The Servant’s Mission in the World
Key Verse: “He said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.”
TODAY’S LESSON IS A beautiful prophecy of the work of God’s son, Jesus, who made himself a servant to all. “The Lord hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.” (Isa. 49:1) Here we see, in prophecy, God’s son Jesus as one called from the womb of his mother Mary. Confirming this are these words, “The angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.”—Luke 1:30,31
“He hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me.” (Isa. 49:2) In these words also, we see Jesus prophetically spoken of. John the Revelator states concerning the glorified Jesus, “Out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword.” (Rev. 1:16) This symbolic language is full of meaning. First, it shows that Jesus, as God’s appointed servant, is his mouthpiece, speaking only those things that come from God. Second, the words which proceed out of Jesus’ mouth are pictured as a ‘sharp twoedged sword.’ This shows that it is not God’s intent to use carnal weapons to subdue this present evil world. Rather, his word of Truth, as given by his glorified Son, will be the sword which slays the false teachings of Satan, and the traditions and superstitions of fallen men.
The importance of the Key Verse of our lesson is attested to by the fact that these words are quoted in three different places in the New Testament. When the devout Simeon came to Jerusalem to see the child Jesus, he testified, “Mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” (Luke 2:30-32) As Paul and Barnabas began their ministry in the gospel, they also recalled the prophet’s words, stating, “So hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.” (Acts 13:47) What a faith-strengthening confirmation is given by Paul and Barnabas to the prophet’s words that this salvation will not just be for a few, but ‘unto the ends of the earth.’
The third New Testament reference to our Key Verse we find late in Paul’s ministry, as he stood before King Agrippa and testified of his commission to preach the gospel of Christ. He states, “I continue unto this day, … saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.” (Acts 26:22,23) So logical, so reasonable, was Paul’s testimony before King Agrippa that the king made this remarkable statement in response to Paul: “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” (Acts 26:28) How we look forward to the time when Agrippa, and all mankind, will not only hear, but understand and appreciate the words which proceed from God out of the mouth of his servants.