Jesus – The Servant of the Lord

Reading Time: 6 Minutes

Matthew quoted the first four verses of Isaiah 42 to present Jesus as the fulfillment of God’s promise to give the world a perfect Servant (See Matthew 12.15-21).

The Servant Song of Isaiah is truly good news. The greatest news is that Jesus fulfilled this mission perfectly.

Isaiah wrote,

Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations.

He will not cry or lift up his voice,
or make it heard in the street;

A bruised reed he will not break,
and a dimly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.

He will not grow faint or be crushed
until he has established justice in the earth;
and the coastlands wait for his teaching.
(Isaiah 42.1-4)

The Servant’s Work

If we take Isaiah’s job description of the Servant in one hand and examine the life of Jesus with the other, we will discover a powerful picture of God’s Servant.

The Matthew 12 quotation of the Servant Song is bracketed by the healing of a man with a withered hand and the deliverance of someone who was oppressed by demons. (Matthew 12.9-14, 22-32).

Jesus’ compassion toward these two men is a living picture of Isaiah’s song.

A bruised reed he will not break,
and a dimly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.
(Isaiah 42.3)

A man with a withered hand and a blind and mute man were not valued members of society. Instead of ignoring them, Jesus healed them in the face of criticism by the religious authorities.

The healing of these two men was not an isolated event. It was a daily occurrence in Jesus’ life. Matthew wrote, “Many crowds followed him, and he cured all of them” (Matthew 12.15).

I told a friend today that I could never imagine attending another church except for Maywood Baptist. On any given Sunday there are many “bruised reeds” and “burning wicks” in attendance.

We frequently see Jesus set people free from their “demons” of addiction and crime. Healing in many different forms is a regular occurrence, too.

Servant Jesus uses many other servants to make this possible. Most often, it is not the paid clergy who do the ministry. It happens as one of my favorite saying, “One beggar telling another beggar where the bread is.”

The Servant and Justice

The Servant is expected to bring justice to the world. Three times in four verses, justice is highlighted.

Verse 1He will bring forth justice to the nations.

Verse 3 He will faithfully bring forth justice.

Verse 4 He has established justice in the earth.

The religious authorities operated with one form of justice when it came to the man with the withered hand (Matthew 12.9-10). Like many powerful people, their concept of justice benefited them and kept the poor in their place.

Jesus’ definition of justice began in the heart. He said, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice” (Matthew 12.7).

The effect of Jesus’ justice was to bring well-being to two men. His actions fully restored their bodies and social and religious relationships.

Jesus’ justice mission was fully operative with the cross and the resurrection. There he conquered his enemies by making them his friends.

Jesus displayed creative justice towards us all. When we enter into a relationship with him, he forgives our guilt and creates a new inner self for us.

Paul described the process like this: “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!

“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation;

“That is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us” (2 Corinthians 5.17-19).

Empowered by the Spirit

Jesus served in the power of the Spirit. Isaiah prophesied this and wrote, “I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations” (Isaiah 42.1).

When Jesus was baptized by John, Matthew reported their conversation.

“Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him.

“John would have prevented him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’

“But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.’

Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.

“And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.'” (Matthew 3.13-17).

Each element of Jesus’ baptism connects to what Isaiah promised 700 years previously.

— Jesus had to fulfill the prophecy about the Servant of the Lord in Isaiah 42.

— He was empowered by the Spirit for his life of service.

— The Father’s blessing on his Son is very similar to Isaiah’s declaration that the servant would be “My chosen, in whom my soul delights” (Isaiah 42.1).

As we read Isaiah, we will realize that Jesus is the Servant of the Lord, but that we are also servants. Just as Jesus brought God’s justice to people, so can we. Just as Jesus was empowered by the Holy Spirit for his ministry, so are we.

About This Blog

Rudy Ross and I produce a daily video of these blog articles on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel. Rudy is Jewish, a Christian, and an excellent Bible student. The videos present insights from a dialogue with the two of us.

I am indebted to Dr. John Oswalt, who has written an excellent two-volume commentary on Isaiah for insights into the Book of Isaiah.

Please email your prayer requests to me at bsprad49@gmail.com or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood Baptist Church prayer team will pray for you.

2 Comments

  1. I like how bob can bring people with different back grounds together to get the news of our best friend, Jesus to people.
    You really have to appreciate how Rudy can bring the new testament into the old,
    Thank you both for taking the time to do this.

    Liked by 1 person

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