Bible Study: Isaiah 42:1-25
Today’s lesson covers the calling and purpose of Christ.
Isaiah Chapter 42
Lessons from the text
It Takes God to Understand God
This chapter brings out the core purpose of Christ: to open the eyes of the blind and lead them down a new path of righteousness. Those who are in sin are stuck in a prison house and do not even know it. Christ came to teach the Jews and then all the world that they needed Him. Even though they had the Law, they were still blind to the truth of God’s character and salvation.
The written word teaches us many things, but we need the living God to understand God. No one can know the depth of God other than God, for He is too vast to be comprehended by the human mind. Instead, we need to discern Him spiritually. We cannot do this on our own, for we only know things of this world. God, after all, is invisible to the natural eye. But the spiritual eye, it can perceive Him. Through the Holy Spirit who dwells in believers, our spirit can commune with His Spirit, and can thus learn the things of God. (I Cor 2:10-16)
The Jews before Jesus came were in the same need. Though they had the Law, they needed God Himself to speak to them, to teach them the truth. Through Jesus, the Scriptures were taught literally from the mouth of God. He gave us the ability to understand the Scriptures. He opened our blinded eyes to see God for who He really is.
Verse by Verse Commentary
1 This servant is a particular man. Since He will bring forth judgment to the Gentiles, this is a reference to Christ. Messiah, in Hebrew, and Christ, in Greek, both mean “anointed one.” To be anointed is to be submerged in something, in this case the Spirit of God.
2-3 Christ did not come to create a big scene. He did not run up and down the streets seeing how many people He could get to listen to Him. Instead, He simply went to those who were in need, and if there was a crowd, so be it. The point is that He came in meekness and taught with gentleness. If one is about broken from the care so this life, He will not break one. The smoking flax refers to a light that is about to go out. God is interested in truth that heals, and Jesus’s message brings salvation to the broken soul.
4 Christ is determined to see His truth spread throughout all the world. While the Gospel is being preached everywhere, Christ’s mission will not be finished until all the earth is obedient to His righteous judgment. This will be fulfilled when He comes back to rule.
5-8 God the Almighty Creator has ordained Christ to perform His righteousness. Christ is a covent to the people—by His death, burial, and resurrection He gave us a new promise and a new way to access God the Father. Noteworthy is that all the miracles listed were performed by Jesus and were meant to bring glory to God. When Christ is glorified, God the Father is glorified for they are one (Jn 10:30). God did not send a human to fulfill His mission; He came Himself.
9 God wanted the people to know that a new covenant was coming. He wants His people to be ready to meet the future.
10-12 In response to this new thing the Lord will do, all the world is to give Him praise. From those who live on the land to those on the seas, in the desert, and in the cities, all are to give God glory and declare what He has done to all the world. One is not to be ashamed of the Gospel. When one is saved, the Holy Spirit fills one with the desire to praise the Lord for what He has done and can do.
13-16 The Lord has kept silent over the sins of the world, but one day He will rise up and destroy His enemy. These verses have a double meaning; when Christ came, He defeated the spiritual power of death, hell, and the grave. He liberated sinners from the darkness of their ways to the new path of righteousness though faith in Jesus Christ.
Additionally, this refers to a future event when God will cast satan into the lake of fire (Rev 20:10). Jesus came in spiritual might the first time, humbling Himself as a servant and learning obedience to God (Phi 2:8), but in the future will come as a conquering warrior (Rev 19:11-16). Believers now have the constant companionship of the Holy Spirit but in the future will have the physical companion of Jesus in New Jerusalem.
17 When God manifests Himself, sinners are ashamed of their ways. In every soul is the knowledge of the living God for each have a consciences. That innate conscience informs one of one’s error. Even if one tries to ignore it and chooses to serve other gods, in the end one has to acknowledge that God is righteous. Whether through conviction in this life or judgment after death, all sinners will be ashamed of their choices.
18-20 Immediately after pronouncing that He will come like a mighty man, God extends grace to the sinner by entering into judgment with them. He pleads for one to recognize one’s error before it is too late to repent. Noteworthy is that those who claim to be God’s servants are not always serving God. Having wisdom in the Scriptures, the Pharisees and teachers of the Law of Jesus’s day could not recognize the He was the Messiah. If one has not accepted God into one’s life, then one may see and read many things about God and yet remained blind to the truth.
21 Even if no one could teach God’s Law, He will make sure that it is magnified. Because it is righteous, God’s Law gains honor among the nations. While Jesus fulfilled the Law of Moses, He gave us two commandants to follow that are now the law of the believer: love God with all your heart, soul, and mind and love your neighbor as yourself (Mt 22:37-39, Jn 13:34). When the believer performs this perfect law, then it is acknowledged as an honorable way of life.
22 In contrast to bringing honor to God’s Law, the Jews of Isaiah’s days were trapped and consumed by their sins.
23 God continually tries to make the sinner aware of his destructive state. One in sin is trapped in a prison house. God is trying to teach people to listen for His calling so that they may be freed from their prison.
24 After giving one space to repent, God can and will deliver one over to the consequences of one’s sin. If one chooses again and again to be without God, then one day God will let one spend eternity without Him, separated forever from His presence in hell.
25 In these verses God reveals an important reason for judgment in this life: He is trying to make people acknowledge Him. After death, it is too late to repent. Therefore, God will allow troubles and wars in this life to try to make one consider one’s state while one can repent. It is not God’s will that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (II Pet 3:9). As His suffering of the cross demonstrates, He is willing to go to whatever end it takes to give us every opportunity to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Thank you for your faithfulness in studying God's word.
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