01/03/2010

The Servant chosen

The Servant Chosen Isaiah 42:1-4 -
Introduction
During Lent we are going to be looking at four passages from Isaiah known as the Servant songs.
They are always worth looking at but they have a particular importance during Lent. It is during this
period that Jesus reflects upon, amongst other things, the nature of his forthcoming ministry. During that wilderness period, passages like these, as they have a prophetic nature, must have been in his mind.
Towards the end of that period, Satan comes to tempt him suggesting that there is a better and
quicker way to gain followers Luke 4: 6-7. As we know, Jesus resolutely rebuked him, citing other passages that helped him to keep his mind focused as to what he really had to be about Luke 4:8, Luke 4:12.


The question is, how did the Servant songs come to be and how have they been seen?

First, in and around Isaiah's time and that of the Babylonian Exile some couple of centuries later
these passages would have had some kind of fulfillment. Isaiah did not speak into a vacuum;
neither was he trying to predict the future in the commonly accepted sense of that. He saw the
nation and its spiritual state for what it was. He knew God had said that disobedience to him would
result in them being deprived of the land of promise, Joshua 23:16
Alongside that, Isaiah and his fellow prophets were people open to and listening to the Lord and as a result of that, delivered his word in encouragement and judgement.

These songs tie into that whole scenario.

Secondly, before the time of Jesus, and since from those who do not accept him as Messiah, attempts
are made to see other people or even the nation of Israel itself as being the object of these passages.
In Jesus though they have a supreme fulfillment and Matthew applies today's passage to Jesus and says
it is fulfilled in him (Matthew 12:17) However it is fair to say that through him there are aspects in which they
are also applicable to his people as his servants. We can therefore be challenged, encouraged and stimulated
regarding the nature and mind of ourselves as servants of the Lord.
Serving the Lord - vv 1a & 6a
Servants in bible times:
– equalled slave
– were essentially the 'goods' of their owner
– the owner could treat them as he saw fit, but often they were seen as an important part of the household
– had no choice about being obedient and disobedience could lead to death
But as we look at the Lord's servant we see it is theserving of a partnership:
– there is a balance between 'servant' and 'uphold'
– the Lord has delight in him
– walks hand in hand with him - 6a
– he also enables him with the Spirit - v 1
Serving People - vv 2-3
Here we have a small context of the servants operation:
– does not shout to be heard - v 2
– always leaves room for hope and so change and growth - v 3a
Serving Nations - vv 1b, 4 & 6b-7
The 'work' of this servant is also far reaching:
– nations - vv 1b & 3b
– islands (continents?) - v 4b
– whole earth and with specific mention of the Gentiles (none Jews) - vv 4a & 6b
The 'work' of the servant is specific:
– to bring justice - v 1b
– hope through his law - v 4c
– releasing people from various kinds of bondage - v 7
Jesus the Servant
Filled with the spirit - cp his conception and baptism
Always concerned to do the father's will but much reflects partnership and relationship cp John 10:30

He was gentle yet straight in his dealings with those to whom he ministered.
His work is universal
– justice flows from the cross for all
– hope is through salvation - new life, freedom and resurrection
– he saw it through despite the cost
– reaches right round the globe
'Me' the Servant
Consider from the above where and how we can fit into this.
Rev. S. A.

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