In today’s reading a verses 46 and 47 struck me as interesting. These verses read, “Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: "We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. For this is what the Lord has commanded us: "'I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'" Let’s take a closer look.
The phrase do not consider yourselves worthy is not only interesting, but curious. One can hardly imagine synagogue Jews thinking of themselves as unworthy of eternal life. Perhaps we should see here just a bit of Pauline irony which might be paraphrased, "You Jews, who always consider yourselves righteous, now apparently do not think you are sufficiently righteous to take advantage of God's gift; so we'll offer it to the Gentiles and see what they say." The idea of inherent self-righteousness driving out God's righteousness is hardly new; this common spiritual disease afflicted the Pharisees.
Luke made an interesting transition and application in the use of Isaiah 49:6. Israel was to be the light for the Gentiles; but, since it never fulfilled that role, God sent Jesus to become his real servant and carry out that mission. Now Paul and Barnabas, servants of Jesus, have inherited the mantel and become the light.
In today’s world we are called to be the light – to spread the word of Jesus. How are you doing in this aspect of your life? It is helpful to me to be reminded of this calling. I hope I can be that light for others.
Wishing you much success in your walk with Christ,