As surprising as it was to the Jews that their Messiah would come for both the Jews and Gentiles, it is clearly prophesied in the Old Testament that the Messiah would be a light to the Gentiles.
Old Testament Prophecy
Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan-
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. [Isaiah 9:1-2 NIV]
“I, the LORD , have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the Gentiles, [Isaiah 42:6 NIV]
“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant
to restore the tribes of Jacob
and bring back those of Israel I have kept.
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 NIV]
New Testament Fulfillment
Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” [Luke 2:28-32 NIV]
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” [John 8:12 NIV]
I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. [John 12:46 NIV]
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.’” When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed [Acts 13:47-48 NIV]
that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles.” [Acts 26:23 NIV]
“Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!” [Acts 28:28 NIV]
In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. [Ephesians 3:4-6 NIV]
Image courtesy of Abby Reed