Isaiah 49:5-15

            Restoration is a major theme in the prophetic books of the Old Testament.  In this passage of Isaiah, God speaks of bringing Israel back to her original calling and purpose.  This would be accomplished through not just one nation but in the Messiah.  The scope and vision of what the Savior would do is enunciated by God:  “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

            In other words, Messiah is not just for Israel – Christ is given to reach the entire planet.  Jesus did not come to earth only to gather the Jewish nation back together like some sort of Bill Gaither Homecoming tour.  Instead, Messiah’s place and power is so significant that it is to be shared with everyone in the world.  Although Israel was to be a holy entity and separate from the surrounding culture, they were always to be a light to the nations.

            This has great import for the church and every individual believer in Jesus.  The church is not just to be like a country club that caters to club functions and members.  Instead, a missional understanding of church is to be at the forefront of Christian theology and practice because it has always been God’s vision to reach the nations.  The Lord is not satisfied with only catering to a specific people; God wants everyone.  And until believers grasp this heart of God for all persons the church will not be what it is designed to be:  a missionary enterprise that is to put all its resources into shining the light of Christ to every nook and cranny of creation.

            It behooves each of us, then, to be taught, trained, and led into God’s missionary heart for all.  Let us build caring relationships and extend loving actions not just to those within the church but toward those outside our fellowship so that God’s intentions are carried out and his prophecy fulfilled in Jesus’ name.

            Restoring God, you bring us back to close relation and fellowship so that we might extend your gracious purposes throughout the world.  Revive us again, God, so that we can hear your call to the nations through our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

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