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Summary: Isaiah records a divine Father-Son conversation as they discuss our salvation.

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Epiphany 2

Isaiah 49:1-6

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to eavesdrop in on a conversation where God the Father is speaking to God the Son? Wouldn’t it be interesting sometime to be a fly on the wall when members of the Holy Trinity sat down and discussed things together? Well, Isaiah had that opportunity. And in our text for this morning, the prophet writing by inspiration records a conversation between God the Father and God the Son.

Verse 3 of this reading speaks of a Servant that God was going to use. And many people have had many different ideas of who this servant might be. Some have thought that Jeremiah, who lived 100 years after Isaiah, was this servant. Some have thought that King Cyrus of the Persians, who let the Israelites out of captivity, was this servant. Some have suggested that the “Servant” was a personification for the nation of Israel. But the real answer of who this servant is is really much easier. Jesus, God’s Son, is the Servant that this reading speaks of. So this morning, we will look at God commissioning his Son with the words, “You are my Servant, Israel.” 1. You are the Servant who would speak with piercing words. 2. You are the Servant who would appear to have a failed ministry. 3. You are the Servant whose work would extend to Israel and to all the nations of the earth.

Part I

Did you notice whom this reading is addressed to? Whom is this Servant talking to? He’s talking to you, and he’s talking to me. He says, “Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations.” Isaiah wrote to the Israelites, but here, his audience is much greater. It includes people who live far away from Israel, and it includes people who are separated from biblical times by thousands of years. Here, the Servant of God is talking to you.

And first, he reminds you that he was God’s choice to save the world even before he was born. Remember when the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary? When people these days have babies, they spend literally hours and days trying to come up with the perfect name for their new child. Well, Mary didn’t have to worry about that. Gabriel told Mary what God was going to name her baby even before he was born. The child’s name would be Jesus – Why? Because the name Jesus means Savior, and that was God’s way of letting the world know that this child was his choice to save the world from sin.

And as Jesus grew up, he proved with his words that he was the Son of God. And Jesus had some powerful words to speak. He wasn’t afraid to call the religious leaders of his day white-washed tombs, which looked good on the outside, but on the inside housed the stinking corruption of sin. He wasn’t afraid to rebuke his own followers the disciples when they showed little or no faith in him. But the most powerful words that Jesus spoke were his words of comfort. Think of the paralytic, whose friends lowered him down through the roof in front of Jesus, so that Jesus could say, “Cheer up! Your sins are forgiven. Oh, and by the way, just to prove that I do have the authority to forgive your sins, why don’t you get off your mat and walk?” and the paralyzed man was healed just like that! Think of the criminal dying on the cross next to Jesus, hearing from Christ, “Today, you will be with my in paradise.” Jesus was telling that dying man that his previous life of sin didn’t matter. Jesus was on that cross to do away with sin.

Application

The Servant’s words would be like a razor-sharp sword, like an arrow that would cut right through the heart. And Christ’s words of comfort are still doing their work. They’ve done a number on your heart. You aren’t here today because you want to feel guilty for your sin. Maybe you came because you already feel guilty for the many times you’ve broken God’s law this past week. You aren’t here to listen to how scary hell is. You are here to let Jesus’ words of comfort pierce right into your heart. The Servant has spoken with piercing words; words of comfort…words of peace…words that remind you that Jesus has taken away all your sins…words that remind you that heaven is waiting for you.

Part II

But not everything was going to be all cheerful for God’s Servant Jesus. God says about this Servant that he is Israel “in whom I will display my splendor.” God the Father is saying to his Son, “your work is going to be magnificent. You are going to impress people with the work you are going to do.”

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