Archive for January, 2016

Jesus the humble servant versus the arrogance of Babylon

January 28th, 2016
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Jesus in his ministry strongly identified himself with the servant described in the book of Isaiah. We see this quite explicitly stated by comparing:

Isaiah 42: 1, 3, 7

1  “Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
    my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
    and he will bring justice to the nations.

3 A bruised reed he will not break,
    and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;

 7 to open eyes that are blind,
    to free captives from prison
    and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.

 Compare this with Matthew 12:15-21,

 15 Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill. 16 He warned them not to tell others about him. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:

18 “Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
    the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
    and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
19 He will not quarrel or cry out;
    no one will hear his voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed he will not break,
    and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,

 Jesus would not risk extinguishing a wick on the verge of going out, and so far would he go in not breaking a reed that he would offer his cheek to those smiting him with one . Thus Jesus demonstrated that he preferred not to fight others when it was not necessary

.till he has brought justice through to victory.
21     In his name the nations will put their hope.”

 This means that when we read about the servant of Isaiah we are reading in its fulfillment Jesus Christ.

 From this text Matthew reminds his readers that Jesus was not a political or warrior Messiah for the present time; he humbled himself as a suffering servant until the time when he would lead justice to victory (12:20).

 In the structure of Isaiah which I shared from Dorsey we saw this chiasm:

 David Dorsey ( Literary Structure of the Old Testament, The: A Commentary on Genesis-Malachi ) outlines Isaiah as a sevenfold chiasm:

A. Condemnation, pleading, promise of future restoration, 1:1-12:6

     B. Oracles to the nations, 13:1-26:21

        C. Woes, 27:1-35:10

            Centre. Historical narrative, 36:1-39:8

        C’. Yahweh triumphs over idols, 40:1-48:22

    B’. Servant Songs, 49:1-54:17

A’. Condemnation, pleading, promise of future restoration, 55:1-66:24

 The B section is a series of ten oracles against various Gentile nations, which are divided into two cycles of 5. The sequence begins with two chapters about Babylon, emphasizing the pride of Babylon and its eventual fall; Babylon comes back in the middle of the section (21:1-17), and then again at the end, this time described as the “lofty city” (24:1ff).

The king of Babylon and Babylon itself represent the main rival to the city of God for the salvation of the world.

I would like to contrast B/B’ i.e. Contrast the pride of Babylon and the humility of the Servant.

 This will help us understand how different is the way of Jesus from the way of this world.

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