Isaiah 42:1 “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight.”
Do you know who is really speaking here? Isaiah wrote the words, but he was writing for God the Father in heaven. If you were a servant, you couldn’t ask for a better reference. And the servant to whom he is referring is Jesus.
That Jesus is a servant may not sound impressive to our modern ears. Servants are at the low end of the scale in both pay and prestige. In our culture not many people have the title “Servant,” but we may think of people in the “service” economy: the people who wait on us at restaurants or bag our groceries, the people who make minimum wage. Many regard such people as being at the lower end of society. For some, the idea of being someone else’s servant or slave even sounds belittling.
We are also inclined to skepticism about others serving us. When someone suddenly does something especially kind for you or me, we become suspicious. What do they want? What are they expecting in return? We have trouble believing that they don’t have some ulterior motive for doing us a favor.
But in the mouth of God the Father, the title “Servant” is both the highest compliment and an absolute certainty. One does not please God by trying to impress him with what an important and powerful person I am. God values humble submission. And Jesus came to do just that, not just to God the Father, but even to you and me. There were no ulterior motives. He genuinely loved us so much that made himself our servant, and he has served all of us in the humblest of ways—trading heavenly home for a corrupt creation, heavenly glory for earthly humanity, and heavenly throne for an uncomfortable cross.
For his service, no one has ever gained God’s approval the way Jesus has. The Lord describes him as “my chosen one in whom I delight.” You know that God the
Father has impossibly high standards when it comes to gaining his approval. Nothing less than sheer perfection qualifies. A single mistake, a single misstep, a single sin, and all is lost. As he says in the book of James, “Whoever keeps the whole law, and yet stumbles at just one point, is guilty of breaking all of it.”
Yet God the Father finds nothing but delight in his Son Jesus Christ. We hear him repeat it at Jesus’ baptism, and later at his transfiguration, “This is my Son, whom I love, in whom I am well pleased.” This goes far beyond toleration or acceptance. You know the difference between those gifts you merely accepted this holiday season, and those that really got you excited and filled you with delight. God the Father looks at Jesus’ life of service, and it tickles him. He is filled with delight by the pure, perfect love of Jesus’ ministry.
A more powerful reference cannot be requested by those who are looking for someone to fulfill the task of Savior.