Focal Passage: Isaiah 42:1-9
Oh, to be chosen! As a kid I remember agonizing over whether
I would be chosen to play on the all-star baseball team.
In high school, I wondered what senior superlative I would
be chosen to receive. Preparing college applications, I hoped to be chosen by
my school of choice.
When building up the courage to ask my wife to marry me, I
prayed that she would choose to say “yes” to my proposal.
Today’s Old Testament lesson reports an act of choosing
someone for a task. God announces that a servant has been chosen for God’s task.
The name of the chosen one is not mentioned, nor are any
personal qualifications given.
The servant could be a nation, a ruler, or a religious
leader, but in God’s good time it came to its ultimate expression in the person
of Jesus Christ and His mission to the whole wide world.
For us today, however, what matters is the character of
servanthood and how it shapes a sense of who we are and what our lives ought to
In the text, the servant comes upon the human scene as one
whose purpose is to set things right. Listen to these lines: “He will not cry or lift up his voice
… a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not
quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be
crushed until he has established justice in the earth” (v. 2-4).
What a wonderful combination of means and ends!
The servant has a high purpose, but he knows that the
character of the means will determine the character of the ends.
The servant’s intention is to heal and repair whatever and
whoever is hurting and broken, but it will not be done through a
The servant brings justice to the nations.
The servant manifests God’s love and grace to all people. In
feeding the hungry, in acts of healing, in setting the prisoner free, this
called servant is mediating God’s love to all the earth.
In Jesus, we have the ultimate realization of Isaiah’s vision
of the Servant of the Lord.
Now, as His people in the world today, working to establish
God’s justice on earth is not merely an alternative we might consider as part
of our call; it is our call.