Isaiah 42 And The Hope of Christmas


Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his law. (Isaiah 42:1-4)

God has sent His Son to come and be a servant for justice in the world. Cyrus the Great, the rising King of Persia, was a merciless warlord who subdued the weak (Isa. 41:2-3). But this Servant of God that Isaiah speaks of will not rule like Cyrus. He will defend the weak. He comes not with a sword, but a word: “I am the bread of life” (Jn. 6:48).

Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it: “I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols. Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.” (Isaiah 42:5-9)

All-powerful Jehovah, who spoke every atom into existence, has fixed his eyes and attention on the redemption and salvation of His covenant people. Think of it! He gives the entire universe its light, but more importantly and more profoundly, “the true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world” (Jn. 1:9).

Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise from the end of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that fills it, the coastlands and their inhabitants. Let the desert and its cities lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar inhabits; let the habitants of Sela sing for joy, let them shout from the top of the mountains. Let them give glory to the LORD, and declare his praise in the coastlands. The LORD goes out like a mighty man, like a man of war he stirs up his zeal; he cries out, he shouts aloud, he shows himself mighty against his foes. (Isaiah 42:10-13)

In our powerlessness to know God without this true light, and our weakness at the hand of merciless rulers, we worship at the Servant God has brought into the world to establish justice and righteousness. Our response will never be sufficient. “What can I ever do to repay you?” is our heart’s cry to Almighty God. And so, we echo His praises to the ends of the earth.

For a long time I have held my peace; I have kept still and restrained myself; now I will cry out like a woman in labor; I will gasp and pant. I will lay waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their vegetation; I will turn the rivers into islands, and dry up the pools. And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them. They are turned back and utterly put to shame, who trust in carved idols, who say to metal images, “You are our gods.” (Isaiah 42:14-17)

Do not be deterred by the grand language of this passage. God is telling His people that even though it may feel that He is far away, that His promises are growing older, yet the day is really drawing near where His glorious Servant will come into the world. His passion for His people burns with intensity, like the woman in labor. Nothing will stand in the way of God’s gracious redemption of His people.

And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:30-33)

On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. (Revelation 19:16)


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