God so loved the world that He became a part of it.
Christianity is not an ethereal, eternal doctrine about God’s nature, but rather it is the presence of God in the world in the person of Jesus Christ.
What had never before entered the imagination of man, assumed flesh and blood, who solved the deepest problems of our existence through His life and work.
Some years ago, the dean of St. Paul’s in London was invited to write a Life of Christ for a series of handbooks by a well-known firm, and sent his answer on a post card to this effect: “As there are no materials for a life of Christ, I regret that I cannot comply with your request.”
Yet, though we lack a thorough biography of Jesus, we don’t feel as if we do not know Him. What has been related concerning Him, which amounts to something around sixty-days, is clearly more than sufficient.
GAL 4:4 But when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,
GAL 4:5 in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
The birth of Jesus was as obscure as anyone’s birth could be, and His days were not passed in a blaze of world publicity. He spent His life in a remote and unimportant province of the Empire. He did not court the attention of the world, and only three years at the end of His life was public. He concentrated His activity on the Jews in Palestine (the name given by the Romans). Yet, this place was a hub of trade from east to west. It was the perfect location from which to send out a message/messengers to the ends of the earth.
Palestine was also a center of great migrations of people from all directions. One of these migrants was a man named Abraham to whom was promised, “In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
About 500 years later Joshua conquered the Promised Land and about 300 years after that, under king David, it gained its greatest expanse. And through all this time God continued to send revelation, warning, and encourage within God’s message of eternal victory and faithfulness to His promised covenants, in a word, the conquering of all enemies by means of a fairly mysterious King, i.e. the big picture.
DEU 18:18 'I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.
ISA 7:14 "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.
ISA 7:15 "He will eat curds and honey at the time He knows enough to refuse evil and choose good.
ISA 9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
ISA 9:7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.
ISA 11:1 Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse,
And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.
ISA 11:2 And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of counsel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
ISA 11:3 And He will delight in the fear of the Lord,
And He will not judge by what His eyes see,
Nor make a decision by what His ears hear;
ISA 11:4 But with righteousness He will judge the poor,
And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth;
And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth,
And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.
ISA 11:5 Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins,
And faithfulness the belt about His waist.
Upon Christ’s shoulders was the responsibility to be the faithful servant of Yavah. Not one man in all of history was able to do it besides Him.
MAR 1:11 "Thou art My beloved Son, in Thee I am well-pleased."
In Jesus’ time, Psa 2 was interpreted Messianically.
"I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord:
He said to Me, 'Thou art My Son,
Today I have begotten Thee.
“Thou art My Son” - You are the Messiah.
Directly after this announcement, after the Holy Spirit descends upon Him (ISA 42:1), the Spirit leads Him in the wilderness where the devil tempts Him three times in which the devil begins by claiming, “If you are the Son of God,” a direct challenge to the announcement made by God.
“In You I am well-pleased” is ISA 42:1 = His calling will be fulfilled as the suffering Servant.
The Father confirms Him as Messiah and then uses ISA 42:1, the opening of the first Servant Song (ISA 42:1-4) to make clear that His calling was to be fulfilled in that prophecy as the suffering Servant who was the hope of Israel and Gentiles alike.
In chapter 41 God says “Behold” the idol-gods and the idolaters, and now “Look at My Servant.”
The first and the last of the four Servant Songs begin with a command to “See.” It is a command to watch Him carry out the work committed to Him by the Father.
ISA 42:1 "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.
ISA 42:2 "He will not cry out or raise His voice,
Nor make His voice heard in the street.
ISA 42:3 "A bruised reed He will not break,
And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish;
He will faithfully bring forth justice.
In vs. 1 we met the quintessential Servant and now we find the quintessential service. The is exemplified perfectly in the Lord Jesus Christ. His service is unostentatious and unself-advertising.
We would conclude that truth and pure service permeates all and it doesn’t need amplification or help. It doesn’t need the added impulse of shouting, advertising, or marketing. Hence, a quiet, unaggressive, unthreatening ministry is proper to the truth and service of God.
The bruised reed and the burning wick represent the frail and weak. He will not burden them. He did not come to earth looking for the strong. He showed us all that we’re all weak, frail, and alone.
ISA 42:4 "He will not be disheartened or crushed,
Until He has established justice in the earth;
And the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law."
ISA 49:1 Listen to Me, O islands,
And pay attention, you peoples from afar.
The Lord called Me from the womb;
From the body of My mother He named Me.
Then a cloud formed, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud, "This is My beloved Son, listen to Him!"
The Servant addresses the world as only the Lord would address them. Would that Israel had seen this and wondered if this promised Servant had an as yet undisclosed relationship with Yavah Elohim.
ISA 49:2 And He has made My mouth like a sharp sword;
In the shadow of His hand He has concealed Me,
And He has also made Me a select arrow;
He has hidden Me in His quiver.
Preparation for a chosen target, both near (sword) and far (arrow).
ISA 49:3 And He said to Me, "You are My Servant, Israel,
In Whom I will show My glory."
Israel (ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom) are in exile. They are not capable at the moment of living up to what it means to be Israel. Either the Lord must acquiesce in failure of His plans and promises or He must find a true and worthy Israel.
The Servant claims to be Israel, and to be in His own person the Lord’s covenant (vs. 8) and salvation (vs. 6) - not just to be the preacher or revealer of these things, but to actually be them Himself. This Servant is much, much more than any prophet or king ever was. The statement “I will show My glory,” is unique here in that it is used for a singular person and not for what God does for the nation (plural). This is never of any other prophet, or individual, or to Israel. It is a unique thing said to a unique person. He is life, faithfulness, fulfillment, power, and salvation; and He is a man and God who has given these things freely to His brethren. Explaining Him fully is like pouring the ocean into a bucket.
ISA 49:4 But I said, "I have toiled in vain,
I have spent My strength for nothing and vanity;
Yet surely the justice due to Me is with the Lord,
And My reward with My God."
No one seems to be responding to the mission that the Servant is accomplishing, and if He remained with that thought alone, He would have fallen into depression and despondency, but He decides to defer to the Lord’s wisdom.
His serving seems like a waste of effort, but He turns from His own perception and rests in the Father who called and appointed Him.
"Reward" is the outcome of His work. He sees nothing coming out of His effort, but it is not for Him to decide. As the called Servant he has been faithful in laboring and spending Himself, now it is for the Lord to bring what fruit He will out of it all.
Resting faith is the answer to despondency.
In Gethsemane, our Lord’s distress was concerning the impending next few hours. What Isaiah has foreseen here is the moments that we see in the gospels when the Lord faced ill-minded rejection, blind unbelief, prejudice and misunderstanding; when people and disciples were caught up in the glamor of signs and wonders, and the primary task of preaching was threatened; when He cried:
“O unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you, and put up with you?”
When He could only sigh over continuing failure to understand:
“Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet see or understand?”
And when He foresaw the falling away of the inner group:
“You will all fall away, because it is written, 'I will strike down the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.'”
This same experience was certainly diffused throughout our Lord’s entire life. Isaiah encapsulates it in one moment, and we must learn the lesson well, we must be faithful in labor and in sacrificing as servants of the Lord, but it is the Lord’s decision as to what fruit will be brought from it, and we rest in Him. Resting faith is the answer to despondency.
Thus Isaiah saw a Servant with a real human nature, tested like we are and proving Himself to be the author and perfecter of the way of faith, a real, personal faith that can still say “My God” when nothing seems to be worthwhile.