A Light to the Nations

David Bast

Read: Isaiah 49:1-6

It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob. (v. 6 NIV)

“Is anything too hard for the LORD?” the angel asked Abraham when Sarah laughed at the idea she would bear a child in her old age (Gen. 18:12-14). No, nothing is too hard for God. But some things are too small.

It is too small a thing for the servant of the Lord merely to be the Savior of Jacob and Israel. Yahweh is the God of Israel, but he’s no mere tribal deity. He is also the God of all the earth. Therefore he says to his servant, “I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth” (v. 6). Jesus clearly understood this to refer to himself when he declared, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12).

Paul quoted Isaiah 49:6 in a sermon he preached during his first missionary journey. Speaking in the local synagogue in Antioch of Pisidia, he used this verse to justify his sharing the gospel with Gentiles as well as Jews. So he made a small but important change: “We are turning to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles . . .’” (Acts 13:46-47).

Did you catch that? Paul says the Lord has made us a light for the nations. We are commanded to proclaim Christ as universal Savior and Lord. Anything less would be too small for him.

—David Bast

PRAYER:
Give glory to Jesus, Light of the world.