by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
I. Several passages in the later part of Isaiah discuss the role that a person, referred to as “My Servant” would accomplish on behalf of God.
A. As we read through the passages, we need to keep in mind that Isaiah was written before the Babylonian captivity – over 700 years before Jesus walked on this earth.
B. Remember this as we consider the details of these prophecies.
II. Isaiah 42:1-4
A. It is not the mighty rulers and kings whom God upholds, chooses, delights in, or puts his spirit upon.
B. God has selected a servant.
1. When Jesus was baptized, God proclaimed his pleasure - Matthew 3:17
2. Latter in Jesus’ ministry, God continued his support - Matthew 17:5
C. God sent the Spirit upon Jesus - John 1:32-34
1. Jesus confirmed what was witnessed - Luke 4:18-19
D. After healing a man on the Sabbath, the Pharisees plotted to kill Jesus - Matthew 12:14-21
1. Jesus withdrew rather than confront the Pharisees at this time.
2. Many followed and were healed.
3. Despite his popularity, Jesus asked for anonymity.
4. Jesus was looking to rule the people but to serve them. He did not come in the form of a conqueror.
E. Jesus had compassion on the people - Matthew 9:36
1. He did not crush men who stood in his way, nor did he quench the zeal of those around him - Matthew 11:28-30
2. What a contrast to the rulers of Jesus’ day and even unto today
a. Matthew 23:2-4 - They burden those they rule.
F. He would face difficulties that would not overcome him - Isaiah 42:4
G. His mission was to reach the Gentiles with justice - Isaiah 42:2
1. In Matthew 12:21 - It said the Gentiles (the coastlands) would find hope in Jesus
2. As prophecies to Abraham, all nations would be blessed through the Messiah - Genesis 22:18
III. Isaiah 49:1-10
A. These verses are presented from the view of God’s servant.
B. As in the previous, the Gentiles are called to listen - Isaiah 49:1, 6
C. To simply restore Israel was too small of a task for this servant
1. A portion of Israel would be restored (saved) - Romans 11:1-7
2. He was to be a light to the nations
a. It started as a light to Israel - Matthew 4:12-17
b. But it was a light that shone to all men - John 1:4-5, 9
D. Notice in Isaiah 49:8 that the servant would be given as a covenant for the people - Matthew 26:26-29
1. This implied the establishment of a new covenant - Hebrews 9:16
2. The Old Covenant was established with the death of animals - Hebrews 9:19-20
3. The New Covenant was established by Christ’s own blood - Hebrews 10:9-10
E. Again we are given hints that the Servant’s way would not be easy
1. Isaiah 49:4, 7 - He labored apparently for nothing. He was despised and abhorred.
2. When Jesus cast out demons, the people in the region asked him to move on - Matthew 8:28-34
3. While he taught, the religious leaders scoffed at him - Luke 16:14
4. He was taunted even as he was being killed - Mark 15:29-32
F. All would be done at a favorable time - Isaiah 49:8
1. At the fullness of time, God sent his son - Galatians 4:3-5
2. God knew exactly what He was doing. The perfect time was selected. Now is the time for salvation - II Corinthians 6:1-2
IV. Isaiah 50:4-10
A. All servants of God have faced difficulties in accomplishing their mission. God’s special servant would be no different.
B. He would face difficulties, but he would not be deterred.
1. He would not run like Jonah - Jonah 1:3
2. He would remain obedient - Hebrews 5:7-9
3. It was Jesus who taught us to rejoice in persecution - Matthew 5:10-12
C. The persecution was not just in words, but in physical beatings - Matthew 26:67-68; 27:26-31
D. Endurance was given to God’s servant because God was with him.
1. Ultimately he was vindicated when God raised him from the dead - Romans 1:3-4
V. The longest discussion of God’s servant appears in Isaiah 52:13-53:12
A. The number of details concerning the life of Christ and his death is staggering.
B. God’s servant is a study in contrasts
1. He would be highly exalted - Isaiah 52:13
2. And yet despised - Isaiah 53:3
3. He would astonish the people - Isaiah 52:14; Matthew 7:28-29
4. Yet his appearance would be marred - Isaiah 52:14; 53:2-5; Psalm 22:6-8
5. His words would stop the mouths of kings - Isaiah 52:15; Matthew 22:46
6. But he would not speak in his own defense - Isaiah 53:7; John 19:6-11
7. He would be cut off - Isaiah 53:8
8. Yet he would live long and see his offspring - Isaiah 53:10; Romans 6:9-10; Romans 8:29; Ephesians 1:5
9. He would be great, but numbered with the transgressors - Isaiah 53:12; Mark 15:27-28; Philippians 2:7-9
VI. Jesus was God’s servant, who came to serve and though his service has come to rule
A. He came that you and I might gain the riches of salvation - II Corinthians 8:9
B. Will you not accept Jesus this day as your Savior and obey God’s Servant?