HERE ARE THE NOTES ON ISAIAH 42. Remember, however, there is no guarantee that I will say all this or that this is all I will say.
42:1 (The Servant)
God announces his servant. The NIV loses a bit of the announcement feeling as it says simply “here is”. The NKJV and the NASB say “Behold” and the NKJV adds an exclamation point. So this is the beginning of an important announcement and God says to pay attention to it. This is what John the Baptist did in John 1:29 when he drew attention to Jesus. The NIV says “Look” and the others again say “behold”.
This servant is Jesus, the Messiah. Matthew 12:15-21 tells us this. Many Jewish commentators wrote that it referred to the Messiah. We are bound by Matthew’s commentary.
There are four of these Servant Passages in Isaiah: 42:1-9; 49:1-7; 50:4-11; 52:13-53.
Why is Jesus a servant? He was the servant of the Father in accomplishing his will toward humanity. Jesus as a boy, when his parents found him at the Temple, said in Luke 2:49 “Why did you seek me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (NKJV)
John shows this the most clearly in his gospel through the words of Jesus himself.
5:16-My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too am working.
5:43-I have come in my Father’s name…
6:57-the Living Father sent me
7:16-My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me
7:29-I am from him and he sent me
8:16-I stand with the Father who sent me
8:28-I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me
8:29-The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.
8:42-I have not come on my own; but he sent me
10:18-this command I received from my Father.
12:44-When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me.
12:49-For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.
13:20-whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.
14:10-it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work
14:31-the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has command me.
15:10-I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
16:28-I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving he world and going back to the Father.
Hebrews 2:17 tells us that he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God.
Hebrews 5:4-6 tells us that Jesus did not take the honor of become a high priest upon himself, but that God appointed him as a priest in the order of Melchizedek.
And, of course, in my favorite passage, Philippians 2:6-9, Paul tells us that Jesus took on the very nature of a servant.
Verse 1 also tells us 5 things about Christ as a servant, that God chose or elected him, he upholds, God delights in him, puts his Spirit in him, and uses him to bring justice to the nations, or Gentiles.
The Father chose the son to bring about redemption. Remember the picture in Revelation 13:8 of Jesus as the lamb slain before the foundation of the world. Israel was the human servant that did not accomplish the mission of revealing the glory of God to the world. Jesus will now accomplish the task as the God\man.
The Father delights in the Son, according to this verse. At Jesus’ baptism, the Father said he was well pleased with the Son. See Luke 3:22. He repeated these words on the mountain when Jesus was transfigured. This is recorded by Peter, who was there, in 2 Peter 1:17-18. Paul calls Jesus the one the Father loves in Ephesians 1:6.
God also said he put his Spirit into Jesus. This was manifested at Jesus’ baptism, recorded in Luke 3:22, when heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. Jesus said he was in the Father and the Father was in him.
Jesus would bring justice to the Gentiles. This is in the sense of proclaiming the gospel to the Gentiles. Jesus preached to the Samaritans and some Gentiles himself, then commanded the Apostles to do it.
(42:2) (The Quiet Man)
Some say this means Jesus would not come to quarrel or to argue (Gill). Some that he would not come in fanfare (Calvin).
(42:3) (The Gentle Savior)
There are two pictures here of people with problems and how Jesus will deal with them. First is the bruised reed. These are the weak, whether in physical strength, or the poor as in economic strength, or the emotionally fragile. Jesus will not break them. He will not deal roughly with those who are fragile, but will minister to them.
Second is the smoldering wick, those whose flame is about to go out. They struggle with belief, or are about to give up on themselves and life. Jesus will not snuff them out, remove what hope or strength they have left.
Last week we looked at Matthew12:28 where Jesus called those who are weary and burdened and promised them rest. He called himself gentle and humble. Before he fed the five thousand, he looked at the large crowd and had compassion on them and healed their sick (Matthew 14:14).
42:4 (The Unstoppable Savior)
Christ will not until he establishes justice on earth. He will not be defeated or will not be discouraged to give up. How will that happen? Micah 5 talks of the ruler who will come out of Bethlehem, whose greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. See Micah 5:4-5. Zechariah 9:10 says that His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.
It started with Jesus’ coming the first time. In Luke 4:43, Jesus said he preach the good news of the kingdom of God because that was why he was sent. Then the Apostles were to spread the message of the kingdom over all the earth. Jesus said in Matthew 24:14 that this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. So, the church will grow, expanding the kingdom over all the earth, then the Lord will return. Zechariah 14:9 says that The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name.
You could say this is a postmillennial verse. Jesus foretold a gradual increase of the kingdom of God on Earth until it was large and permeated the whole earth. Matthew captured this concept in recording two parables of Jesus in chapter 13. The parable of the mustard seed in 13:31 says that the small mustard seed will grow so large that it will become the largest tree in the garden. The parable of the yeast in 13:33 shows that Christianity will invade and permeate humanity as yeast will a dough.
