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Christ Is the Light for the Nations


Creation and salvation are cosely connected in Scripture, which is reflected in these lines from a fifth-century hymn: “Creator of the stars of night, / Thy people’s everlasting Light: / O Christ, Redeemer, save us all / And hear Thy servants when they call.”

From the very beginning, the Creator had a plan of redemption. His own Son, the second Person of the Trinity, would become a human being, the perfect sacrifice, to fulfill the promises made to Adam, Abraham, and David. This is seen in many Bible passages, including today’s reading, which is the first “Servant Song” in Isaiah.

Images of light and darkness surround the Servant, whom we now know to be Jesus (see Matt. 12:15–21). God, the Creator of light, chose and called Him as the only One who could accomplish His mission of redemption (v. 5). His purpose was to be “a light for the Gentiles,” showing that God’s plan of salvation was for the whole world (v. 6; 49:6; 51:4). Simeon later rejoiced over the baby Jesus as “a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel” (Luke 2:32). Paul and Barnabas also quoted Isaiah 49:6, which uses the same phrase, to justify preaching the gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 13:47–48).

The metaphor of light includes knowledge as opposed to ignorance and freedom as opposed to captivity (v. 7). The Savior came as an agent of God’s mercy and brought spiritual life, truth, and liberation from our state of spiritual death and bondage to sin.

The Servant is also described in this passage as One upheld by God and in whom God delights. He will bring justice and peace. He is a gentle healer, a righteous source of hope, and a fulfillment of the covenant.

apply the word

The chorus “Song for the Nations,” sometimes known as “May We Be a Shining Light to the Nations,” by Chris Christensen, develops these themes. Song lyrics and music can easily be located on YouTube or other websites. Sing or listen to this song as part of your personal worship time today.

BY Brad Baurain

Dr. Brad Baurain has worked as a writer and editor for Today in the Word since 1993. Currently, he serves as associate professor and TESOL program head at Moody Bible Institute. Brad has the unique privilege of holding a degree from four different universities (including Moody). He has also taught in China, Vietnam, the United States, and Canada. Brad and his wife, Julia, have four children and reside in Munster, Indiana.

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