Dr. S. Lewis Johnson expounds the passage of Isaiah's prophecy which details the servanthood of the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ.
[Prayer] Before we begin our study, let bow together in a word of prayer. Father, we thank Thee again for the opportunity to open the word of God. We thank Thee for this great book of Isaiah written hundreds of years before the time of Jesus Christ, that which so wonderfully portrays aspects of his life and ministry. And we thank Thee for the way in which he has so wonderfully fulfilled these things and has given us through this the assurance that this is the word of God that we are studying, and above all, has through his saving life and death brought us to know the only true God.
And we pray Lord that the truths that we know may not be simply truths that we possess for ourselves but may O God, they have a missionary appeal to us and may we go forth and share them with other who need to know them. We commit this hour of study to Thee and pray that we may be guarded by the Holy Spirit of God as we study.
For Jesus sake, Amen.
[Message] Now we have come to the 42nd chapter and the subject for tonight is “The Servant of Jehovah, the Covenant of the People, and the Light of the Gentiles.” And let’s begin tonight by reading a few of the verses of the 42nd chapter. Let me read verses one through seven.
“Behold my servant, whom I uphold, mine elect, in whom My soul delighteth. (This of course is the statement that the Holy Spirit, or that the Father uses at the baptism.) This is my beloved son and whom I’m well pleased, in whom my soul delighteth. I have put my spirit upon him; he shall bring forth justice or judgment to the nations or heathen. He shall not cry nor lift up nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break and the smoking flax shall he not quench. He shall bring forth judgment and truth. He shall not fail, nor be discouraged till he have set judgment in the earth and the costs or the isles shall wait for his law.
Thus saith God, the Lord, He who created the heavens and stretched them out, He who spread forth the earth and that which cometh out of it. He who giveth breath unto the people upon it and spirit to them that walk in it. I, the Lord, have called thee, the servant of the Lord in richeousness and will hold on hand and will keep Thee and give Thee for a covenant of the people, Israel and for a light of the nations or the heathen.”
You remember, of course as you read the Old Testament that the term people ordinarily refers to Israel and the term heathen is really in the Hebrew text the word which means “nations.” Now we have come to use it of course of those who have never had the Gospel. For example, of people who live in Africa or who live in the center of the forest of South America. But a man who attends regularly one of our churches in the United States may be just as much a heathen as a man who worship some fetish in the middle of darkest Africa. So the term heathen is not really a good translation. It should be rendered, nations, and of course, Israel is the nation, the rest of the nations are the nations.
But our English text is not of course since it is 400 years old or 350 years old, does not observe our usage of today. For a light of the nations, to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison and those who sit in darkness out of the prison house and let’s stop at this point.
Not a few Gentiles have difficulty with our Lord’s words “salvation is of the Jews”. He uses that expression; remember when He spoke in the fourth chapter of the Gospel of John to the women of Sumerian. Salvation is of the Jews, He said. The curved nose of the Jew thrust between their eyes and the pure light of God has been an offence to Gentiles and even to the present day. I noticed that one of the things that is disturbing some of the men in our State Department is because is Russia now there is increasing again anti-Semitism. But anti-Semitism is not simply something that exists in a country like Russia; it is something that exists in the United States. It exists throughout the world because its man’s objection to God’s election of Israel, and it always has been that. And so when we read texts in the Bible it says, salvation is of the Jews.
We who are not Jews tend to get our backs up. Israel was not chosen because of their merit. It’s true that many of the Jews have thought they were chosen because they had merit before God. The generation that was on the earth when our Lord was here that surely was the way the majority of them thought. We have Abraham to our Father, we read in the eight chapter of the Gospel of John. We descent from the fathers, it’s natural you know when God blesses someone on the basis of grace for him soon to think that he is blessed because he is good.
You know you can even feel that way in Believers Chapel. We can look around and say God has blessed us and he has blessed us. And because we still possess the old nature, it’s not long before we say God has blessed us because of what we are. We said down at the Lord’s Table last night and some one called out to Him, which spoke about our obedience in sitting at the Lord’s Table. I never like to sing ahem like that.
