I will make you a light to the nations. 

The first time this prophecy was proclaimed, the Israelites were living in captivity under the Babylonians. And yet God was promising them a servant who would rescue them, not just from their geographical captivity, but from the captivity of their sinfulness. And not only them—the servant would be “a light to the nations,” reaching to “the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6). God wanted to touch all of humanity. Reading these words today, we can see how God has accomplished his plan through the birth, death, and resurrection of his Son, Jesus.

Just think—Jesus didn’t come just for the first disciples or the early Church. He came for your next-door neighbor. He came for the person driving past you on the highway. He came for the spouse in a difficult marriage or in the throes of addiction. He came for those people who have yet to come to faith. Jesus came for every person—including you. He wants every single one of us to know him as Lord.

There is no darkness, whether it be a tough situation or a hardened or wounded heart, that is beyond God’s ability to touch. There is no sin he can’t forgive. As it says in today’s first reading, it would be “too little” for his servant to restore only the survivors of Israel (Isaiah 49:6). Jesus came to bring his light to everyone. What a message of encouragement this must have been to the Israelites—as it is for each one of us!

It’s Holy Week, and soon we will see Jesus reach out to “the nations” (Isaiah 49:6). We will see him offering forgiveness to the thief on the cross next to him (Luke 23:43). We will see him asking his Father to forgive his executioners (23:34). We will see a Gentile, the Roman centurion, recognize him as the Son of God (Mark 15:39). Finally, we will see him rising from the dead and conquering sin and death forever.

Jesus, the Light of the world, came to save the nations, both in his time and in ours. Let’s pray that every person will turn to him and welcome him as Lord.

“Jesus, may your light shine on all who dwell in darkness.”

Psalm 71:1-6, 15, 17
John 13:21-33, 36-38
Isaiah 49:1-6


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