In our studies in Isaiah, we have profited as Christians from prophecies intended for the Jews. This is not strange, and the lessons do not come because we have stretched Scripture to make it say what we want it to say. We learn and grow from these prophecies because that is simply the nature of God’s Word.
Chapter 49, though, speaks more directly to Gentiles as Isaiah’s address begins: “Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far.” Let’s begin by asking to whom is this message directed?
The word “isles” is often used in Scripture to refer to people other than the Jews. In addition, “people, far off” is an expression that referred to Gentiles.
Secondly, Christ Jesus is the subject of this Scripture. According to the infinitely wise counsels in heaven, it was determined not only that there would be a Savior, but His name was known from the beginning. Both Joseph and Mary were instructed by God that He would be named Jesus.
With a mouth like a “sharp sword” and made like a “polished shaft,” the Savior would be perfectly equipped to be the Savior of mankind. He was hidden in heaven until the perfect time for His birth.
In Isaiah 49:3, God the Father foresees that He will be glorified because of His Son Jesus.
The following verse is a response by Jesus, who says, “I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain.” Jesus could see the day when He would walk so much with the Jews, and yet not be accepted by them. This, however, would not cause Him to fall short in His mission.
Even though Israel would not be “gathered,” the glory of Jesus would not be diminished, He would have the absolute approval of the Father, and the glory of God would shine as brightly as ever.
Christians have a great interest in and much to be thankful for the Lord’s statement in Isaiah 49:6: “I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.”
Jesus opened His heart to save us from our sins, and we have been in His divine plan from the beginning. He has also been given as a “light to the Gentiles.” If this were not the case, we would live in the dark, far from our heavenly Father.
What we do with this privilege is up to us. Will we obey the Great Commission by spreading the good news of Jesus to the ends of the earth?
— The Sunday school lesson is written by Ed Wilcox, pastor of Centerville Baptist Church, Lumberton, N.C. firstname.lastname@example.org.