Well I know it is obedience to sit at the table of the Lord. It’s obedience to be baptized and it’s surely is one of those little things that a Christian can do, be baptized. Anybody can do that when he is believed in Jesus Christ. That is a testimony. Well, all should give it, and it is an act of obedience and of course it’s an act of obedience to observer the Lord’s table. But I am always suspicious of anytime that I have remind the Lord of how obedient I am, because generally speaking my nature is disobedient. It tends to rebel against God and I don’t like to pat myself on the back for anything spiritual. Well, Israel was not chosen because of their merit, they were chosen because God loved them. Did you notice back in chapter 41 in verse eight, “But Thou Israel art my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.” And they were chosen for a purpose. Notice verse 10, “Fear Thou not, for I am with thee, be not dismayed, for I am Thy God; I will strengthen thee, yea I will help thee; yea, I will uphold Thee with the right hand of My righteousness.” And then verse 15, “Behold, I will make Thee a new sharp threshing instrument.” In other words, God choose Israel in order that they might be His instrumentality for reaching the nations. He did not choose Israel in order that Israel should rejoice in salvation that God gave them only.
By the way, He does not choose us who belong to the true church of Jesus Christ just because or just so that we may sit around and love one another and love Him because He has loved us. He has chosen us in order that we should be witnesses, that we should be an instrumentality for reaching out to others. And I always feel that whenever a church gets to the place where what it does is gather together in its meeting, and pat each other on the back, and have social gatherings and love one other, I mean in the bad sense of just having fellowship, and having it end at that — that we have missed the point. The church is a fighting organization. It’s like a heavyweight fighter who spends two, three months in training for some great championship bout and comes in lean and ready to right, all most mean you know — that’s good for a heavyweight fighter — and the church of Jesus Christ is a fighting force, and it was chosen for that reason.
Now Israel was not chosen because they possessed merit. They were not chosen because they were many of them, they were not chosen because they were great. As a matter of fact, they were chosen because in them you could see better than anyone else apparently the grace of God and that is why He has chosen you.
That is why He has chosen me because if you knew me, you would say I know exactly why you choose him, because if He can do anything with him praises the Lord. And that is really why He does choose us. In order that we might see His grace and that we might be a means for reaching others and I would think in this church and in the church to which you belong, whatever church that may be that we are never really on the center of God’s will until we are burdened for those who are not here. So, Israel was not chosen, because of their merit they were chosen for a purpose and that purpose was the service of God.
Chapter 43 and verse 10 states this very plainly. It says you are my witnesses, saith the Lord and my servant whom I have chosen that he may know and believe Me and understand that I am he. Before Me there was no God formed neither shall there be after Me. Verse 12, “I have declared and have saved and I have shown when there was no stage God among you therefore you are my witnesses, saith the Lord that I am God.” So Israel was chosen for a purpose, the service of God and they were equipped for this service of God by two great experiences.
The first great experience was of course the experience of the redemption from the land of Egypt and when God said Moses, The Deliverer down to them in Egypt and through him led them out of Egypt into the wilderness and on up to the land. They were given a mighty display of the redemptive power of God. It was of course illustrative, they put blood on the doorposts the Passover night and Egypt was judged, but they escaped because they put the blood on the doorpost. That of course was the ancient way of illustrating the cross where the blood was shed. Until they put the blood on the doorposts and God said, when I see the blood I will pass over you — that by the way means not I will pass over your house and strike the next; it means, I will hover over your house and protect you from the destroying angel when he comes. I will hover over you, when I see the blood not when I see your faith even but when I see the blood. It’s the faith that puts the blood on the doorpost but it’s the blood that saves.
Our faith is an instrumentality of our salvation, it is the cross that saves us. And then you remember they came to the Red Sea and there God performed the mighty work of dividing the sea with the pillar of cloud over them and the waters on the side, they went down as if they were going into a watery grave and they went out on the other side. And that was a picture of what happened here, death, burial, and resurrection, and their participation in it, or they went down into the waters that signified death. Waters encompasses them, cloud above them, waters on the side that is what it means to be baptized under Moses and the cloud or in the cloud. They came out on the other side and ever afterward God pointed them to the past and said, you remember what I have did when you were in Egypt.
Remember how I delivered you by the blood and how I caused the waters of the sea to move back. You know my power, you know what I can do and then of course He gave them the second great experience and that was the gift of God’s revelation, He gave them the law. Now he not gave them the Ten Commandments, the Ten Commandments were not a means of salvation. They were already the Lords people because they had faith and it put the blood on the doorpost. They were given the Ten Commandments in order that they might know how holy God is.
