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Isaiah 42:1-9 (CEB)

God’s servant described

42 But here is my servant, the one I uphold;
    my chosen, who brings me delight.
I’ve put my spirit upon him;
    he will bring justice to the nations.
He won’t cry out or shout aloud
    or make his voice heard in public.
He won’t break a bruised reed;
    he won’t extinguish a faint wick,
    but he will surely bring justice.
He won’t be extinguished or broken
    until he has established justice in the land.
The coastlands await his teaching.

God the Lord says—
    the one who created the heavens,
    the one who stretched them out,
    the one who spread out the earth and its offspring,
    the one who gave breath to its people
    and life to those who walk on it—
I, the Lord, have called you for a good reason.
    I will grasp your hand and guard you,
    and give you as a covenant to the people,
    as a light to the nations,
    to open blind eyes, to lead the prisoners from prison,
    and those who sit in darkness from the dungeon.
I am the Lord;
    that is my name;
    I don’t hand out my glory to others
        or my praise to idols.
The things announced in the past—look—they’ve already happened,
    but I’m declaring new things.
    Before they even appear,
    I tell you about them.


Heading into Holy Week, I always feel that we start off at the apex, the joy of Palm Sunday, the mountain top experience. Then it seems it’s all downhill from there to the crucifixion on Good Friday, ending in grief and lament. But we know how the story ends. Now imagine that you were one of Jesus’ followers, and you had no idea there would be resurrection and transformation at the end of the story.

When Jesus entered Jerusalem to a conquering hero’s welcome, his followers must have thought this was the moment of victory for the Messiah. But it wasn’t going to end the way they hoped. What comes after is God’s victory over sin and death through God’s love and grace, poured out for us through the death of Jesus on the cross. The risen Jesus then gives us a call to action, to share the good news and to disciple others as we have been discipled.

Reading this passage from Isaiah, we see it was written to give the people hope. In the midst of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, the people of Judah were enslaved and taken to Babylon, where the people lamented their fate. This message from Isaiah speaks of God’s servant, given “as a covenant to the people, a light to all nations.”

As Christians we see this Isaiah passage describing God’s servant, in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. In contrast to the brutal power of this world, the suffering servant, described as a “bruised reed” and a “smoldering wick,” will be given the Spirit of God to transform our brokenness and ignite us into flame, to be the light of the world.

by Jeneene Reduker

For Pondering and Prayer

Through Jesus, God’s servant, we are restored to right relationship with God and called to do the work of God’s Kin-dom. As we are baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection so we too, as the church, become servants of God, led by God’s Spirit. As followers of Jesus we know what comes after grief and lament, it’s new life in Christ and the call to share the good news with others and to disciple others as we have been discipled. How are we living out this call from Jesus in our life, in our church and in the world?

Holy and Loving God, renew in our hearts the call of Jesus to share the good news with others and to disciple others for the transformation of the world. Amen.