The last section of Isaiah at ch40 opened with “Comfort, comfort my people”, bringing hope of restoration to the people of Isaiah under threat from outside forces and their own sin. Chater 49 starts the next section with “Listen to me, O coastlands and give attention you people from afar.” The prophetic horizon is broadening. On v6 Isaiah prophetically declares restoring the tribes of Jacob is too small a thing – the call is to be a light to the nations that salvation may reach the ends of the earth.
The suffering Jews need more than release from Babylon, a saviour greater than Cyrus, they need this suffering servant who is the Messiah.
Fix your eyes upon Jesus
His mouth is like a sharp sword. While Cyrus wielded weapns to have his way, Jesus wields weapons that are not of this world, that nevertheless destroy strongholds (pretensions that set themselves against God). He is is the Word of God, whose words penetrate just like the sharpened arrow (v2)
In verse 3 he is identified as Israel. Not the Israel that needed comforting because of failure, but the substitute Israel – the Messiah. everything in the Old Testament points to Jesus, including the nation Israel. The Old Testament has built in obsolence, becase Jesus has come.
Verse 4 tells us something of jesus’ psychology – he felt failure – “I have laboured in vain”. he was despised, rejected, abandoned. He cried out “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?” YET, says v4, surely my right is withthe Lord and my recompense is with God. Jesus saw the joy set before him, clung to it by faith and won the victory for us. He is the saviour of the whole earth who comes to Him. He is the light for the nations v6 – John 8:12 “Iam the light of the world”
Jesus is so different from earthly rulers and politicians.He doesn’t fight arrogance and pride with arrogance and pride – he does the opposite he came in humiliation and shame. Emptying himself to come as a servant. That’s the way of the Lord – humiliation leads to vindication. One day those arrogant kings and politicians will prostrate themselves befor God.
Jesus come as the embodiment of the covenant to His people. He is a Ray Ortlund wrote “The very embodiment of God’s pledge of grace to us.” He will “keep us”, set prisoners free, release from darkness, feed along the way, lead us to spring waters, guide us up mountain paths, bring comfort and compassion to the afflicted.
Oh how I love Jesus!