Isaiah 42:1-9 is the first of four Servant Songs found in Isaiah. In this first song, God introduces His servant. In this passage the servant is the nation of Israel, though this will be developed in the other songs and ultimately point to the Messiah. In vs. 1-4 God shares His purpose for His servant Israel. In these verses the theme of justice is mentioned three times (vs. 1,3,4).
The Lord desires that Israel would be agents of transformation in the world. He desires to work through His people to overcome the curse and make right what has been marred by the fall. They are to do this gently with meekness (vs.2-3). They are to be a covenant people who will serve as a light to the nations to open the eyes of the blind and free people from bondage.
Israel never attained God’s desire for the nation. In the latter parts of Isaiah 42, the Lord says they are blind and deaf. The people who were supposed to be a light to the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, are themselves blind. God’s plan to make things right, to bring forth justice, will have to wait.
Jumping ahead to the Gospel of Mark, we find the Gospel of Jesus Christ as it was written by Isaiah the prophet (Mark 1:1-2). In Mark 1:9-11 Jesus is baptized by John. The heavens are torn open (apocalyptic language), and the Spirit descends upon Jesus like a dove. Then God speaks, proclaiming Jesus as his beloved son and stating his approval. Notice the similarity between Isaiah 42:1 and Mark 1:10-11.
Like Israel in the exodus event (1 Corinthians 10:1-4), Jesus is passing through the waters of baptism and heading into the wilderness to be tested. In doing so he is identifying with Israel, but unlike the nation He will not fail. He will not succumb to the enemy. He will overcome, and in doing so He will bring forth the justice that God intended His people to accomplish.
Jesus, the true Israel, overcomes the curse and begins to make right what has been marred by the fall. This is the Gospel of God, the good news that the kingdom of God is breaking into this fallen world (Mark 1:14-15). When we repent and believe, we follow the Lord in baptism. In so doing, we publicly identify with Christ and enter into His work of being a light to the nations (Isaiah 42:6, Matt 5:14), bringing forth justice.
As a church we believe the gospel is about more than where we will spend our afterlife. The good news of God is that, in Christ Jesus, He is overcoming the fall and bringing about His desire for the world. As Christians we are blessed to have privilege and responsibility to enter into this work under the authority of King Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit, and for the glory of the Father. We are called to be agents of transformation because the gospel has implications for here and now.
Patrick Hubbard has an extensive business and ministry background. He worked in the hospitality industry as a General Manager and as a Regional Manager. Along with his wife Bárbara, he is part owner of Freegrance Products LLC, a social enterprise seeking to empower women to escape poverty and avoid human trafficking. Patrick and Bárbara are also the founders of Living Bread Ministries where they have committed over thirteen years to comprehensive ministry among the global poor. He has also served as a staff member of a local church. Patrick holds a BS in Religious Studies and a MA in Global Studies from Liberty University. He is currently pursuing a MBA from Old Dominion University.