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Easter 2009 (Jesus in the Old Testament) – Isaiah 42 The Servant of the LORD March 22, 2009

Posted by roberttalley in Isaiah, Jesus, Promises of God, Prophets, Religion, Sermons.
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JESUS, THE SERVANT (Isaiah 42:1-9)

The LORD God Father wants your attention on His Chosen Servant, Jesus Christ. It is important to identify who this Servant is. There are several reasons why we know that this passage is speaking of Jesus Christ.

1. First, the Servant here must be the Messiah. In Isaiah, sometimes the nation of Israel is called God’s Servant but in verse 6, we find that the Servant is given to Israel as a covenant. That is, ultimately who the Messiah is, the one through whom the various covenants, which God made with Israel through Abraham and Moses and David, will be fulfilled. Since it is clear that this passage is talking about the Messiah, it remains to us to determine if Jesus fulfills this prophecy, is he the Servant, the Messiah; and, secondly, to understand what His task as the Servant involves.

2. Verse 1 prophesies Jesus’ baptism. Although the actual baptism is not predicted in the Old Testament, the events surrounding His baptism are in this passage. When Jesus came up out of the water, a voice from heaven proclaimed, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased,” that is, the one in whom I delight, and then the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove came upon Jesus. First, the Father identified Him as His well-pleasing Servant and then anointed Jesus with His Spirit. Anointing was a way of identification of a prophet or a priest or a king. It is a way of setting them apart for specific service. It was usually done with an olive oil mixture. With Jesus it was a bit different. Jesus was identified by the Father as His well-pleasing Servant, better known to us as the Messiah, the Christ, and then was anointed by the Holy Spirit as the Servant at His baptism.

I. Jesus, the Servant will establish justice on this earth (verses 1, 3-4). We often think only in terms of personal salvation when we think of the work of Christ, but there is much more involved. Jesus came and will come to establish justice on this earth. Psalm 37:1, 7, 12, 14, 21, 35 describes for us the injustice that presently reigns on this earth. During these hard economic times we are constantly hearing of those who take advantage of others. Some are caught and brought to justice but many are not. What is God’s answer to the injustices of the world. It is not natural disaster nor is it cataclysmic financial disaster that will bring justice into the world. God will one day take things in hand through His Servant, Jesus Christ, the Messiah, who will bring justice to the earth. God’s law will be established on this earth.

A. He will not be swayed in His task (verse 2-4). These verses describe again the first coming of Christ. We find them quoted in Matthew 12:14-21. Jesus did not enlist others as testimonials of His greatness. He does not walk through the streets proclaiming Himself as God’s gift to mankind. Rather we find that His task as the Messiah involves preaching truth and righteousness and mercy and repentance and the kingdom of God. The God of the universe, who needs no humility, exhibits humility in His life here on earth.

We have in verses 3-4 a beautiful picture of Jesus character. The picture is this:

He will not break a bruised reed.

He will not quench the last embers of a little flax fire.

He will bring justice for truth.

His fire will not go out.

His spirit will not be bruised.

Until justice is established.

Jesus truly was meek and lowly. The common people, the oppressed, the sick and hurting heard Jesus gladly. He did not oppress them. He did not side with the rulers who oppressed His people. Yet it appears that Jesus’ death on the cross was a failure. Justice did not appear on the earth with His crucifixion nor with His resurrection. He is, however, coming back and when He does, justice will be established on this earth.

B. He will be welcomed by many (verses 4, 6-7). Verse four describes the hope of the coastlands, that is, the nations of the earth. While it is true that most if not all nations will be set against God when He returns to this earth, there will be those scattered throughout the world who will looking for His coming. He is, after all, there only hope. This group of people is described for us in Revelation 15:1-4. Many of them will be martyred for their faith. Others will be thrown in prison or left destitute and homeless because of their faith in Christ but they will be victorious in Christ Jesus. The servant is their hope. He is not, however, just the hope of those believers among the nations at the end of time.

