The Light of the Gentiles
James Smith, 1860
"I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth." Isaiah 49:6
What a dreary world would this be without light! And yet in a spiritual point of view, this is its natural condition, for "darkness has covered the earth, and gross darkness the people." "We walk on in darkness," and but for mercy, our end would be "blackness of darkness" forever. Under such circumstances, how pleasant it is, to find the Lord Jesus compared to a Sun, and to hear the prophets more than once speaking in the name of God say, "I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth."
Not only was he sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel — but to be God's salvation unto the ends of the earth. He came a light into the world, that he who believes on him should not walk in darkness — but should have the light of life. Blessed be God for the gift of his Son, the source of life and light. Observe,
THE GIFT. "I will also make you a light for the Gentiles."
God gives like himself, the useful rather than the ornamental. This gift was the most suitable. What so suitable to a world like this as the sun, and what so suitable to sinners as the Sun of righteousness. What the world would be without the sun — that should we be without Christ. Dark and cheerless, cold and barren, without beauty and without life. But Jesus gives light to those who sit in darkness, and life to them that are in death.
This gift is the most valuable. A thousand moons are not to be compared to one sun. So whatever God may have given us beside — health, wealth, or honor — all would be as nothing compared to Jesus. The sun alone meets the needs of the world, and Jesus alone meets the needs of the immortal soul. All we need now, and all we can need in future, is Jesus. As all light is in the sun — so all grace and glory is in Jesus. For it has pleased the Father, that in him should all fullness dwell. He is full of grace and truth. So that in giving us Jesus, God gave us a fullness of grace and truth; yes, he gave us all fullness at once.
This gift is the most durable. Al any things have worn out, and have passed away — but the sun appears to be as young, as fresh, and as full of power, as on the morning of its creation. It gives light as pure, as powerful, and as free — as when it first arose and poured its glory on paradise. Just so, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His works may perish — but he will endure; they may all was old as a garment, and as a vesture he may fold them up — but he is the same.
His merit is as fresh,
his mercy is as vast,
his grace is as powerful,
his truth is as pure,
his love is as tender, and
his sympathy is as great
— as ever they were!
Jesus ever lives. Jesus never changes. As the light, the light given of God, he is calculated to attract attention, draw away the eyes from the earth, and lead us to himself. Which leads us to,
THE DESIGN OF THIS GIFT. To enlighten the poor, dark, ignorant Gentiles who were sitting in darkness, and in the region of the shadow of death. Light is to make manifest, and this light is given to reveal to us . . .
the true nature of sin;
the danger in which we are, in consequence of sin;
the only way of escape from the wrath to come; and
the beauty of holiness.
So that perceiving the real nature of sin — we may hate it;
discovering the way of escape — we may repair to it; and
beholding the beauty of holiness — we may desire it, and seek to possess and enjoy it.
Light directs, and Jesus is given to be at once our light, guide, and way — in the light he communicates, we see; by his counsel and direction, we walk; and on him alone, as the way of salvation, we depend.
As the light, he . . .
searches our hearts,
exposes to us the evils that are around us,
cheers us in our seasons of gloom,
comforts us under all our sorrows and trials,
and purifies and makes us clean.
For these purposes Jesus was given, and from him we should expect such results. But,
ON WHOM IS THIS GIFT CONFERRED? "The Gentiles." On us. He is given to all who are in darkness and need him. To all who are in ignorance and sin, and cannot be saved without him. Now if Jesus is given to such, the gift must be of grace. And it is of grace, and of grace alone. It was entirely for their good — to make them holy and happy now, and holy and happy forever.
Reader, see your misery without Christ, you are like the world without the sun —
what mistakes you may make,
into what dangers you may run, and
what alarms and fears may torment you.
Bless God for this glorious light, this life-giving, cheering, refreshing light. Let nature's gloomy darkness, remind you of what you were; and the bright and beautiful light of the sun, of what Jesus is.
Come to this light, and you will gain a correct view of yourself.
Come to this light, and you will form a right estimate of the world, and earthly things.
Come to this light and walk in it, and you will experience all that John intends when he says, "If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son, cleanses us from all sin."