Home > Brandenburg, Law & Grace > The Mission of the Messiah’s Grace: A New Order of Living, Isaiah 42:1-4

The Mission of the Messiah’s Grace: A New Order of Living, Isaiah 42:1-4

August 22, 2007

In John 9:39, our Lord Jesus Christ declares a reason for His coming:  “For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.”  He’s not talking about His second coming, but His first coming.  He came for judgment.  Isaiah thrice repeats this mission in Isaiah 42:1-4 in the first of The Servant Songs.  I’m going to bold and italicize the three.

Behold 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 Gentiles.  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 unto truth.  He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.

The position of this text in Isaiah gives it an amazingly emphatic place in describing the purpose why Jesus came to earth.  We will see together that the Father poured out His Spirit upon Jesus Christ so that He would bring in an entirely new order of living for those who would wait on Him.

The Context of Isaiah 42:1-4

In the second half of Isaiah, beginning in Isaiah 40, God assures Israel that He will protect them through and then out of the Babylonian captivity.  They can trust Him.  They can trust in Him because of Who He is and how He has worked, and He will deliver them if they wait on Him (chapter 40).  Chapter 41 opens up the section of which Isaiah 42:1-4 is a part.  The first seven verses read as a court case in which God gives evidence of His Sole Status as God in the way of His sovereignty over history, predicting the coming of the Persian King Cyrus 160 years before his reign and the fear that will dominate Israel’s enemies as a result.   In an interlude in 41:8-20, God calls on His servants, Israel, not to fear with Him so near.  In 41:21-29, God is back to His court room, calling on all the non-true-god people and their gods to produce evidence of their veracity.  God makes predictions far in advance of their fulfillment and can explain how they relate to the past and the present.  If any religious group could do the same, God would acknowledge their Deity.  They can’t, and so in their pomp and circumstance, they are nothing.

God comforts His servants, Israel, in 41:8-20 after evidence of Himself in history.  God now addresses His Servant in 42:1-9, after evidence of Himself in fulfilled prophecy.  His Servant is one of those predictions.  The gods with all their bedazzling self-promotion are useless, but in His quiet gentleness, The Servant will change everything.  What will He do?

The Mission of The Servant of Isaiah 42:1-4

Jesus is The Servant.  We know that based on the internal context of Isaiah 42, but we also have a clear statement of Jesus in Matthew 12:18ff.  The Father expressed His delight with the obedience of His Servant and poured out His Spirit upon Him at His baptism (Matthew 3:13-16).  His humble adherence to this portrayal of His future work—His death, burial, and resurrection—in servant fashion submitted to the will of His Master.  God wants us to serve, but we can’t without His Servant.  His Servant enables our service how?  By means of His judgment of the Gentiles (nations).

The mission of Jesus was the judgment of the nations (Gentiles).  What is that?  The word “judgment” (mishpot) is an important term in the Old Testament.  If you don’t know what that word means, then you will not know what these verses are all about.  The passage contains a building presentation of this work of Jesus Christ—His judgment of the nations, His judgment unto truth, and then His setting of judgment in the earth.  The manner in which He accomplishes this is non-physical and non-violent.  He will not break an already fractured reed and He will not so much as blow out a smoldering wick in getting His task accomplished.  We know that He does it by means of His life, death, burial, and resurrection.

The Hebrew word translated “judgment” (mishpot) does mean, in its broadest sense, societal order, in which the concerns of all are addressed. Salvation involves a wholesale change in societal order, first in the people who He saves, and ultimately everywhere. God’s salvation changes the order of someone’s life and when He finishes off salvation, He’ll bring order everywhere. This is a life-giving order, which exists when the creation is functioning in accordance with the design of its Lord.

If you look down at verse four, you’ll see that those of these nations whom He saves are those who wait on His law.  His law.  Grace is about the law of Christ transforming the order of society.  He will set it in the nations, that is, He will establish a new order on earth, and where we see that now is in the church.  Everything in the church smacks of the order of the Lord in which He rules and reigns.  When Jesus returns to finish that work in the second coming, we will see it all over the world, in every nation unto the furthest islands.

The kingdom of God on earth today stands in the church.  God has a wholly different standard of living in His kingdom and that is represented in the church.  The grace of God through Christ changes His servants into what He originally intended at creation.  They honor His design with male headship and female submission, indicating that design of God through their appearance.  The non-true-god people are called an abomination at the end of chapter 41 because they fail to recognize God as Creator.  The lack of recognition of God’s design on earth is an abomination to Him (Lev. 18:22; Deut. 22:5).

The Lord Jesus Christ through His power and grace changes the church into a living portrayal of God’s order on earth.  They live differently, act differently, and look differently than the world.  Their music is different.  Their relationships are different—they love one another, reconcile, and forgive.  Everything about them speaks of God and His ways.  If this isn’t what you see in a church, then it surely doesn’t represent the grace of God. Those in the house of God have a different standard of behavior, an entirely different culture than the world. That’s what God accomplishes through the mission of grace fulfilled by His Servant, the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Categories: Brandenburg, Law & Grace
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