I go in churches frequently and you will see the Ten Commandments plastered all over the doors of the Sunday school. Sometimes you will find texts which indicate that it is the endeavor of any true pupil in the Sunday school to keep the Ten Commandments in order that he might be saved, when the one thing that Paul cries out against is that: by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. Those commandments were given to show us that we are centers. That is why. No man can keep them. They are like a mirror that stands before us all the time, Thou shall not, Thou shall not what I do and when I do then I would say to the Lord what relief is there and he points me to the ceremonies.
Remember, Moses not only gave the law and he was not only given the moral law and the civil law, but he also was given the ritual by which Israel worshipped God. And remember it was full of sacrifice, there was covenant, there was priesthood, there was sacrifice and all of those things were — well if we put covenant, priesthood and sacrifice, we would say we are going to do this backwards, they all pointed forward to the cross to come. The priest who slew the animal, a picture of Jesus Christ who died. The animal itself a picture of our Lord who died. The covenant, which was made through blood shedding, typical of the New Covenant, which would be consummated in the blood of Jesus Christ. So, Israel had the great experience of redemption and they were given the great revelation of God, which they would share, share with others. That knowledge of the true God or the true knowledge of God, both and that is why God choose Israel.
Now chapters 40 and 41 of the book of Isaiah have declared to the nation and to the nations that Jehovah is the one sovereign God. Remember our text in verse 12 of chapter 40. Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand. It’s not I’ve just – – the last three week as I have thought about this, I have just been amazed. You know this is a period in about four of my messages that I have given since then at various times away from you. I have to teach or preach about 13 times a week you know and this truth has just really gripped me. This great God who describes the creation of the seas as if all the seas were in his hand and I never really realized how little water we can hold in our hand, just about one swallow.
You know when you are thirsty and you come in and put you hand down under the spigot like this, do you ever do that? Two gentlemen like to do it, I know. But we do it, we are both from Alabama. But there is little water there and you know God says all the seas of his creation he can put them in his little hand like that, that is how big his hand is. It’s a figure of speech to express his greatness and then he says he has measured out the heavens with a span. Think of that, the distance between my little finger and my thumb, just about six inches. He has measured out the heaves with that distance, Oh how big His hand must be and when we think of the illimitable space that exists now in God’s creation. He has quite a large span doesn’t He, measured it out that way and the dust of the earth in a measure and you can see a little scales here and all of the dust of the earth is piled upon God’s scale, what a big scale He has. And weight the mountains and scales in the hills in a balance and so He has declared to Israel that He is the one sovereign God. And He has declared this also in the second chapter to the nations. In the 41st chapter of the first verse He said, as He called them to the law courts Keep silence before me, O islands; and let the people renew their strength, let them come near and let them speak, let us come near together to judgment. Let’s enter into our court of law. And so God enters into a court of law with the nations and tells them he is going to raise up Cyrus 150 years in the future. He will raise up this man Cyrus, and He is going to perform a work through Cyrus. So chapters 40 and 41 are chapters in which He has declared that He is the one true and sovereign God.
Now it’s not surprising that in chapter 42, He should define His mission to Israel and set forth truth to be learned by the nations. In other words, apologetics is succeeded by missions. Just what we have been talking about that after He has set forth who He is, then He tells them, He wants them to spread this information, but He is going to do this through a person who is called the servant and now lets look at these verses, because in verses one through seven and this is the important section of this chapter. The prophet writes of the servant of the Lord, did you notice that first word look, look my servant; the Hebrew word hame, which is used here, is word that means just that. Look my servant, now he has just stated in verse 29, look the idols are emptiness, they are vanity, their works are nothing, they are melted and cast images are wind and confusion. Look, that’s all they are. Those people who make idols have to be very careful they don’t make until they fall over on their faces remember.
But look my servant, whom I uphold, mine elect, in whom is my delight. It is obvious that behold of verse one of chapter 42 is contrasted with the behold. Now chapter 41 in verse 29, now here is God’s great mediator, My servant whom I uphold, mine elect, in whom My soul delighteth, I have put My spirit upon him, he shall bring forth judgment to the nations. Now this is the first of the series of servant passages. We are going to have another one in chapter 49, another one in chapter 50, and of course the greatest of all in chapter 52 and 53, where we read. So those tremendous words, so wonderfully descriptive of the ministry of Lord Jesus. He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our inequities, the chastisement of our peace was upon him and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way and the Lord hath laid on him the inequity of us all. Who is this servant? Now if you have been listening to me of course you wonder why I even ask a question like this, who is the servant? Everyone knows who this servant is. Everyone who has any acquaintance whatsoever with the word of God should know, you might think. Well of course its Jesus of Nazareth, he is the servant. But now let’s ask a question, because this is not commonly held among for example the Jewish people, it’s not commonly held by many who are Gentiles, who are both religious. Of course, if you believed really that this was the servant Jesus Christ and that this was prophesied 100’s of years before he came, well, there is nothing left for you to do but bow down before him and worship him.
