Jesus Christ, the Supreme Servant

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Jesus Christ, the Supreme Servant

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Many Christians will be observing the Christian Passover on the evening of April 18 this year. The central focus of that observance is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Yet many others claiming to be Christians do not seem to realize that the apostle Paul commanded Christians to observe Christ's Passover sacrifice (1 Corinthians 11:23-28 1 Corinthians 11:23-28 [23] For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered to you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: [24] And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. [25] After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do you, as oft as you drink it, in remembrance of me. [26] For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the Lord's death till he come. [27] Why whoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. [28] But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
American King James Version×
). He tells us that by partaking of the symbols of that ceremony, we "proclaim the Lord's death till He comes" (verse 26). Jesus Himself promised that He would observe the Passover with His disciples in the coming Kingdom of God (Matthew 26:29 Matthew 26:29But I say to you, I will not drink from now on of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.
American King James Version×
).

The New Testament elaborates on many details of His Passover sacrifice. And throughout the Old Testament, many prophecies speak of this greatest of events.

In the book of Isaiah we find many passages about the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. Let's focus on four passages from the book of Isaiah that have been called the "servant songs" of the Messiah.

These scriptures reveal the tremendous love Jesus has for the people of the earth. They reveal in detail the willingness He would exhibit in paying the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of the world. They prophesy of the Savior who was to come with compassion and courage. These prophecies also look forward to the time when Jesus Christ will return to rule the entire earth in God's coming Kingdom.

Prophecy of "My Servant"

The first of these four passages is Isaiah 42:1-4 Isaiah 42:1-4 [1] Behold my servant, whom I uphold; my elect, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit on him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. [2] He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. [3] A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment to truth. [4] He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.
American King James Version×
. We know that this passage is talking about Christ since it is also quoted in Matthew 12:18-21 Matthew 12:18-21 [18] Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit on him, and he shall show judgment to the Gentiles. [19] He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. [20] A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment to victory. [21] And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.
American King James Version×
as being specifically about Him.

Jesus is here identified as God's Servant, God's elect or chosen One. Verse 1 tells us, "He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles." Thus we see that Jesus did not come to save Israel only; His plan is to reach out to all people of all nationalities and racial origin. All will be saved through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, as long as they repent of their sins, accept Him in faith, and live as He commands.

Continuing in Isaiah 42:2 Isaiah 42:2He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.
American King James Version×
, we read, "He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, nor cause His voice to be heard in the streets." Jesus did not come as a rabble rouser or political activist. As He was being questioned by the Roman governor Pontius Pilate, Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36 John 18:36Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
American King James Version×
). After questioning Christ, Pilate could say only, "I find no fault in Him at all" (verse 38).

Next, in Isaiah 42:3 Isaiah 42:3A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment to truth.
American King James Version×
, we read, "A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench." Jesus is compassionate to the meek and humble. He will comfort and rescue those who are bruised and battered or who are burnt out under the strains of this life.

Jesus, as God's servant, "will not fail nor be discouraged" (verse 4). Indeed, at His second coming He will ultimately establish justice and truth all over the earth. At His return, He will establish God's law to the far reaches of the earth.

Contrary to what many believe, Jesus never came to do away with the law of God. Rather, He came to make it more binding, that is, so God's law can be written in our hearts as part of the very fiber of our being (Hebrews 8:10 Hebrews 8:10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, said the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
American King James Version×
; 10:16). True Christians, upon repentance and acceptance of Christ as Savior and King, will obey God's commandments from the heart (Romans 6:17 Romans 6:17But God be thanked, that you were the servants of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
American King James Version×
).

In Isaiah 42:21 Isaiah 42:21The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness' sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honorable.
American King James Version×
we read that part of Christ's purpose in coming is to "exalt the law and make it honorable." This is so different from the false concept many hold that the Ten Commandments are archaic and have been done away.

"The Redeemer of Israel"

The second servant passage about Christ is found in Isaiah 49:7 Isaiah 49:7Thus said the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despises, to him whom the nation abhors, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose you.
American King James Version×
. Here He is referred to as "the Redeemer of Israel." This prophecy foretells that although many would despise Him at His first coming, when the Kingdom of God is established after His return even royal families—kings and princes—will come to worship Him.

