A Light for the Nations

Isaiah 49:1-4 ESV

“Listen to me, O coastlands,
and give attention, you peoples from afar.
The Lord called me from the womb,
from the body of my mother he named my name.
He made my mouth like a sharp sword;
in the shadow of his hand he hid me;
he made me a polished arrow;
in his quiver he hid me away.
And he said to me, ‘You are my servant,
Israel, in whom I will be glorified.’
But I said, ‘I have labored in vain;
I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity;
yet surely my right is with the Lord,
and my recompense with my God.’”

The one speaking here is regarded to be Jesus Christ, our Messiah. This was a foretelling of the Messiah who was yet to come and of his birth and of his ministry to all people, not just to the Jews. But it also mimics the calling of Jeremiah, the prophet of God, who was called of God from the womb of his mother to be a prophet to the nations, and the calling of Paul, called of God to be an apostle and a minister of the gospel to both Jew and Gentile, and of course the calling of Isaiah.

But we who are followers of Jesus Christ are his body, and we are to carry on the ministry Jesus began when he walked the face of this earth. And we are biblical Israel, for Jesus Christ is the promised seed of Abraham, and so it is all who believe in Jesus Christ, whether Jew or Gentile by birth, who are true Israel. Those who are physical descendants of Abraham are not true Israel unless they trust in Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior.

[Gal 3:16, 26-29; Rom 9:4-8; Gal 4:22-31; Eph 2:14-18; 1 Jn 2:22]

And so, as Christ’s body, and as biblical Israel, and as those who are to carry on the work of the Lord which he began, and which he is doing in and through us in his power and strength, we are to speak the words of God from the Scriptures to the people. We are to proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light, and we are to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth, and we are to take the gospel of our salvation to the ends of the earth, and to encourage one another, too.

[Matt 5:13-16; Matt 28:18-20; Jn 4:31-38; Jn 13:13-17; Jn 14:12; Acts 1:8; Acts 26:18; Rom 10:14-15; Rom 12:1-8; Rom 15:14; 1 Co 12:1-31; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-27; Php 2:1-8; Col 3:16; Heb 3:13; Heb 10:23-25; 1 Pet 2:9,21; 1 Jn 2:6]

But, alas, when we do the work of the ministry, even in the power of the Lord and in his strength, and we share the truth of the gospel with people wherever a door is open, we may not always see much fruit for our labors, and we may face much opposition, and we may wonder, at times, if anyone is really listening, and if what we are doing is really making a difference in people’s lives. I know the prophets of old faced some of this. But for me, I just remind myself that my assignment is to write and to put it out on the internet, and it is the Lord who convicts and who changes hearts.

Isaiah 49:5-6 ESV

“And now the Lord says,
he who formed me from the womb to be his servant,
to bring Jacob back to him;
and that Israel might be gathered to him—
for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord,
and my God has become my strength—
he says:
‘It is too light a thing that you should be my servant
to raise up the tribes of Jacob
and to bring back the preserved of Israel;
I will make you as a light for the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.’”

Again, this is a prophecy about Jesus Christ, our Messiah. But in many ways it applies to us, his servants, as well. And we read in James 5:19-20 this:

“My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”

For he will be forgiven his sins, and the Lord will restore him to fellowship with the Lord Jesus, and his soul will be saved from death.

So, our task is not just to get the message of the gospel out to the ungodly of this world who do not know Jesus, but it is also to exhort, and to encourage, and to rebuke and correct, and to speak the truth in love, and to teach, and to admonish one another in the Lord so that we are not led astray by the deceitfulness of sin and by false teachings. And it is to bring the wanderer back from his wandering, if he or she will let us.

And the thing of it is, if our assignment is not in person with people, we may not always see the results of our labors. For, if our assignment from God is in writing, and then to put those writings on the internet, our responsibility is to write and to publish, but the results are in God’s hands. And we don’t really know how God is using it or whose lives are being changed by it, unless we hear from people, and so we may share the messages to bring wanderers back, but we may never know who came back and who didn’t. And that is okay. We just have to obey God, and the results are in his hands.

And now this last part is not just about bringing wanders back to the Lord, but it is about taking the gospel to the ends of the earth. This is first fulfilled in Jesus Christ, for in his death and resurrection he made the way for non-Jews to become God’s chosen people and to be saved from their sins and to have eternal life with God. And this was Paul’s calling, too, and it should be the calling of all of us to be the light of the world to the people of the world and to call them out of darkness into God’s wonderful light.

Come and See

An Original Work / May 20, 2013
Based off John 1:35-51

John, the Baptist, called of God to
Make straight the way for the Lord,
Told his disciples about Jesus,
So two of them followed Him.

One of them who followed Jesus
Told his brother, Simon Peter,
Who then he brought to the Savior,
Who had told them, “Come and see.”

Jesus Christ, our Lord, Messiah,
On his way to Galilee found a man, Philip,
So he told him, “I want you to follow Me.”

Philip then found his friend,
And he told him, “We have found the one
The prophets spoke of – He is Jesus!”
Philip then said, “Come and see.”

Jesus saw the man, Nathanael,
While he sat beneath a fig tree,
Even before Philip called him,
So Nathanael did believe.

Nonetheless the Lord said,
“You believe because of what I told you.
You will see much greater things than these
If you will Come and see.”

Jesus’ calling to each one of us.
He tells us to believe in Him
As our Lord and Messiah,
And to follow where He leads.

He says we must turn from our sins,
Die to sin and self each day,
And put on our new lives in Jesus;
Bow before Him; humbly pray.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s