Some have said he is not really a person at all; he is a personification. Isn’t Israel called a servant; yes Israel is called a servant. We’ve already read a couple of passages. We have one in this very chapter, chapter 42 verses 19, Who is blind but my servant or deaf is My messenger that I send, that is Israel, Israel is a servant of Jehovah too. So is he the personification of all of Israel? Is he a personification of the ideal Israel? Is he a personification of just part of Israel? Is he perhaps the order of the prophets? Is he perhaps Isaiah? Is Isaiah the servant of the Lord? All of these are viewpoints of contemporary theologians. So if he is a person, is he Isaiah? One of the prophets or is he is a personification, is he Israel? Is he perhaps some unknown martyr, or is he the Messiah?
I tell you what let’s do. Let’s study this as we go along, because you might run into someone. As you turn to the Old Testament and point them to these passages that concern Jesus Christ, you might find a rare person with no enough about the Bible to say but is the servant really Jesus Christ? Is not the servant, Israel? Or is not the servant the prophet? What would you say?
Just this week, you know I have to read a lot of things, I don’t like to read them but I have to read them because after all professor of New Testament is supposed to know something about some of these things, and then I happened to be a professor of New Testament and my interests are the use of the Old Testament in the New Testament and so, I have to read certain things on the Old Testament. Some of them of course I like to, I like to read everything on Isaiah that I can because I love this book.
But I just read an interpretation by Professor Orlinsky’s of Hebrew Union University this past week. He is not a Christian, he is a Hebrew, the friend of the man who taught me Hebrew was a Hebrew and Professor Orlinsky’s interpretation of Isaiah 52-13 through 53-12 was positively astounding. He says this is not a reference to Israel and I said, Amen, Professor Orlinsky. This is a reference to Isaiah the Prophet. It Isaiah the prophet who suffers for the Nation Israel, and furthermore, He went on to make the astounding statement, this is positively astounding, I could not really believe my eyes when I saw it.
He said in the 53rd chapter of the Book of Isaiah there is no such thing as substitution. He was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon him and with his stripes we are healed. That is right, that is what He said.
Now I think that, if we understand a little diagram, we will understand the term servant. We are going to answer some of these things as we go along, you will be thinking about. I hope you sleep well tonight but this is well — old diagram, which expresses what I think the Bible teaches about the servant of Jehovah. Israel the nation is called the servant of Jehovah. Then also the faithful remnant within the nation, those who are not only Israelites according to the flesh, but who also walk in the steps of the faith, which our Father Abraham had as Paul puts it. And then of course they are the servant of Jehovah; they are the true collective servant of Jehovah.
But the servant of Jehovah, the one who makes it possible for anyone to serve the Lord acceptably is the Lord Jesus himself who is a Jew. He is the servant of Jehovah; the remnant is called the servant and then Israel as a whole is called the servant. Now in Israel as a whole there may be believers and unbelievers. In Israel the remnant there are only believers and Israeli the seed, they see Jesus Christ there is one person, he is the preeminent server. By the way, I will put another little diagram over here. I wasn’t practicing to see if I could do a circle well because it’s obvious I cannot. But we could put over here the same type of thing you know.
We have today what we might call Christendom. It is composed of all kinds of Christian churches. Let’s eliminate the churches that were not Christian, let’s eliminate the Unitarians for example. They are not Christians they are Unitarians. All Christians are Trinitarians. Let’s just talk about Christendom. Now in Christendom, there are believers and unbelievers. You may be a member of a church, but not really a Christian. This is something by the way that most Jews have difficult in grasping. They think everybody who is not a Jew, is a Christian in this country. Not surprising really, because we band to the word Christian around and make it means just simply a member of a church, Christendom.
