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A Light to the Nations

I am the LORD, I have called You in righteousness, I will hold You by the hand and watch over You, and I will appoint You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations, to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon and those who dwell in darkness from the prison (Isaiah 42:6-7).

The Jewish people have understood their calling to be a light to the nations. As God’s people, they were chosen for a purpose. Located strategically between the continents of the world, with most world trade routes passing through their small Promised Land, they were to be a beacon. Their understanding was to bring monotheism to the ancient world that worshipped many false gods and to proclaim the truth of the Torah/Bible. They were a witness to a living God not made with human hands, who created all things and was alone worthy to be worshipped. They were to be a blessing to the world (Gen 12:1-3). God would show Himself to the nations through them and they were also to declare a message of a Messiah who would bring salvation to all nations (Is 49:6).

When Yeshua, the Saviour, came declaring, ‘I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life’ (Jn 8:12), the majority of the people rejected Him, as people still do today, because their deeds are evil and they love darkness rather than light (Jn 3:19).

Gentile believers are also grafted in to this same calling. ‘You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house’ (Matt 5:14-15).

In our day, it is not politically correct to declare that there is only one true God, one way to salvation and that we must repent of our sinful deeds, but this dark world, lost in sin, still needs to hear the message of how to be set free and walk in the light of the Lord.

Despite being a fallen nation, the Jewish people have been a blessing to humanity. Though comprising just 0.2% of the world’s population, they have won 1/5 of all Nobel prizes since 1901. As Mark Twain wrote of the Jew:

‘He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his commercial importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk. His contributions to the world’s list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse learning, are also way out of proportion to the weakness of his Numbers.’1

As we read our Bibles today or use our computers, we should give thanks to God for the Jews who brought us Messiah, faithfully preserved God’s Word, gave us much hi-tech and pioneered many medical breakthroughs.