Isaiah’s presentation of the Messiah is both fascinating and intriguing. In many visions, God revealed to this prophet a Savior whose ministry would be marvelous. But his results and approach would be different from anything the world has ever seen.
Consider Isaiah 42 as an example. One feat the Messiah would accomplish is announced in verse 1: “He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles” (NKJV). “Gentiles” encompassed a vast portion of the earth (all who were not Jewish), the majority of mankind. Keep in mind, also, that few Gentiles knew God and his will as did the Israelite nation. What a job that would be to bring justice to the Gentiles!
Verse 4 assures the reader that the Messiah would be successful in this aim: “He will not fail nor be discouraged, till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands shall wait for his law.” Many rulers have launched ambitious projects in the past. Some have even made world peace their aim. But before many years have passed, such projects have been deemed failures. Not so for the Messiah. “He will not fail nor be discouraged.” In that way, the power of the Messiah is unlike that of any other.
There’s one other way mentioned in this passage in which the Messiah’s power is unique: “He will not cry out, nor raise his voice, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed he will not break, and smoking flax he will not quench; he will bring forth justice for truth” (Isaiah 42:2,3). Virtually every empire of the past has been established by force. Mighty armies have leveled the opposition and made it possible for a new ruler to reign. But that won’t be the case with Messiah.
Bruised reeds are extremely fragile. It would be an easy thing to finish them off, even by unintentionally mishandling them. The same is true for smoking flax; the flame is gone, and there’s little hope it will return. But in the hands of the Messiah, such fragile ones are safe. His power is not an overbearing power that crushes the weak. He uses love and righteousness to topple empires. In submitting to the horrible execution of the Roman Empire, Jesus presented a power that the world could never have otherwise imagined. When Jesus rises to power, there is no collateral damage.
There is no doubt the Messiah is powerful. Jesus Christ is Lord of lords and King of kings (Revelation 17:14), and to him every knee will one day bow (Philippians 2:10). But don’t regard his power in the same light as earthly potentates. His power is unique in that it will not fail and that it is gentle to all who confess his holy name.
The Messiah’s power is unlike any the world has witnessed.