Arise, shine; for your light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen on you.…
I. THE VOICE SPEAKS TO INDIVIDUALS. How few even realize their possibilities. We have had religious training, we have been taught to consider all questions as they appear in relation to God, we have grown up in a religious atmosphere, and yet the consciousness that no man is a true man until he reflects Jesus Christ in words, business, pleasures and thoughts is dim, and not even desired. The light has come; what does it find? It finds men absorbed and heedless, thinking only of what they can keep for a little while at best; not caring for their fellow-men; selfish and as impervious to higher motives as a granite rock to sunshine. The true glory of a man is to reflect Christ.
II. THE VOICE OF THE PROPHET REACHES THE CHURCH, both local and universal. The Church realizes its true mission only as it reflects the Divine light, which means, simply, realizes the life which was in Jesus Christ.
1. The Church should reflect Jesus in its worship. With Him worship was something essential and vital. Before every great act of His career He went apart from men to pray. The sources of His life were in God. Worship and prayer are the conduits along which flow streams of spiritual vitality. Is the Church a praying Church? Then it is continuing Christ's work.
2. The Church lives to repeat the teaching of Jesus.
3. In like manner the Church should reflect Jesus in the service of humanity. It lives to continue His ministry. The most hospitable place in every community ought to be the Church of Christ. Has any one a grief? Let him go to the Church. Are any lonely? Let them go to the Church. Have any disgraced themselves and their friends? Let them seek the Church and its help. But will all these various classes find there a welcome? Not only within its walls, but outside also the Church should serve humanity in the spirit of Christ.
III. THIS CRY OF THE PROPHET COMES TO NATIONS. Nations, as well as individuals and Churches, exist to continue the Incarnation. That nation has not begun to realize its possibilities which has not learned that its superlative privilege is the manifestation of Jesus Christ. What do I mean? That the function of government is not only the protection of the people, but the service of humanity. John Milton truly said that the State is only a huge man. In the vision of the prophet when the light broke upon the sides of Mount Zion the nations saw the glory and were attracted by it (vers. 3, 14). The most beautiful thing in this world is the character of Jesus Christ; nothing else so wins men.
(A. H. Bradford, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.