It has been well said that Israel left Egypt, but Egypt never left Israel. Perhaps the same could be said regarding Babylon. Though Israel would ultimately leave Babylon and return home to Jerusalem, their real need was to return to the Lord (Isa. 49:22). This need sets the stage generally for Isaiah 49-55 and specifically for the second Servant Song, found in Isaiah 49:1- 13. In two sections Jehovah reveals the cause (1- 6) and result (7-13) of the Servant’s mission. He will speak, and He will save.
An announcement for all people to hear (49:1) reveals that the Servant will be God’s spokesman. He will speak His Word (49:2), and in so doing, will provide salvation for Jacob (49:5) and the Gentiles (49:6). His actions will glorify Jehovah (49:3) and yet, sadly, He will encounter the difficulty and pain of rejection in His task (49:4). Though despised, He will be exalted (49:7) because He will restore, liberate, and transform (49:8-9). He will lead, provide, and protect His people (49:9-10), and though many will try, no one will be able to stop Him (Isa. 49:11-12).
The New Testament references this context and applies it to the work of Christ in no less than 3 passages. Upon seeing the child, Jesus, Simeon proclaimed, “For my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of Your people Israel” (Luke 2:30-32). Jesus referenced the passage in commissioning Paul to go to the Gentiles to “open their eyes in order to turn them from darkness to light” (Acts 26:18), and Paul quoted Isaiah 49:6 in his monumental announcement to the Jews in Antioch, “Behold, we turn to the Gentiles!”
Jesus the Christ, Jehovah’s Servant, took on flesh (John 1:14) to be God’s spokesman and to make salvation possible for all. He accomplished that task (cf. Eph. 1:7; Heb. 1:1-3).