In Kazakhstan, the church has grown from 10 believers to 10,000 believers in 10 years. In South Korea, Christianity has grown until it claims one third of the population (over 12 million people) and one church in Seoul has 500,000 members. Christianity is growing so fast in China, it could become the largest Christian nation by 2050. It is estimated that there are 70 million Chinese Christians in house churches. About 25,000 people per day are added to the church.
The church in Brazil is growing. 40 churches per day spring up around Rio De Janerio. 46% of Africans identify themselves as believers. Over 23% of Nigerians are now Christians, about 26 million people. In Uganda, 75% of people proclaim to be Christians.
42:5 (God Describes Himself)
God describes himself as:
1. The Creator of the heavens, as in Isaiah 40:22;
2. the Creator of earth and the plants that grow on it;
3. The giver and sustainer of life for us.
42:6-7 (The Calling of Christ)
God called Christ to his ministry and work. Just as Christ told us he came to do the Father’s work and speak the Father’s word, here the Father tells us he called Christ to his work. So we have the testimony of both of them that it is true.
The Father called the Son in righteousness. The Father is completely righteous. Psalm 11:7 says “For the Lord is righteous, he love justice; upright men will see his face.” Psalm 145:17 says “The Lord is righteous in all his ways….” Jesus, in John 17:25 called the Father “Righteous Father”. Righteousness is a character trait of God.
The Son also is righteous. 1 John 2:1 calls him the Righteous One who speaks to the Father in our defense.
In contrast, we are not righteous in our natural state. Romans 3:10 says there is no one righteous, not even one. We cannot work ourselves into righteousness, either. Romans 3:20 says that no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law. So, how can we become righteous? Romans 5:19 says that just as through the disobedience of the one man (Adam) the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man (Christ) the many will be made righteous. 1 Peter 3:18 says that “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.”
We obtain that righteousness when the Holy Spirit convicts our hearts of sin and righteousness. See John 16:7-11.
This is the message of the gospel. In Romans 1:16, Paul said: I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith.
I have one more thought on righteousness for you. Since God is, by nature, righteous, we must conform ourselves to his standard to become righteous. Since we are not by nature righteous, any attempt by us to define righteousness apart from God’s standard, or to diminish the importance of righteousness if wrong and dangerous. For example, look at Romans 10:1-4. The Israelites sought to re-define righteousness on their own terms and, as a result, were cut off from the kingdom of God. When you try to re-define the God of the Bible to suit your preferences, your failures, or your lack of belief and acceptance of God, you are in the same jeopardy.
The Father said to the Son that he would take hold of his hand and keep him, meaning that he would protect him until the time came to surrender him. This is why you read about Jesus disappearing through crowds and avoiding arrest by the Pharisees and Sadducees until the appropriate time.
Christ was to become a covenant for the people. This covenant, or agreement, exists among the Father, the Son, and the Believers. That Father commissioned the Son to come to earth, live a sinless life, and die a substitutionary death. The Father agreed to give the Son people who would believe in him, and to give the Son authority to give eternal live to those believers eternal life. The Father also promised to raise him to life and restore him to glory. The Son has agreed that, if we believe on him, he will give us this eternal life. We see this spelled out in the prayer of Jesus contained in John 17:1-5.
Jesus also would be a light for the Gentiles. No longer would God deal primarily with the Israelites. Instead, he would reach some from all races and form them into this new people, the church. Jesus said in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
When the Church, the body of Christ, spreads the gospel, it becomes part of the fulfillment of this verse. Paul applied it to himself and Barnabas in Acts 13:44-48.
Verse 7 tells us that Jesus will also bring understanding and release from bondage. He would not only cure physical blindness, as he did on many occasions, but he would cure spiritual blindness. The Gentiles had lived in blindness for a long time, worshipping idols and Pagan deities. Romans 1:21 speaks of us and our ancestors this way: for although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Only Jesus brings the light of understanding to the heart of sinful men and women.
42:8-9 (God’s Declaration Of Himself)
God declares himself here, giving his name and some truths about himself. He gives his name, YHWH, the Tetragramaton, rendered in most bibles as LORD in all caps. The Jews considered this name sacred and would not normally say it. We came up with the word “Jehovah” for it.
Then God tells us a wonderful thing about himself. You should underline this in red in your bible. He said “I will not give my glory to another.” God does not share his glory with men, women, or idols. When you seek glory for what God has done, you run counter to this truth and you do so at your peril. For an example, see Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4:28-37.
God is also the only one who knows the past and the future. He proclaims the future because he knows it. He knew Israel would return from captivity because he ordained it. He knew Christ would come because he ordained it. He knows Christ will come again and gather us to him, for he ordained it.
42:10-13 (Praise The Lord)
Isaiah gives the command to sing and praise God. No one is exempt. We should sing, shout, give glory, and proclaim his praise. We have a new song because God has brought salvation to us in Christ. God is mighty and will triumph over all. [Sing the doxology]