Light for the Nations


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.” Isaiah 49:5-6 ESV

Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation
that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel.” Luke 2:25-32 ESV


The Statue of Liberty stands on Liberty Island in New York harbor, where it has been since 1886. It was a gift to the United States from the people of France, where it was made and then transported in pieces by ships to the United States. The statue from the ground to the top of its torch is a little over 305 feet high, which is about as tall as a 22-story building. The statue is of a woman holding a torch high in the air, and for many people over the years it has been a symbol of welcome to those who were coming to the United States from other countries. In a way, the torch of the Statue of Liberty is a beacon light to people from nations around the world, welcoming them home.

The prophet Isaiah talked about another light for the nations. He talked about the servant of the Lord, someone who would help and lift up the people of Israel who were weak and fallen under captivity and trouble. But the servant of the Lord would do even more than that. He would also be a light for the nations. This servant would bring God’s saving power, not only to the people of Israel, but to people all over the world, even to the ends of the earth.

When Jesus was forty days old Mary and Joseph brought him to the temple in Jerusalem, and  man named Simeon came up to talk to them. He had been waiting for many years to see the promised Savior, and God had promised him he would see the one God had promised to send before he died. When he saw the baby Jesus, he knew that God had kept his promise. He took Jesus into his arms and said that this baby would be a light that showed God to the Gentiles–the people who weren’t part of God’s chosen people–and also the glory of Israel. Jesus is the servant of the Lord who brings God’s salvation to people from nations in every part of the world. He died on the cross to win God’s forgiveness, and sends his word and his messengers all over the world to bring this good news to everyone.


Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to be a light to us and to all people everywhere. Please send your messengers to tell this good news to people close to us and people far away. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.