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February 21, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“For this is what the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”—Acts 13:47 (NIV)
Think about the power and vastness of light for a second. Most can agree that the general purpose of light is to illuminate something thus making it visible to the human eye.
When we see light in the Bible, we see it used as an illuminator for our path (Psalm 119:105), an illuminator for our sins and flaws (Ephesians 5:13), and that it can only be found in God (1 John 1:5), Jesus (John 8:12), and their words of truth! However, as a result of God’s light shining within us and leading us, we can now also be the light of the world (Matthew 5:14) and live as children of light (Ephesians 5:8-9).
Within today’s Scripture, we find Paul and Barnabas preaching to the Jews and Gentiles in Pisidian Antioch. When the Jews reject and publicly contradict Paul and Barnabas’ teaching, they turn to the Gentiles and quote Isaiah 49:6 (NIV) saying, “I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”
Because God’s chosen people from the beginning have been the Jews, many still had a hard time believing their God could also have a relationship with any non-Jew. However, in the same way that light shines for all to see, the light of God in Jesus was always meant to shine for both the Jews and the Gentiles! This is what Paul and Barnabas were seeking to point out when the Jews rejected their message.
If we jump back to Isaiah 49 (NIV), we can read this verse in its entirety: “He says: ‘It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.’”
We do not serve a simple-minded God! Our God is an intelligent and intricate God, and He thus made His plan abundantly gracious and grand! Just like Jesus states in Matthew 5:15 that a light should not be put under a bowl but rather on a stand for everyone in the house to see, the light of Christ was always intended to shine for the whole world! Praise be to God that not only can we all have the ability to see and follow the light, but we can now live in the light and shine it to those around us as we point them to the light!
PAUSE: Who have you cancelled out from receiving or following the light of Christ? Remember, He has called you to shine for them, too, in the way you love and act towards them.
PRACTICE: How can you shine your light for those who are often outcast or forgotten? Perhaps you can share an encouraging word or perform a random act of kindness and generosity.
PRAY: Father, it is easy for me to forget that Your ultimate plan involves shining light for all to see, and by Your grace that plan includes me! Help me to take part in that plan by being bold enough to illuminate the world around me with love and grace as You have illuminated my own life and heart. Thank you Jesus! Amen.