“A Light” and “a Covenant”
11. In what sense was Jesus “a light of the nations” in the first century, and how is he such up to the present day?
11 In fulfillment of Isaiah 42:6, Jesus did indeed prove to be “a light of the nations.” During his earthly ministry, he brought spiritual light primarily to the Jews. (Matt. 15:24; Acts 3:26) But Jesus stated: “I am the light of the world.” (John 8:12) He became a light both to the Jews and to the nations not only by bringing spiritual enlightenment but also by offering his perfect human life as a ransom for all mankind. (Matt. 20:28) After his resurrection, he commissioned his disciples to be witnesses of him “to the most distant part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) During their ministry, Paul and Barnabas quoted the expression “light of the nations” and applied it to the preaching work they were accomplishing among non-Jews. (Acts 13:46-48; compare Isaiah 49:6.) That work is still being pursued as Jesus’ anointed brothers on earth and their companions spread spiritual light and help people to put faith in Jesus, the “light of the nations.”
12. How has Jehovah given his Servant “as a covenant of the people”?
12 In that same prophecy, Jehovah told his chosen Servant: “I shall safeguard you and give you as a covenant of the people.” (Isa. 42:6) Satan put forth persistent efforts to destroy Jesus and prevent Jesus from completing his ministry on earth, but Jehovah safeguarded him until the appointed time for him to die. (Matt. 2:13; John 7:30) Then Jehovah resurrected Jesus and gave him as “a covenant,” or pledge, to people on earth. That solemn promise provided assurance that God’s faithful Servant would continue as “a light of the nations,” liberating those in spiritual darkness.—Read Isaiah 49:8, 9.*