Monday, December 5, 2011

God's Servant Described

The Lord stands as the Judge in a dramatic courtroom scene.  All the idols and gods of this world are brought before Him to decide if they have the power to foresee the future or to bring to pass the things they say will happen.  Every promise of salvation, power and meaning that is not from God is brought before him and every one of them fails miserably.  Every idol of this world is exposed as incompetent and impotent – they cannot do what they claim and lack the power needed to fulfill their promises.  So, it turns out, “they are all a delusion” (Is. 41:29).

So the next step is a dramatic one: “Behold my servant, whom I uphold.”  God takes our attention off the constant failures of this world to His Man, His will, His Servant – His Son, Jesus Christ.  In direct contrast to the manufactured gods of wood and stone (and marketing and circuitry), God wants us to consider and understand how His Servant will be different.  And it is the difference between the light and the dark, between the false and the true, between life and death.

To begin with, God’s Servant is upheld by His power.  Every other false god may claim a certain kind of power or potency, but all of them fail to have the divine power within them.  Jesus is not just the Servant of God, He is the very presence and power of God among us.  He is, as Isaiah says elsewhere, Emmanuel – God who is with us.  We cannot escape the reality of the power of God because it was the literal presence of God on earth in the birth of Jesus Christ.

The Servant is God’s chosen to perform His will.  God knows we fail and falter even when we are at our best as we live out this life of a disciple, so His chosen Servant will not fail.  We are faithless, He will be faithful.  God’s desire for this world will be done, and it will be accomplished through the Servant.

And surprisingly enough, the Servant is the focus of God’s delight on earth.  Early in Jesus’ ministry, He went to John the Baptist to be baptized and it was one of the rare moments in the New Testament when the heavens opened and God spoke audibly.  He said,  “You are my beloved Son, in you I am well pleased.”  God delights in his Son; God delighted in the birth of his Son on the first Christmas day.

And the Servant will be lead by the power and wisdom of the Spirit of God.  Jesus told the disciples that the Spirit of God would be their comforter and guide in all truth and the will of the Father.  It turns out he knew the same Spirit.  If we return to Jesus’ baptism, we see God the Son rise out of the water, God the Father speak His delight, and God the Spirit descend upon Christ in the form of a dove – a wonderful image of the Triune God in harmony.  We read nearly the same scene in Isaiah 42:1.  God the Father speaks of His delight in the Servant, God the Son, upon whom God the Spirit will rest.

We cannot ascend to the Father through any achievement, speculation or desire.  We cannot construct an ideology, a movement, or a program that has the power to guide and heal the human condition.  Every one of our hand-crafted idols is a false hope, so we need a true Savior.  Because we could not ascend and become like Him, He descended and became one of us.  Because we live in the visible and material the invisible and immaterial God stepped into human flesh taking on the form of a servant.

In the birth of one infant on the first Christmas day we are able to behold the Servant of God.

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