Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Christmas Light
Pastor Steve Schell
Luke 1:39-56
The Bible often used the word “light” to refer to something more than the illuminating form of energy we see when the sun comes up or we flip a switch in our house. In both the Old and New Testaments light can also mean spiritual revelation—the ability to see spiritual truth. And it’s easy to see why the Holy Spirit would make this comparison. When physical light suddenly illuminates a dark room a person can see things they couldn’t see before. A chair or table laying hidden in the dark instantly becomes visible, and that’s exactly what happens when the Holy Spirit enables us to see spiritual truth. It’s just like the lights going on in a dark room. One moment I can’t understand anything at all, no matter how hard I try, and the next I understand a spiritual truth just as clearly as though I were looking at it with my eyes.

When Mary went to her cousin Elizabeth’s to find refuge during the early months of her pregnancy, both women were filled with the Spirit and prophesied. Elizabeth spoke first, and then Mary spoke what is commonly called the “Magnificat.” Her profound knowledge of Scripture and her ability to speak so boldly tells us a lot about the woman God chose to be Jesus’ mother. She was perplexed by the question, “Why me?” and through her own mouth God answered her, and in doing so provided an answer for all of us who’ve asked the same question: “Why me?”
A. What is “Light”?
1) At times the Bible uses “light” as an analogy for spiritual revelation.
• Isaiah 8:18-9:3
• John 1:4-9
2) “Light” is something God is able to give to certain people but no others
• John 6:37, 44, 65 – those the Father draws
• John 3:19-21 – those who come to the Light
3) It takes a miracle to understand spiritual truth and the Holy Spirit must give us that miracle or it will be impossible for us to understand.
• 1 Corinthians 2:6-16 – a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit

B. To whom does God give this Light?
1) What does Mary say? (Lk 1:46-55)
Mary’s prophecy answers the question she was asking herself: why me?
• Drawing on her deep knowledge of Scripture the Holy Spirit explains that she is an example of one of the greatest laws in God’s Kingdom (Lk 14:11; 18:14; Jas 2:6; 1Pe 5:5): God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

To whom does God give spiritual revelation?
• Not to those who are:
a) (v 51) “proud in the thoughts of their heart”
- “It has to make sense to me. I’m not willing to believe what I don’t understand.”
- (v 45) The first trimester was the hardest so she went to be with a cousin who she knew had faith.
b) (v 52) Powerful people who dominate others.
• Unwilling to submit to a God who wants to rule me.
c) (v 53) The “rich”
• People who are delighted with what the world offers. They have an abundance of what they want.

• but to those who are:
a) (v 48) Humble
- People who recognize their own limitations and recognize how badly they fall short of God’s standards.
- (Php 2:3) Those who regard others as more important than themselves
b) (v 48) “His bondslave”
- People who recognize the greatness of God and voluntarily submit to Him (v 38)
c) (v 50) “Those who fear Him”
- People who believe God exists and that He sees all things and will punish the wicked and reward the righteous
- The change that takes place when real faith is present (v 45) (Pro 1:7; Heb 11:6)
d) (v 53) The “hungry”
- Those who realize life is short and long for more than what this world has to offer. They hunger to be with God and live under His righteous rule.

2) What do the angels say? (Lk 2:8-20)
Nine months later, on the night in which the baby was born, God again illustrates His law at work: He gives light to “those with whom He is pleased” (He 11:6)

3) What does Jesus say?
Jesus sees this great law of God at work in His own disciples and bursts out in praise: Matthew 11:20-30; 13:10-16; 5:3-8

4) What does Paul say? (1Co 1:18-31)
After evangelizing and planting churches over a large portion of the Mediterranean world, Paul stepped back and made this observation.

5) What do you say?
When you hear this message does it make sense, do you understand and does it touch a longing deep inside of you?
- Listen once more to Jesus: Matthew 11:28-30
- If you are proud, powerful, rich… all of this has probably bored you.
- But if you are humble, repentant, believe in God and hungry to be with Him forever then you may well be feeling a hope grow inside you that God can fulfill your deepest desires. To you, all of this makes perfect sense and you’re seeing Christmas in the “light” of the Spirit.

C. Questions
1) Have you ever been, or are you now, in the “dark,” wondering why it’s so hard for you to believe the Bible? Which of the problems on Mary’s list applied to you? If that has changed, tell us when you saw the “light.”
2) When you think about the Christmas story, what part touches you the most? Do you know why? If so tell us.


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