A Light to the Nations

David Bast

Read: Acts 13:44-52

I have made you a light for the Gentiles. (v. 47)

Have you ever reflected on the fact that, while nothing is too big for God to do, some things are too small? Speaking of his Servant, the Messiah, God declared it was “too small a thing” for him to save only the lost house of Israel. He must also be “a light for the Gentiles,” to all nations and peoples, “that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth” (Isa. 49:6 NIV). It’s not enough for God to be merely an ethnic deity for one group. His light is for all the nations; his salvation must reach to the ends of the earth.

Paul quotes Isaiah 49:6 at the end of his sermon in the synagogue at Antioch of Pisidia. It was a dicey moment. The synagogue had been overrun by Gentiles eager to hear the gospel, and the Jewish congregation was upset. They turned against Paul, who then turned his ministry focus to the outsiders, justifying his decision with Isaiah’s prophecy.

Paul’s quotation comes with one significant change in application. In Isaiah the words were addressed to the Messiah. But Paul leads in with “For so the Lord has commanded us,” applying “I have made you” to himself and to all Christians (emphasis added). It’s the same thing Jesus said to his disciples: “You are the light of the world.” Christ’s light must shine through us to the whole world. Anything less would be too small a thing for God. —David Bast

Prayer: Lord, make us a light.