“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.” – Isaiah 49:6
These words in Isaiah are the words of the Father speaking to the Messiah, His Son. God the Father is giving Isaiah the insight into His implementation of the ancient promise that a Savior would come to bring salvation to a world lost in sin. That salvation would not only be the restoration of Israel as God’s elect nation, but also deliverance for all who would place their faith in Messiah even among the Gentile nations of the earth.
The old prophet Simeon referred to this prophecy when he took up the infant Jesus in his arms and said, “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised you now can dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory to your people Israel.” – Luke 2:29-32
Christ’s light brings the revelation of God’s plan of salvation to those who are non-Jewish, and the Jewish Messiah brings glory to Israel for they are God’s chosen people through whom came the covenants, the law, temple worship, and the promises (See Romans 9:4).
This truth of God’s salvation being a revelation for Gentiles is clearly seen in the Old Testament (See Isaiah 60:1,3). This prophecy had an initial fulfillment when the Eastern Wisemen (the magi) came to honor Christ at His birth (Matthew 2:1-13), but it will become a complete reality when Christ returns to usher in His Eternal Kingdom (See Revelation 21:23-24).
Consider the Apostle Paul as well. When he preached to the Gentiles in Antioch there was a profound effect on the Gentile listeners: “For this is what the Lord has commanded us: I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth. When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord: and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.” – Acts 13:47-48
At a baseball came this summer, a young gal came and sat next to me. I quickly introduced myself to her and we exchanged in some small talk together. She told me that she had recently gotten engaged and that she was majoring in Environmental Science. I asked what made her choose that particular major and she shared about her and her fiancée’s concern about the environment and over-population…so much so that they had decided not to have children.
I went on to share with her about the myth of over-population and that statistically it is simply not true. I shared with her about the ancient biblical mandate regarding how God’s Covenant people were commanded to be fruitful and multiply. I then shared with her about the staggering demographic statistics about the decline of populations in Spain, France and greater Europe in general. Of course every Muslim country is increasing in population at a rate four times greater than Europe and the United States.
As we left at the end of the game she said, “Wow! This has been a stimulating conversation and you gave me so much to think about.” I thanked her and expressed my appreciation for her wisdom about the importance of protecting our environment.
I have discovered that the light or revelation of God’s Word can bring redemptive insight to people who are “not-yet-Christians”, or as the Bible describes them in Luke 2 – Gentiles.