Total submission to God's will

In Isaiah 50:4-10 Isaiah 50:4-10 [4] The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakens morning by morning, he wakens my ear to hear as the learned. [5] The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. [6] I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. [7] For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. [8] He is near that justifies me; who will contend with me? let us stand together: who is my adversary? let him come near to me. [9] Behold, the Lord GOD will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? see, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up. [10] Who is among you that fears the LORD, that obeys the voice of his servant, that walks in darkness, and has no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay on his God.
American King James Version×
, we read the third prophecy, which speaks of the courage of Jesus Christ. It gives insight into how He faced the tremendous trial of torture and crucifixion. He was neither rebellious to His Father's will, nor did He run and hide.

After fervent prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed that the Father's will would be done (Matthew 26:42 Matthew 26:42He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, your will be done.
American King James Version×
). He went forward to meet His captors (verse 46). He insisted that His apostles be let free (John 18:8 John 18:8Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore you seek me, let these go their way:
American King James Version×
).

He could have called for 12 legions (72,000) of angels (Matthew 26:53 Matthew 26:53Think you that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
American King James Version×
), but instead He willingly gave His back to those who scourged Him (Matthew 27:26 Matthew 27:26Then released he Barabbas to them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.
American King James Version×
; Isaiah 50:6 Isaiah 50:6I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.
American King James Version×
). Because of His great love for humankind, He even allowed evil men to spit in His face (Isaiah 50:6 Isaiah 50:6I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.
American King James Version×
; Matthew 27:30 Matthew 27:30And they spit on him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.
American King James Version×
).

Isaiah 50:7-8 Isaiah 50:7-8 [7] For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. [8] He is near that justifies me; who will contend with me? let us stand together: who is my adversary? let him come near to me.
American King James Version×
says that Jesus Christ would not be disgraced nor ashamed. Even though He was to suffer a cruel death, ultimately He would be crowned with glory and honor (Hebrews 2:9 Hebrews 2:9But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
American King James Version×
). In the coming Kingdom of God, all people will worship the One who saved them from their sins.

Detailed prophecies of Christ's suffering

In the longest servant passage of Isaiah (Isaiah 52:13 Isaiah 52:13Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.
American King James Version×
through 53:12), we read prophecies of His suffering—all for the purpose of washing away our sins.

In Isaiah 52:14 Isaiah 52:14As many were astonished at you; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:
American King James Version×
we read that His physical appearance "was marred more than any man." In verse 15 we read that many nations and kings will be shocked, dismayed and brought to repentance when they, too, realize that it was their sins—along with yours and mine—that made it necessary for Jesus Christ to be nailed to the cross.

In Isaiah 53:2 Isaiah 53:2For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he has no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
American King James Version×
, we read that Jesus had no special form or appearance, "no beauty or majesty to attract us to him" (New International Version). Even though the common perception of Jesus is a man in white, flowing robes with a piercing stare, Scripture shows that He looked like an ordinary
Jewish man of His day.

Verse 4 foretold that Jesus would bear our griefs and sorrows—the pains, heartbreaks, discouragement and sicknesses we all face in life. Ultimately, our Savior came to heal us of every malady—spiritual, physical and emotional wounds!

Verses 5-6 state that He was willing to be beaten and disfigured by the Roman scourging because it was the will of God to lay on His shoulders "the iniquity of us all."

Verses 7-9 reveal that the Lamb of God was led to the slaughter (by means of an unfair and hastily assembled court) to pay for the transgression of God's people. Finally, Isaiah 53 promises that God's righteous Servant would justify (deliver from sin) those who will turn to Him (verse 11).

Our coming King of Kings

When Jesus came to earth the first time, He came as a willing servant to pay for the sins of humanity. We must also keep in mind that He is coming again soon, this time as the world-ruling " King of kings and Lord of lords" (Revelation 19:16 Revelation 19:16And he has on his clothing and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
American King James Version×
). In His coming Kingdom, every knee will bow before Him (Philippians 2:9-11 Philippians 2:9-11 [9] Why God also has highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: [10] That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; [11] And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
American King James Version×
).

At the present time God is calling many to become a part of His spiritual household, though only few will respond (Matthew 22:14 Matthew 22:14For many are called, but few are chosen.
American King James Version×
). He may very well be calling you to repentance, faith, baptism and an ongoing spiritual relationship—as well as to have an important part in the coming Kingdom.

If you believe you are being called, we urge you to heed this precious call and respond now to the mercies of the One who suffered and died for you. Do not postpone what will be the most important decision of your life!

If you would like a minister to assist you in learning more about this life-changing experience, contact the regional office of the United Church of God nearest you. Or you may contact us online at www.ucg.org. May Almighty God bless you as you seek Him in this most vital of all endeavors. GN

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