Then there is what we might call the true church. It is composed of believers wherever they may be organizationally, while there may be some believers in the Roman Catholic church, there may be some believers in the Presbyterian church, there may be some believers in the Episcopalian church, there may be some believers in the Lutheran church, there may be even some believers in the Baptist church, just kidding you know, just kidding. But in each of these churches, there are probably unbelievers. So they belong in Christendom, but they do belong in the true church.
The true church is composed of those who believed in Jesus Christ. It is they who know Him and then of course the heart is Jesus Christ. He is the center of Christianity in fact He is the head of the church. He is the head of the church, Jesus Christ. So you see when we talk about church, we might use the term broadly of the church and talk about the ecumenical movement in the church. We are using that term broaden not as the new testament actually uses it, or we might talk about the church and pray for the church as composed of all believes wherever they may be or we might talk about the one who is the head of the church Jesus Christ, and he also of course is the Remnant of Israel.
Now then, lets look at our passage here, remember the situation now, Isaiah is prophesying 150 years before the Babylonian captivity, but he is prophesying to a people who are in that captivity and he is now speaking against the background of what is going to do through Cyrus to bring them out in back in their land. He is speaking of the great promises of redemption that he ultimately has for Israel. So he says and by the way these words which have such universal scope and which presents such a universal hope are most amazing when we realize that they were addressed to a helpless tribe of captives in the great country of Babylon, in a minority dialect, in the midst of a world sunk in ruin and sin.
This great prophecy was issued; behold My servant. The Targum, which is a Jewish paraphrase of the Old Testament written in Aramaic, the Targum has behold My servant the Messiah. But now since Christ has come and since the Christian movement has arisen, most Jews who interpret this do not interpret this any longer of the Messiah because it plays too much into the hands of the Christians. But the Targum still reads that way. Behold my servant the Messiah and so one of the most ancient interpretations in Judaism is to interpret the servant as the Messiah and Professor Orlinsky. If the servant of chapter 42 is the same servant as that of chapter 52 and 53, as it surely should logically be interpreted then what do you say to that? My servant whom I uphold, My chosen one in whom My soul delights.
Now, this is the passage that was used remember by God at the transfiguration and at the baptism. He said, this is My beloved son in whom I am well pleased. What was he trying to say, well, this is My son, comes from the second Psalm, which presents him as king. This is My son, Psalm 2. This is My beloved son, My chosen son, in whom I am well pleased. Now as we read the rest of these servant passages, we finally conclude in chapter 52 and chapter 53 by the suffering of the servant. He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities. And so, he is a king and he is a sufferer. That’s what God was saying at the baptism. And so when Jesus went down into the water and came up out of the water, that was a visible representation of what He would do. He would be a king, and he was destined to suffer. He was destined go the cross and even as early as the baptism that was God’s way of saying, this is what he is. And so our Lord, as he heard a voice from heaven he would know, that though he was inaugurated into his Messianic office as the king, he was destined to suffer. This is My beloved son, the king in whom I am well pleased the sufferer, the servant of Jehovah. So, our Lord who was the best and greatest student of holy Scripture who has ever lived, knew right from those words of the baptism confirmed by the transfiguration, but He was destined to suffer.
Behold my servant, then, you all noticed, He has loved, My soul delights in him, He has chosen, mine elect, He has sustained, whom I uphold and He has equipped, I have put My spirit upon him. What happened at the baptism? Do you remember? The spirit of God came as a dove, upon him that marked him out as the servant of Jehovah. By the way, if Jesus Christ needed the Holy Spirit for a guidance, the divine son of God. Do you think we need little help too? Do you think we could possibly ever make one decision right apart from divine guidance? It auto let us know that we should never make any decision without consulting Him first.
Now let’s notice the next statement that is made, He shall bring forth justice to the nations or how many people today are crying for justice, The communists cry for justice, the socialists cry for justice, the conservatives cry for justice, the Christians cry for justice, justice shall never come until Jesus Christ comes, why? Because our hearts are wicked, our hearts are evil. The Christians are the only realists in the world. I am not talking by the way about these — they are un-realists. I am talking about these, those who read their Bibles.
They are the only ones who can read the newspaper and understand what is going on. They are the only one who can read it without reaching for your revolver to blow your brains out, logically. There is no meaning whatsoever to what is happening. If Christianity is not true, no hope, I can understand a Camus, a Sartre, I can understand the sense of despair, the sense of absurdity that grips people who try to understand life apart from the Scriptures. There is no hope, so the Bible points us to the day when Jesus Christ shall bring forth justice. Three times by the way, it is stated in the first verse, the third verse, and again in the fourth. Judgment, in the earth, justice in the earth, the truth applied to civil life, national virtue and shall never exist until Jesus comes.
