Sunday 13 January 2013 11.00am

Blog 13: Isaiah 42:1-9 ‘His servant.’

Inserted in the second half of Act 7[1] is the first of the Servant Songs (42:1-4). Scholars argue as to whether these had an original separate existence and are inserted here or, as now seems more likely, they are poems[2] composed in the totality of the Vision. There are many references to ‘the servant’ outside of these poems.

Nonetheless these four verses are a wonderful description of ‘the Servant of the Lord’ – most likely Israel was the servant envisaged when these poems were created – but Christians have always seen them as a clear description of Jesus Christ, the ultimate Servant of the Lord. This is especially so of the fourth, ‘the suffering servant[3]’. Our vocabulary for the crucifixion and all its attendant circumstances would be desperately reduced without this passage.

Jesus is the one who does not break the bruised reed or snuff out the dimly burning candle – he is the one will not grow faint or be crushed until he has established justice in the earth.

But it is perfectly legitimate to transpose post Christ the role of the servant to those who believe in him – so here we have a powerful description of or manifesto for the Church of Jesus Christ – his servant in the world.

So an appropriate passage to study as we launch our Strategic Plan for the next five years – Hope to see you Sunday am.


[1] Act 7 runs from 40:1 to 44:23. It is the first of the ‘Servant Songs’ that are identified in Isaiah 40-55. The four are 42:1-4, 49:1-6, 50:4-9 and perhaps the best known 52:13 – 53:12

[2] As the centered typescript of most Bibles shows, almost all of Isaiah 40-66 is poetry

[3] 52:13 – 53:12