A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.
There is no figure more common nor more beautiful in the Scriptures, than that by which Christ is compared to "light." Incomprehensible in its nature, itself first visible, and that by which all else is so; "light" represents to us Christ, whose generation none can declare, but who must shine on us ere we can know aught aright whether of things Divine or human. Pure, uncontaminated, though visiting the lowest parts of the earth, and penetrating the most noisome recesses; what is "light" an image of, if not of that Divine Mediator, who contracted no stain, though born of a woman, in the likeness of sinful flesh? Instrumental in all the processes of vegetation, so that, without its vivifying power, the earth could not yield its kindly fruits, nor expose its verdant hues, what is "light" but the emblem of that source of illumination, of whom the Evangelist declares that "He was the Light and Life of men"? And without searching too narrowly into the particular sources by which this resemblance might be proved, we may say that Christ is to the material world what the sun is to the natural; and wherever the gospel has been published and received as a communication from God, the darkness has fled, as night flies before the day; and we know, that wherever the revelation made through Christ has been dispersed, wherever it has vouchsafed its cheering rays, the clouds of ignorance, and superstition, and irreligion have vanished, and holiness purity, and morality have illumined the horizon. It has done more. It has hung the very grave with bright lamps, and re-kindled the blazings of an almost quenched immortality.
(H. Melvill, B. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.