"Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight.” (Isaiah 42:1))
The prophet Isaiah introduces the “Servant of YHWH,” His chosen One in whom He delights. In Hebrew, the word for “servant” (ebed) can also mean “son.” The servant was like a son to his master. “Behold my servant, behold my son.”
Isaiah goes on to describe the work of this servant of YHWH. He would be despised and rejected, a man of sorrows acquainted with suffering. He would be as a lamb before its shearers, silent and suffering all things. He would be pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities. The servant of YHWH would bear the sins of the many, and as a priest to God, make intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53).
“This is my Son, whom I love, with Him I am well pleased” (St. Matthew 3:17). The Father’s voice at Jesus’ Baptism reveals who Jesus is and makes the connection to the prophetic words of Isaiah. Here is the beloved Servant-Son who is both Priest and Sacrifice, who would bear the sin of the world and make intercession for it. In His Baptism, Jesus is revealed to Israel and to the world as God’s suffering Servant. His Baptism marks Him as the Messiah, and sets Him down a road of sin-bearing toward the destination of His death and resurrection.
“The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many,” (St. Matthew 20:28). His service begins officially and publicly with His Baptism, in which He is revealed to be the Son of God and the One anointed with the Spirit. His work is to open the eyes of the blind, to free the captives from their prison, to release those who sit in the darkness of their dungeons (Isaiah 42:7).
We are the graced recipients of the suffering Servant’s work. The eyes, blinded by sin, have been opened to see Jesus for who He is – Son of God, Son of Man, Savior. The chains of the Law that held us captive to sin have been broken by His perfect life. The dark dungeon of death has been vanquished by His death and opened to the light of His rising.
He is your Servant, come to serve you with His forgiveness, His Body and Blood, His death and life. In Baptism you have become a servant of God’s Servant, united with Him in His death and His resurrection. In Jesus, the chosen Servant-Son, you too are God’s chosen, His servant, in whom He delights.
“Then from God’s throne with thund’rous sound came God’s own voice with words profound: “This is my Son,” was His decree, “The one I love, who pleases Me.” (Hymnal Supplement 98, #816)
Daily Lectionary: Ezekiel 3:12-28, 4:1-11, 25; Romans 2:1-16
Today's Reading: Isaiah 42:1-7
Higher Things would like to thank the Rev. William M. Cwirla, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Hacienda Heights, CA. Pr. Cwirla will be one of the main speakers at BOTH of the "For You" Higher Things Lutheran youth conferences this summer.
Questions or comments regarding the Reflections may be sent to the Rev. Mark Buetow, Reflections Editor, email@example.com.
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