Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Ooo pick me!!

I recently read an editoral that cited Isaiah 42v1 as a common baptismal verse and applied it to all Christians:
Behold my servant whom I uphold,
My chosen, in whom my soul delights,
I have put my Spirit upon hum
He will bring forth justice to the nations
I can see the appeal! And yet I feel uneasy. These words from the introduction to GOD IS THE GOSPEL explain why:
"Most modern people can scarcely imagine an alternative understanding of feeling love other than feeling made much of. If you don't make much of me you are not loving me" - p12
And its exactly what was done of Isaiah 42v1. Taking God's word and making it all about me. We woudln't do it to Isaiah 53, and yet the same servant is in view. This is not about me. This is about Jesus. And how great a hope to behold when Isaiah 42v1 is applied to him!

Jesus whom the LORD upholds.
Jesus in whom God delights.
Jesus the Spirit-annointed king.
Jesus the bringer of God's justice.

In him what hope for a wretch like me. That in him I too know the Father's delight. In him the Father's justice is not the threat of death, but the boundless joy of justification. This is the LORD's servant, punished in my place by the LORD's will. It's not about me, its about Jesus. Hallelujah, what a Saviour!

(In Christ we are upheld, delighted in, Spirit-annointed, and are heralds of God's justice - but this isn't what Isaiah 42v1 says.)


  1. Amen! Praise him for his supremacy.

    I've been thinking about similar things here

  2. Hmm…

    How about later in the same chapter...

    Hear, you deaf,
    and look, you blind, that you may see!
    Who is blind but my servant,
    or deaf as my messenger whom I send?
    Who is blind as my dedicated one,
    or blind as the servant of the Lord?
    (Is 42:18-19)

    You are right, in the first instance, it is not about me, but I'm not sure that in the first instance is the servant Jesus either. I get a bit of a feeling that you are skipping the OT, getting to Jesus and then flying.

    The servant songs of Isaiah are hard to get a handle on because it is never entirely sure of his identity. The focus is on the servant with the spirit upon him, holy and selfless. Isaiah, and God longs for the day that Israel lives up to its calling, and brings justice to the nations. I do not think Isaiah really understands how that is going to happen but he knows it must.

    However…the apostles did know! The mystery has been revealed! Isaiah’s vision is achieved by the Son of God (among other things a name for Israel, Exodus 4:23) truly living out the role of Israel without sinning (cf. Matt 4:1-11) and yet still suffering the punishment that belonged to sinful Israel (Is 53). However death could not conquer, and Jesus with the Israel he represented and fulfilled are raised with him (and enjoy his blessings/inheritance).

    I think it must go:

    Israel (but not on it’s own strength, must require something else…)
    JESUS (carrying the world’s weaknesses)
    The church (but not on it’s own strength, only ‘in Christ’)

    You’ve got to love your post. But I just think the Israel bit adds some depth to the great truth you so wonderfully expressed. I know it’s just a blog post and you cannot say everything, but what can you do. I have been told too many times that only liberals think the servant songs are about Israel (or Isaiah), as if talking about Israel takes the focus off Jesus. But the whole purpose of Israel’s creation and history was to focus on Jesus, so I don’t understand how it can. I hope that explains my motivation; although your post did not say anything that could rile me (praising Christ so wonderfully) it pushed a button and I felt the need to type!

  3. Along the lines of what I have just said I posted a quote on my blog.

    That may seem like a bit of shameless self-promotion, but it is only because I do not think it is keeping to the subject enough, nor important enough, to annoy all your readers by putting it in a comment.

  4. Thanks Dave & Scott.
    Dave -as always you stretch me, much appreciated. I may well have been guilty of the same kind of shortcutting that I was critiquing... :)

  5. As long as I am not stretching your patience!

    It is very hard to tell when shortcuts are helpful, and when they are not. I suspect that being able to tell that is mark of a wise person.

  6. Don't worry about my patience... stretch it as far as you can!!! Seriously, I value the interaction and critique more than you can imagine.