By the way, I do not believe of course that because this is true, the Christians should never be interested in anything but the souls of men. That is always permanent. To save a man’s soul is to save him for eternity, to save his life is to save him for time. Logically, a Christian who really believed in life after death as eternal, he leaves those things to others. His greatest task is to reach the souls of men, to save his life for eternity, but incidentally it is by God’s changing of man’s part that frequently changes occur in our lives and in our society. In Britain, we have some of the greatest illustration of this. The greatest of social reforms in Britain were brought about by Christians, many of whom are converted through the evangelistic campaigns of Dwight L. Moody. That uneducated American who went over and led so many to the Lord and from whom as the generations developed they are rose men who brought about prison reform, stop the slave trade, were responsible for the factory acts, for many other laws for the protection of children and labors, directly the off sheets of the Christian movement.
When I was studying in the University of Edinburgh, I got on the bus one morning with a man who was an outstanding Church of Scotland man and a genuine Christian man. We were both going out to preaching points and we were discussing some of the things that happened in Scotland because he was a Scottish man and I was not. In the course of it Moody’s name came up and he said do you know Dwight L. Moody gave Glasgow a number of elders. You are speaking of elders in the Church of Scotland, a number of elders whose influence is felt to this very day in Scotland. That is the product of the gospel of Jesus Christ. So He shall bring forth justice to the nations when he comes, it shall come, finally.
Verse two, He shall not cry; isn’t it a great passage? You know you could talk for ever on this we have an intermission at 9:00 we will go on until to 12:00 tonight. “He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.” Now Isaiah of course stresses the power and spell of the human voice throughout. We began this great section with the voices of chapter 40, but the servant’s tone is quiet and gentle.
You know I love the Hebrew text of this. It really could be translated to something like this, he shall not scream — heard preachers who scream? — he shall not scream, tsa’aq means to be – – it almost sounds like screaming when you say it tsa’aq that sharp sound — he shall not tsa’aq, shall not scream nor be loud nor advertise himself. That is what those words really mean. In other words, he is not going to come as a screaming preacher he is not going to be loud. Jesus was not the greatest revolutionary.
Now you often hear people say that today, I wonder if they have read the Bible at all. The things He talked brought revolutions in the hearts of men of course. He was not a revolutionary wasn’t even loud and furthermore its states here His voice shall not be heard in the street. He shall not advertise himself He is not coming with the Madison Avenue approach He is not coming with singing commercials and parades. Can you imagine our Lord hurrying out to Madison Avenue and presenting a program over TV to announce his coming, if he were to come in the twentieth century? Ridiculous, when you think about it, isn’t it? He is not even going to have a PR Man. Now, I know what you are saying. Wasn’t John his PR Man? Yes he was the Lord’s ambassador, but he didn’t come with that kind of approach. He came preaching repentance. Dressed in clothes that Madison Avenue would not have liked at all and furthermore his message was of the kind that surely would not have satisfied them.
Now notice verse three. “He not only shall come quietly but he shall deal gently. A bruised reed he shall not break.” Or how many people are bruised today? They don’t know the Lord and consequently they are troubled and disturbed and broken often. Don’t know where they are going? Many of them have lost their way. Our Lord does not come to break the bruised reed. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax he shall not quench. If there is any desire to know him, he shall not stamp upon it and extinguish it. He shall bring forth justice and truth. And I wish I could get over the truth of verse four because the two words that are used for bruised and for smoking are also used here. He shall not fail, that is the same word that was translated smoking. Nor be discouraged, that is the same word that is translated bruised. In other words, He shall not have any of these qualities. He shall not be broken. He shall not give out until he has brought forth justice to the nations. In other words, he shall be successful.
