ARISE, SHINE, FOR YOUR LIGHT HAS COME
“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.” – Isaiah 60:1-3 (TNIV)
The contrast of light and darkness is a frequent theme throughout the Bible. The world is in darkness and God brings light. The dramatic emphasis on light is particularly striking in this text because of the comprehensive extent of the darkness over the earth and its people. The source of this light, which penetrates the darkness so vividly and so completely, is the revelation of God’s glory. Clearly, something has occurred that opens the way for the glory of God to be revealed in his people and to draw the nations to this light.
From the descriptions of the Servant-Messiah in the Servant Songs of Isaiah (Isaiah 42-53), we learn that it is this Servant who is the conqueror of sin and the light for the nations. When the light of God dawns in Israel, the nations will recognize that the Servant is the manifestation of God’s glory and come streaming to it. The brightness of the glory of God in the person of the Servant will be irresistible to the nations and to the kings of the earth!
The purpose of God’s sharing his glory with his people through the Servant- Messiah is explicit. God’s people have a mission. The nations are in darkness because they do not know the Lord and his Servant-Messiah. When the glory of God is manifest through the Servant-Messiah, the mission of God’s people is to be bearers of that light so that all will see the glory of God’s Servant-Messiah.
As we reflect on the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the Servant-Messiah, in this Advent season, we are reminded of our privilege and calling to be the conduit of God’s light to the nations through him. Though we always fall short of our calling as God’s people, may the Lord grant us grace to reflect the light of the incarnation in such a way that even kings will want to come and fall at the feet of the Savior. Soli Deo Gloria.
Dr. Keith Wells is the Chaplain for Canto Deo and also a Professor at Denver Seminary.