Friday, March 18, 2016

Servant to the Gentiles

Flags of the world (Image: geralt/

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Isaiah 49:1-13

TO CHEW ON: "Indeed He says,
'Is it too small a thing that You should be My Servant
To raise up the tribes of Jacob,
And to restore the preserved ones of Israel;
I will also give you as a light to the Gentiles,
That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.' " Isaiah 49:6

In this second servant Song we see another side of the Servant's mission.

Often in the Old Testament, God's servant is Israel. In fact, that's the "servant" this passage speaks about first - Isaiah 49:3. But then the speaker (God) shifts His attention to "My Servant"—capitalized in my NKJV Bible which puts the names and pronouns of deity in upper case. His mission is to not only "raise up the tribes of Jacob" and "restore the preserved ones of Israel" but also be a "light to the Gentiles" and "My salvation to the ends of the earth" - Isaiah 49:6.

As a bringer of salvation to all, this Servant will be (Isaiah 49:7-12):
  • Given respect and worship by kings and princes.
  • Preserved to realize His destiny.
  • A covenant between God and people.
  • Freedom for prisoners
  • Light for those living in darkness.
  • One who shepherds and protects his flock.
  • A herald of good news.

I believe the fulfillment of this prophecy was Jesus. He believed that of Himself, for He read words from Isaiah 49 in Luke 4:18,19 and then said, "'Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing'" (Luke 4:21).

He spoke of the wine at the Last Supper as a symbol of the new covenant (Luke 22:20).

In other places He declared Himself the light of the world (John 8:12) and the Good Shepherd (John 10:1-30).

And like Isaiah's prophecy detailed, His first assignment was to the Jews (Matthew 15:21-28), but the charge He left with His disciples included bringing word of Him and salvation to the world (Acts 1:8).

If we are Gentiles (and I am one), the Servant's mission of bringing non-Jews into right relationship with God is a truth we hold dear. It means He accepts us. It clarifies our vision about the truth of Jesus as the way to God for all people in a culture that says all belief systems are equally valid and lead to a good end. And it spurs us on in missions giving and prayer for the world.

I'm sure you, like I, long to finally see the culmination of the Servant's mission to the Gentiles as envisioned by John in Revelation: "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever" - Revelation 11:15.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank You for taking sin's death sentence for everyone—Jew and Gentile alike. I anticipate the day when the nations of Earth give You worship. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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