How do we know this is going to come to pass? How do we know that the servant is going to do this? The fifth verse says, thus saith God the Lord, He who created the heavens, and stretched them out. He who spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it. He who giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk in it. This is the one who has promised the coming of the servant. Did you notice how verse five begins, “Thus saith God the Lord.” The word for God here is a very strong word. It’s the word ha’el. This is the article ha. Thus saith the strong one, the Lord. Thus saith the powerful one. El is the name of the God that speaks of his mighty power. The Lord is his name that speaks of him as the one who entered into covenant with Israel. Thus saith the powerful one. I’ve told you about a servant. He is coming. He is going to do all of these things. He is going to have this kind of ministry and I am standing behind my words, the powerful one, the covenant making and keeping God. Notice what else the servant is going to do. Verse 6. “I the Lord have called thee.” That is the servant. Now, the father speaks to the son or God speaks to his servant, I, the Lord have called Thee in righteousness, and will hold Thine hand, and will keep thee, and give Thee for a covenant of the people. Now notice. We said that some say that the servant is Israel. Well now, if the servant is Israel, what sense would this make? I God will give Thee Israel for a covenant of Israel. You see that makes sense. This is one of the texts that makes it evident that the servant is a person, who is not Israel, though he may be individually part of Israel, it is our Lord. I will give Thee for a covenant of the people, Israel and for a light of the Gentiles.
Now our time is by one minute, but when we talk about our Lord as the covenant of the people, we mean that he is going to come and he is going to die and on the basis of his death, God is going to conclude a new covenant for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus at the last supper took the cup and said, this cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for the remission of sins. I will give Thee for a covenant of the people.
In other words, the Lord Jesus came to shed his blood upon the cross in order that the people, the promised in Israel, the chosen of the nation, should have the forgiveness of sins. Those in the Old Testament days, who believed look forward to this and they were justified. For God imputed to them the benefits of the cross of Jesus Christ.
Now in New Testament times, we look back and we believe in the one who has died and we have imputed to us the benefits of the work that he did in dying for us. You will notice, by the way he does not say for a covenant of the Gentiles for we have no covenant. We have no covenant. It is Israel who has the covenant.
Paul gives a little illustration; remember in the 11th chapter of Romans about an olive tree. That’s a beautiful olive tree, I know, but he says that the olive tree represents the promises made to Abraham, but he says that the Nation Israel did not believe. Consequently, those branches were cut off. Then he says contrary to nature, we were grafted in new branches. You know, I did this all to spread the moment. I am really so pleased with what I have done. New branches were grafted in Gentiles. You see we have no covenant. Israel has a covenant. We by grace are grafted in among them, Paul said. But he also goes on to say, watch out you Gentiles, don’t mind high things, but fear. As the natural branches did not believe and were cut off, so also may you be.
For God, if he grafts unnatural branches into the olive tree contrary to nature, every water culturists knows that, doesn’t he? You take the, what kind of scion, the cultivated scion and grafted into the wild stock, don’t you? So to take the wild scion and graft it into the cultivated stock is contrary to nature that is why we got in with just by grace. So if he did that, he surely can take the natural branches and put them back in and that he is going to do in the future. So all Israel shall be saved, Paul said, through the ministry of the servant.
So notice he says, I am giving the servant for a covenant of the people Israel and for a light to the Gentiles; for it is by reason of the salvation that Jesus Christ provided the Jew, the true seed that was obedient and proclaimed by the Jewish Church in Jerusalem for they were practically entirely Jews worthy. That faithful remnant that believed salvation has gone out to Gentiles, and you and I have been included so for a light, the Gentiles. And notice it’s spiritual too, and I will just read, I am getting tangled up over here. I can hardly get back to my Bible.
Verse 7, we will conclude with this, our time is up. The servant’s ministry is going to be spiritual for we read to open the blind eyes to bring out the prisoners from the prison and those who sit in darkness out of the prison house. We were talking about Satan in the last hour, and how he held men in prison. It is the work of the servant to come and to die, and to open the prison house. And now by virtue of the fact that Jesus Christ has died for the sins of men, no matter who you may be in your heart you may come to God and say thank you Lord for giving Jesus Christ to die for me. I don’t understand all that is involved, but I take him as my Savior. Your eyes are opened, and then you are able to understand the revelation of God and grow in grace and in the knowledge of his truth.
And so we thank God for the servant of Jehovah, Jesus Christ who has made it all possible. And isn’t it wonderful that the Holy Spirit has given us this word of God, hundreds of years before his coming has announced to the world that he would come and he has come. Let’s bow together and pray.
[Prayer] Father we thank Thee for Thy word and Thy truth. Accept our praise for the servant of Jehovah, Jesus Christ, and we thank Thee Lord that we were included. We acknowledge it is all of grace but all may the love that we have for Thee soul grow in response to Thy love that we may have the motivation to share it with many of us.
For Jesus sake, Amen.