says about real-life issues. More information can be found on the internet at biblestudiesforlife.com.

    About the Author

  • Staff/Lifeway Christian Resources