Isaiah 42:1-9 | "1 Behold 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. 2 He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; 3 a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. 4 He will not grow faint or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his law. 5 Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it: 6 "I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, 7 to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. 8 I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols. 9 Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth tell you of them.""
DREW: I’d like to welcome you today for our Bible study on Isaiah chapter 42, verses 1 through 9, Jesus is the Servant. Let’s pray.
Father, we thank you so much for this time together. We pray that you would speak to us through your word. Prepare us to receive all that you have for us. In Christ’s name, amen.
“Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth and the coastlands wait for his law. Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it: “I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols. Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.”
When we think about the Lord Jesus Christ, one of the things that we think about naturally is that He was a great servant. He even said of himself, “The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve and to give himself or to give His life as a ransom for many.” When we think about Christ, in order to have a well-rounded picture of what kind of servant He was, we have to take all of scripture, the Old Testament and the New, and Isaiah chapter 42 is what is
called a servant song. There are several servant songs in the prophet Isaiah which speak about the Lord Jesus Christ some 800 years before his incarnation and ministry and this is one of the key servant songs. And what I’d like to do is begin with the point that the servant Jesus was approved by God and empowered by God for His ministry. Look at verse 1. Verse 1 says, “Behold 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.”
Three subpoints I want to draw your attention to here about the servant. The first is that the servant was pleasing to God. Look at verse 1, “Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights.” The Lord was delighted with His servant. Now, interesting that the New Testament picks this up, this same kind of language, in Matthew chapter 3 in verse 17 at Jesus’s baptism. When the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus a voice from the heavens, which was God the Father, said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” So here in Isaiah 42 God says of the servant, “in whom my soul delights,” and then at Jesus’s baptism in Matthew chapter 3, verse 17, the Father or the voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” There’s a relationship there and what it’s doing in Matthew’s Gospel is reminding us that Jesus was the servant of the Lord in Isaiah chapter 42 in verse 1. Now, what is also interesting here is if we take these verses together -- Isaiah 42:1, Matthew 3:17 -- the Lord says, “in this servant my soul delights,” and, “this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased,” and that was at the outset of Jesus’s ministry. In Matthew chapter 3, verse 17, He was -- as Luke tells us in another Gospel -- approximately 30 years of age. So before Jesus officially began His public ministry, He spent 30 years in relative obscurity and, yet, God delighted in Him and was already well pleased with Him. We’re going to come back to that when we have our discussion time, but just remember that the servant was pleasing to God.
The next subpoint is that the servant was prepared for ministry; verse 1, “I have put my Spirit upon him.” Now, that would have been God’s power for Jesus’s ministry, the power to resist temptation. When He was filled with the Spirit, the Spirit really moved Him or pushed Him into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan and empowered Him to resist the onslaught of the devil, as you remember in the next chapter in Matthew, but it was also power to proclaim the word of God. I want you to think about one thing, though. Jesus the servant received this power, the Spirit was upon Him, He had 30 years of preparation, and then He was empowered by the Holy Spirit for ministry. It wasn’t just that the Spirit came upon Him and He was empowered for ministry without any preparation; Jesus spent the first 30 years of His life preparing for the ministry that God would then empower Him for by giving Him the Spirit. Here is the crux of the matter: Preparation precedes power in ministry.
I want to ask you some questions here. What is the significance of Jesus living a life well pleasing to God before He began His public ministry?
DON: So it was important for Him to show His obedience to God prior to being given that power, so that He is, again, setting the example to all who watched Him learn and grow. I think of the story of where Mary and Joseph left Him back at the synagogue and they’re like, where is He? ‘Well, you knew where I’d be. I’m in my Father’s house. I’m teaching.
NANCY: Well, just to continue on with that, I think it’s instructional and inspirational for all of us in terms of the preparation. I mean, just having your mind and what you are doing in your life preparing you for something and this was ultimately the most important thing that anyone who has ever lived on the earth has done and so it’s inspirational, I guess, to all of us in terms of following Jesus and being obedient to God.
DREW: Good. Very good.
PENNY: I would just like to follow up with that and say that it is inspirational and I think during Jesus’s time as well, He would have been 30 to 33 before He was crucified and back then that was not considered very young. Unlike today, we think of 30, 33, you know, oh, that’s young, you’re really -- you’re just a kid, you don’t know anything. You know, you’re just about to live your life. And so I think it’s an encouragement to all of us who are reaching mid or have passed the midway life to say, you know, there’s always more God can do in our lives. There’s always more He wants to lead us to. If we’re opening ourselves up to His Holy Spirit and listening to where He is going and where He wants us to go and follow Him, He has plans for our whole life, not just the early years, but our entire life we’re here on earth.
NANCY: Yeah, that’s a great point.
DREW: I think when I think about this it’s possible for the Lord’s people to live a life well pleasing to God while in comparative obscurity. There are a lot of people today, a lot of believers, who say, well, how can I please the Lord? Well, you can walk with Him, you can fellowship with Him. Jesus wasn’t doing in the world’s eyes or even in the eyes of believers the first 30 years of His life things that were outwardly great, other than when He was 12, but it was nothing that outrageously effective or powerful at that time, yet, He was well pleasing. So people living ordinary lives can be well pleasing to the Lord. Also, there’s a great relationship there between 30 years of preparation and a very short three year ministry. We tend to think the opposite: we need to be in a public ministry for a long time. If you think about where we live, the United States of America, a lot of effective ministries are gauged or judged by their length. Well, Jesus wouldn’t have done too well by comparison; right? Now, I’m not saying that a short ministry is necessarily a good thing, but it helps to get us thinking along those lines of the relationships there. Preparation, remember, comes first and that’s when the power results.