"Behold My Servant"

by Ted Kyle

Communion Series

"Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth…He shall not fail nor be discouraged till he have set judgment in the earth…[I] give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison…" (Is. 42:1,4, 6).

The 42nd chapter of Isaiah is a startling mix of prophecies: It starts with a wondrous announcement of the future coming of God's Anointed One, but it ends with a dire warning of fire already on the walls of a sleeping city, which will not heed the watchmen's warning.

There is so much in this chapter to delight the child of God: For example, God's promise that His Anointed Servant (who was revealed in the New Testament as Jesus Christ, the Son of God) would never cease His work until "he have set judgment in the earth" (v. 4). What a comfort to us, as we sadly survey the world around us and see that it seems even more estranged from our God and Savior than it did in Isaiah's time, some 700 years before Jesus left His home in glory to bring hope to the world.

True enough, the world rejected His message, just as it rejected Him, and though there are no more "graven images" in our modern culture, our more "sophisticated" idolatry is even more prevalent than were the images in the younger world. But our Lord has merely moved His work behind the scenes, so to speak. He works not only through His servants on earth, but He also works in heaven; and the result of His works will one day be apparent to all, when He comes to claim His throne at the start of His millennial reign. (Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus, come soon!)

Then, His Father gave Him as a "covenant of the people" (v. 6)-God's new covenant, foretold by Jeremiah (Jer. 31:31-33), announced by our Lord Himself as He proclaimed at His farewell dinner with His disciples (1 Cor. 11:25): "This cup is the new testament (covenant) in my blood." This covenant in our Savior's blood is our covenant. It is God's agreement to forgive guilty sinners who come to Him pleading the blood of His Son. Small wonder that we celebrate Communion! What a mighty sacrifice Jesus made for us, when He consecrated the cross of judgment by hanging upon it as the Lamb of God!

But if this voice of the prophet offers us "oil of joy" (Is. 61:3) for our sadness, it closes with a tragic statement about those who spurn God's offer of forgiveness through His Son: "It hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew not; and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart" (42:25). Can anything describe our world more accurately? The fire burns-God's judgments fall thick and fast-yet the hard of heart will not seek understanding and wisdom from their Maker.

Let us rejoice that we have been called "out of darkness, into his marvelous light" (1 Pet. 2:9). And let us pray for those around us who are still in darkness.