Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Where is God’s sovereignty more evident in Scripture than in the coming of Jesus, the Messiah—the Saviour, as a helpless infant of humble beginnings?

The Learning Servant

Isaiah 50:4-9

Intro: ILLUSTRATION: “The Invasion”

• In his book The Faith, Chuck Colson has a chapter entitled "The Invasion." In it he describes the invasion of Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

• D-Day was the largest seaborne landing in history.

• More than 150,000 U.S. troops

• Employing 6,900 vessels, 4,100 landing craft, and 12,000 airplanes.

• Within two weeks the British deployed an additional 314,547 men, 54,000 vehicles, and 102,000 tons of supplies, while the Americans put ashore an additional 314,504 men, 41,000 vehicles, and 116,000 tons of supplies at Omaha. Ten thousand tons of bombs were dropped on German defences.

• French sabotage key bridges, railway lines, telephone exchanges, and electricity substations.

• Despite the Allies’ air superiority and hours of heavy bombardment against the beach defences by the warships’ guns, the Germans stayed intact as thousands of brave men in the landing craft motored toward shore. Nothing stood between these troops and the German guns but the morning air.

• At Omaha, Gold, Sword, Juno, and Utah beaches, the troops’ only chance was to run, swim, and crawl up the beach to the sea walls, where they could reassemble for assaults on enemy gun positions. In the first hours at Omaha, more than 2,400 died. Over the next few weeks, as the battle progressed inland, the U.S. would eventually lose 29,000 men and more than 100,000 wounded and missing, while the British gave up 11,000 of its finest, and Canada 5,000. And all this was just the initial set of invasions.

• The Battle of the Bulge and other potentially catastrophic reversals were still to come, but the invasion of Normandy was so massive and successful, that it allowed the Allies to turn every counterattack into another victory.

Colson writes, "As if preordained, the outcome was clear; the evils of Hitler and fascism would be conquered."

Colson then goes on to compare the invasion of Normandy with the invasion of God on Christmas Day. He writes:

In one sense, the great invasions of history are analogous to the way in which God, in the great cosmic struggle between good and evil, chose to deal with Satan’s rule over the earth—He invaded. But not with massive logistical support and huge armies; rather, in a way that confounded and perplexed the wisdom of humanity.

It was a quiet invasion. Few people understood what was happening. Mary, the mother of Jesus, knew that she was with child, but she also knew that she had never been with a man, not even Joseph, to whom she was engaged. She had learned of her pregnancy and what was to be a virgin birth when an angel told her that she was pregnant with the Son of God.

For many, including Joseph, the doctrine of the Virgin Birth is hard to accept. But the God who could speak the universe into being, who could create human life, could certainly choose to make Himself known by the power of the Holy Spirit through a virgin ….

Most of the people in Palestine at the time of Jesus’ birth were expecting a Messianic invasion like we saw at D-day—conquerors in armour bringing a sword to set the people free from oppression.

Jesus only added to the bewilderment of the people who knew Him when He announced: "The time has come …. The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news" (Mark 1:15). This was the time the Jews had waited for, for so long? Liberation? And who was this ordinary Nazarene carpenter to say he was bringing in the Kingdom of God?

Where is God’s sovereignty more evident in Scripture than in the coming of Jesus, the Messiah—the Saviour, as a helpless infant of humble beginnings?

God who could have sent an army of angels to wipe out sin and corruption just like the armies of the allies who were sent into Europe to defeat Hitler—instead chose to save His creation once and for all through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of one man—fully human and fully divine—His son, Jesus.

The birth of this humble man is foretold in Isaiah as we have been studying the last few weeks. In the scripture for today the prophet tells us of a servant who will put his personal humiliation aside and persevere in the knowledge that God, in all of his sovereignty, will vindicate him.

This passage is the third Servant Song and its focus is on the sovereignty of God and the faith of the self-giving servant. Somehow Isaiah is able to see past the rhetoric of his people that expects God to intervene through the power and might of a large army. Even in Jesus’ day, the people of God, the Israelites expected a military conquest to rid them of their Roman captors. Isaiah’s servant is not only a picture of the Messiah, God’s chosen man to save humanity, it is also a picture for us. We need to follow in the servant’s footsteps and exemplify his humility. So through us the world will know that saviour lives in and through us.

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