Yesterday I read and studied but did not write. Things just did not seem to come together. I read much in Isaiah from chapter 40 thru 46, and I got hung up in Chapter 42. The title in my translation for chapter 42 is “The Lords Chosen Servant.”
In that passage, I see Jesus foretold by the Lord through Isaiah. There are so many places where that is true. As I read God’s Word from Genesis to Revelation, I see the Book like the path of the sun.
In the Morning as the sun rises in the east the shadows are cast toward the cross. Virtually every Scripture speaks of Jesus. When Jesus is here on the earth, the shadows grow shorter as He approaches the Cross. When He gives His life on the cross, there is no shadow. The sun is directly above the Son. From the resurrection forward is afternoon and the shadows are cast back toward the cross.
As I read 42:1-4 I saw Jesus and the task that God had planned for my salvation. I saw a quiet man. I think of the power of God in the body of Jesus and think of the self-control and obedience of Jesus to the Father.
The Lord’s Chosen Servant
1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations.
2 He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice,
or make it heard in the street;
3 a bruised reed he will not break,
and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.
4 He will not grow faint or be discouraged
till he has established justice in the earth;
and the coastlands wait for his law. Isaiah 42:1-4 (ESV)
What an amazing example is Jesus. What Joy there is in seeing Him in His Word and just soaking it up.
I love this passage, but I am taken with verse 4.
“He will not grow faint or be discouraged
till he has established justice in the earth;
and the coastlands wait for his law.”
As I think of all that he endured and all He was capable of I am brought to my knees. No one killed Jesus. No one put Him on the Cross… He did it all.
As I pondered this all yesterday, I just got stuck. I could not move forward. I thought of one of my favorite passages in Matthew. It is found in Chapter 11:25-30. I tried to copy that passage out of my digital Bible to paste it into my writing and I could not. Instead, every time I tried, I got Matthew 10:16 – 11:30 and I was done… I got frustrated, but then I took some time to read the passage God clearly wanted me to cover, but I was still stuck. So, I prayed and reflected on it all day yesterday into this morning.
Matthew 10:16 – 11:30
I read this passage through again, and I saw something in it that I had not seen before. We all know the Great commission that God gave as his last command before he ascended. It is in the last chapter of Matthew.
Matthew 28:16-20 (ESV) 16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
As I read 10:16-11:30 I saw that passage and in more detail. Jesus was sending out the Twelve Apostles, and with the assignment, He gave them warning and encouragement.
Persecution Will Come
He warns them about how men will persecute them, and the trials will be very difficult. They will be flogged and beaten, but he tells them not to be anxious.
18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. 19 When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. 20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
I know that passage strikes a nerve for me. For so long I was reluctant to witness to people or speak to people about Jesus. But this passage is reassurance that I need not be anxious. I must trust in God to give me the right words to say. What He did for the Apostles He will do for me.
Have No Fear
Jesus warns the Apostles not to fear what they might face. Do not fear men who can only kill the body. He warns that there are far more serious things at risk.
28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
That is a sobering warning, but I never cease to be amazed that with a warning so often comes encouragement.
32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
What more can be said than trust in God’s promise? Hold fast to Him, and He will Hold fast to us.
Jesus continues His instruction in the remainder of chapter 10, and the chapter closes with the Rewards.
40 “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. 41 The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”
Christ Jesus goes through that then Chapter 11 opens with John the Baptist.
John is in prison, and he asks disciples to inquire of Jesus to see if He is the one and I love Christ’s reply
4 “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. 6 And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
He answers them with the Word of God. He quotes Isaiah 35:5-6. How amazing that is. He does not expect these men to accept Him on His own. He points out the prophecy of Isaiah and closes with a blessing to those who are not offended by Him. I am reminded of Paul’s teaching in Philippians 2
Philippians 2:5-8 (ESV) 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
How amazing is He? King of Kings and obedient even to death on a cross.
I read the rest of this chapter through my favorite part in verses 25-30 and the promise Jesus gives there, and I am overwhelmed at the guidance that He wanted me to see. He warns me that the task of testifying to the truth of the Gospel will not always be easy. But He will always be there with me. Nothing I face, will I face alone. This world is harsh, but God is with me.
Psalms 23:4 (ESV)
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
If He is with me who can stand against me.
Father thank you for your Holy Word. Thank you for your patience with me. I love you and praise you, and I thank you for your faithfulness and trust in me.
Thank you, Father, for the patient pruning and tilling of my heart as You teach me more about you. Help me never to become complacent but always be hungry for Your Word and knowing that You will never leave me. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen!