A Servant of the Lord

Read: Isaiah 42:1-13

Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare. (v. 9)

This beautiful poem is the first of several “Servant Songs” by Isaiah. This Servant is never identified, but described in vivid terms that echo earlier themes of redemption in Isaiah.

The Servant is commissioned and empowered as God places his Spirit on him, calling to mind the Spirit descending on Jesus at his baptism. The mission of the Servant is to bring justice to the nations, thus fulfilling God’s noble plans for society and culture. These are encouraging words for all people who feel weak and discouraged.

The scope of the Servant’s work is global and comprehensive. God has appointed him as his light and promise of hope to the nations. He works to “open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.” (v. 7) That God’s transforming grace would include all nations was a radically new concept for the Jewish people.

The gospel writers affirmed that Isaiah’s prophecies concerning the Servant’s mission to the world were fulfilled in Jesus. These promises are promises for us too; the Servant’s mission extends all the way to us, and far beyond us too. —Gordon Van Wylen

As you pray, thank God for the work of the Servant, Jesus, especially the hope he offers you.

About the Author

Gordon Van Wylen

Gordon Van Wylen served as the Dean of the Engineering School at the University of Michigan, and was the President Emeritus of Hope College. Dr. Van Wylen died in 2020.