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Summary: Jesus served, he served gently, and he served people unlike himself. He calls us to do the same.

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The Discreet Messiah

(Isaiah 42:1-9)

1. At Vacation Bible School, the teacher stacked a bunch of apples on one end of a table with a sign saying, "Take only one apple please - God is watching."

On the other end of the table was a pile of cookies which an overly-generous mom brought over. Her sign read, "Take all the cookies you want - God is watching the apples." [adapted for goyim from Harry Leichter’s Jewish joke website]

2. Some people today believe God is limited; they serve a small God. We serve a big God who can watch both the apples and cookies. As a matter of fact, our God can write history before it happens. This is particularly evident in Scriptures that predict Jesus.

3. Chapter 42 through Isaiah 55 section called “The Servant Songs.” The four songs themselves are portions of this text, as listed below. Additionally, many consider Isaiah 61:1-9 another servant song (I do). The authors of the New Testament hovered over these passage, I believe, and taught our faith from them.

The four “Servant Songs” proper are found in:

Isaiah 42:1-4

Isaiah 49:1-6

Isaiah 50:4-9

Isaiah 53 (entire chapter)

The fifth “Servant Song” is not part of this section, but found in: Isaiah 61:1-9

Jesus served, he served gently, and he served people unlike himself. He calls us to do the same.

I. The Servant is MESSIAH (1)

That the Jews understood this is apparent from the Targum, ancient paraphrase, “Behold, my servant, the Messiah, whom I bring…”

A. An individual in whom the Father DELIGHTS

God not only delights in his Son, but he delights in those who are “in Christ.”

B. The SPIRIT has been put upon him

Matthew 3:16-17, And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

C. He will bring JUSTICE to the nations (second coming)

The term “justice” has many meanings, especially “social justice.”

Constable: “In the Bible, justice means fulfilling mutual obligations in a manner consistent with God’s moral law. Biblical justice creates the perfect human society.”

D. If you are Jesus’ Disciple, you must learn to SERVE

Matthew 20:28, “…even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Mark 9:35, “… And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, ‘If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.’”

1. Serving is hard because we do not get much attention [Lucifer]

2. Serving is hard because we are vulnerable to the choices of others

3. Serving is hard because we can become weary in well-doing…[too long]

4. Serving does not come naturally to us, some more so than others…

Jesus served, he served gently, and he served people unlike himself. He calls us to do the same.

II. The Servant Is GENTLE (first coming) (2-4)

A. DISCREET, not loud (2)

Matthew 12:12-21, Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other. But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.

Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followed him, and he healed them all and ordered them not to make him known. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah:

“Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.

He will not quarrel or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets; a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory; and in his name the Gentiles will hope.”

1. Jewish belief: the Messiah would not announce he was Messiah; if he did, he was false. People would conclude that the real Messiah was Messiah.

2. The mystery in the New Testament is not that gentiles would come to faith in the Messiah; that was revealed. The mystery is that they would have equal standing with Jewish believers.

B. Not DESTRUCTIVE (3) --in contrast to God’s other servant, Cyrus

C. RESILLIANT (4)

D. Never underestimate HUMILITY

• Arrogant people turn me off. Even if they are right, I tend to go opposite.

• Humility coupled with determination and perseverance can be awesome!

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