“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching the islands will put their hope.” (Isaiah 42:1-4 NIV)
It should not surprise us that we have information about the coming Messiah centuries before he came. Most agree that the first indication that he would come took place back at the beginning: when God cursed the snake he said, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15).
The offspring, or ‘seed’, of woman who would crush the head, delivering a death blow to Satan, was none other than the Messiah in his death and resurrection. Although Satan did “strike his heel” in the betrayal and crucifixion of the Messiah, he crushed the head of Satan by conquering sin and death.
In Isaiah 42 we have the first of what are often called the ‘servant songs’ of Isaiah which describe the coming Messiah and what he would accomplish. In this ‘song’ he is seen to be a king who brings justice and hope to the earth.
Not only would he bring justice, we can also see something of his character. He would be calm, not shouting or even raising his voice. He would be gentle, not even bruising a reed or snuffing out a smouldering wick. Matthew recorded that Jesus fulfilled these (Matthew 12:15-21).
“This is what God the Lord says – the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it: ‘I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.’” (Isaiah 42:5-7)
In the last part of this song we discover that the Messiah would be a “covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles”. Hundreds of years before he came to the earth we find that his coming would not be just for the Jews but for all people. He would come to open that eyes of the blind, free captives from prison, release from dungeons those who are in darkness.
Although we can see some literal application of this in the life of Jesus, particularly in healing those who were blind (John 9), it should be apparent that this is speaking of more than this. After all, when did Jesus free captives from prisons and dungeons?
We realise that Jesus came to open the eyes of people who were blind because of sin and were living in darkness (John 1). He came to free captives from the prison of sin (Ephesians 4:8) as well as to release people from the law which had held them captive (Romans 7:6). He came to release those who sit in the dark dungeons of sin. Matthew recorded that in Jesus’ teaching he fulfilled the scripture that said, “the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned” (Matthew 4:16).
Because Jesus did all of this, may we walk in the light, as he is in the light, have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus the Messiah can purify us from all sin (1 John 1:7).
Photo by Martin Winkler from pixabay.com.
Readings for next week: Isaiah 41-50