The Servant is the hope of Israel because He fulfills the covenant God has made with them (verse 6). Jesus refers to this when He instituted the Lord’s Supper. Jesus said, “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” In other words, this covenant that God originally made with Israel through Abraham, Moses, and David is ultimately made possible through the death of Christ. Romans 11:26-27 quotes Isaiah 59:20-21and makes it clear that ethnic Israel will be saved through their Deliverer but this deliverance will be deliverance from sin. Now I am convinced from the Old Testament prophecies and from the book of Revelation that national, ethnic Israel will receive their promised land when Jesus returns to this earth but their deliverance from their physical enemies is a secondary part of their covenant. The Jews will, when the Servant returns to this earth, turn to their Messiah, to their Christ, they will renew their covenant through their faith in Jesus Christ. Now Jews can do this now. They do not have to wait until Christ the Servant, the Deliverer returns to trust. The Jewish person can trust Christ now and if and when he or she does, they immediately enter into the covenant with which God has made with the Jews through Abraham, Moses, David and has brought into fruition through Jesus Christ. There is, however, coming a day when the nation of ethnic Jews will turn to Christ.

The servant brings light to those Gentiles in darkness (verses 1, 6-7). They are in darkness for two reasons.

First, they were originally outside of the covenant that God had made with Israel (verse 6b). The Servant’s light is not limited to the Jews. Repeatedly, Old and New Testaments tell us that He brings light to all humankind. Simeon, when Jesus was just eight days old in Luke 2:32 identifies Jesus as “(a) light to bring revelation to the Gentiles.”

They were imprisoned in darkness, they could not help themselves. The Gentiles, because they did not know the God of Israel lived in the prison of darkness. They were in total darkness. This world is in darkness. Jesus brings light. This world is full of injustice. In Christ there is justice and righteousness and truth and law. As with the Jews, this will happen when Jesus the Servant returns to the earth but also like the Jew we do not have to wait to be released from our darkness.

I was hopeless and helpless in darkness and that is the situation of every person born, Jew and Gentile. There is, however, light. The Servant was executed for a covenant to Israel and for a light to us. It is Jesus, the Servant who establishes the covenant with the people of God as well as the Bringer of Light who brings out the prisoners of darkness into light and He does both of these through His death, burial, and resurrection.

II. Jesus, the Servant is guaranteed success by the LORD God.

A. The guarantee is based on God’s sustaining power (verses 1, 4-6). In verses 1 and 6 we have God’s promise that He will uphold, sustain, and keep the Messiah. Verse 4 tells how long God will keep that promise. Verse 5 God reminds us that His creative power, the power that gives you and I life and breath is the power that sustains His servant. Now this may not seem very important to us but it was vitally important to those looking for the Messiah. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by Satan, the second temptation recorded by Matthew had Satan taking Jesus to the pinnacle of the Temple. Satan said, “Let’s assume you are the Son of God, the Messiah. God has promised to protect the Messiah. The Psalms say that the angels will keep you from being hurt. Jump off this building and prove your Messiahship by fulfilling this prophecy.” Jesus answer was this, “The Law commands us not to tempt God.” Yet it is important for us to understand that even Satan Himself recognized that God had promised to protect His servant.

B. The guarantee is based on God’s righteous calling (verses 1 and 6). We have already seen how that God has confirmed the choosing and calling of His Servant. This calling is also the guarantee that the Servant will accomplish the work that He was sent and will be sent to do.

C. The guarantee is based on God’s unique position (verses 5 and 8). There is no god like our God. He is the Creator. He is unique in His position, which He shares with no other. Because there is no one like Him, He can guarantee the success of His Servant.

D. The guarantee is based on Gods’ past record (verse 9). Isaiah points out, God has kept His promises in the past, He will keep these also. We being further down the timeline can see how God fulfilled some of these prophecies during the life of Jesus Christ. We can rest assured that He will fulfill what remains in the future. More importantly this morning is the assurance we can have that if we put our faith and trust in Christ, He will save us.

Do you want to be free from the slavery of darkness and sin? Do you desire a future where true justice reigns? Do you want Christ to serve you? It is possible through faith in Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection.

NEXT WEEK: JESUS, THE SERVANT SUFFERS (Isaiah 52:13-53:12)

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