“The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations,
and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.”
In his covenant with Abraham in Genesis 12, the Lord promises that through Abraham’s descendants, all the families of the world would be blessed. Salvation was never something to be limited to ethnic Israel – Israel was to bless the nations with the wisdom of God and his covenant presence with them. This was always the great hope of the Old Testament.
When Old Testament Israel was at her best, she reflected this hope and promise that the salvation of God would be for all nations. The prophet Isaiah echoes this in the promise of the coming age of God, in which the power and might of God would be revealed to all the nations.
From the very beginning of the New Testament, the writers call back to this theme that God’s salvation is not for Jews only but for all people. Matthew, in his gospel, makes it painstakingly clear that some of the first people to recognize Jesus as Messiah were Gentile Magi who brought him gifts fit for a king. From the very beginning of his life, Jesus was a blessing for people from every race, tribe and nation.
The savior of Jerusalem that Isaiah writes of in chapter 52 is not a savior of merely Jerusalem but a savior who starts with Jerusalem – with Israel – but extends his salvation before all nations! It is exactly the picture that we see in the ministry of Jesus and his apostles. Before his ascension, he told them to bear witness to the truth in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). That remains our call today – to spread the good news of the power and mercy of our great God.