[Reprinted with permission of the author]
“Notice My Servant! I will uphold Him. My Chosen, the Delight of My soul! I gave
My Spirit upon Him. He shall cause judgment to go forth to the nations. He will
not cry out and He will not lift up or cause His voice to be heard in the street. A bent
reed He will not break off and a smoldering wick He will not put out. For truth He shall
cause judgment to go forth. He will not be weak and He will not be broken off until He
has set judgment on the earth, and the islands will wait for His Torah.”
Thus says the Almighty, Yahweh, who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who hammered out the earth and the things that spring from her; He gave breath unto
people upon her and spirit to those who walk on her, “I, Yahweh, called You in
rightness and I will seize Your hand and watch over You and give You for a
guarantee of people, a light to nations, to open the eyes of blind ones, to cause a
captive one to go out of a prison, from a house of bondage those who sit in darkness. A
I am Yahweh. That’s My name, and My honor 1 will not give to another, nor My
praise to idols. The former things —- notice, they came -— and brand new, unheard of
things I am declaring before they spring forth. I am causing you all to hear.” (Isaiah
42:1-7) How do you feel when you hear the word ‘judgment”‘? What do you think of when
you hear of God’s judgment coming upon the earth?
It seems most people think of God’s judgment in terms of Judgment Day, the end
of the world, the “Great White Throne Judgment”. This makes most people
nervous, even frightened. Yes, even Christians often have some concerns about
standing before the Lord God, Maker of heaven and earth, and being judged.
We know we aren’t perfect. We struggle to get life right. We easily get God’s
responsibilities confused with our responsibilities. Some wrestle with doubts and fears.
They find it hard to forgive others. They get angry at God. Sometimes they lose hope
and just feel like quitting. And here we are today. Yahweh declares, “Notice My Servant! . . . He will
cause judgment to go forth to the nations. . . . For truth He will cause judgment to go
But wait! Didn’t we talk of Jesus as Emmanuel throughout December? Didn’t
the angel say Jesus would save His people from their sins? Then what’s all this talk
about judgment? Indeed Jesus is this chosen Servant of Yahweh. “I will uphold Him. My Chosen,
the Delight of My soul! I gave My Spirit to Him.” That was the promise long ago.
And we see it happen in the Gospels. “As soon as Jesus was baptized He came up
out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened. Jesus saw the Spirit of God
coming down on Him like a dove. A voice from heaven said, ‘This is My Son and I
love Him. I am very pleased with Him.’” So it is that Jesus was anointed for
judgment. Yet this judgment was not at all what most people think of as judgment. “He
will not cry out and He will not lift up nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. A
bent reed He will not break off and a smoldering wick He will not put out. For
truth He shall cause judgment to go forth. He will not be weak and He will not be
broken off until He has set judgment on the earth, and the islands will wait for His
Jesus did not come to terrorize people. He did not come to scare them straight. He
did not come to bully. He did not come to shout and yell. He did not come to make a
fuss or kick up chaos. He did not come to shout in our face, “I am right; you are
wrong!” He did not come to rub our nose in our sin, or in our weakness.
He came to save. That’s what His judgment is all about.
There are many people in this world who have been beaten by life. Sickness,
troubles, abuse, addictions, pain, sadness and such have worn them down. They’re
like old cattails that have been hammered by hard winter storms and hungry cattle. They
are so beaten they are barely alive. Mostly they just go through the motions of life.
And this Servant comes to save them. He doesn’t destroy such “bent reeds”. He
doesn’t throw away people crushed by life. He comes to heal and renew, to restore and
uplift. He comes to give them the judgment of life.
There are people in the world who have been very disappointed by life. They’ve
been lied to, cheated, betrayed, used, ripped off. They have faith in almost nothing.
They’re like a candle wick so deprived of air that is barely smolders. Their faith is but
a spark. They give off much more smoke than light. Normally with a wick like that, people
just snuff it out as useless. But not Jesus. He came to save them. He does not put out
a “smoldering wick”. He does not snuff out their last tiny spark of desperate wish that
perhaps something, some one, is true. He comes to nurture that spark. He gently
breaths His Word and Spirit on them to feed that spark to bring them into full, bright
faith. He comes to give them the judgment of life.
And He will carry this out. He will not become weak or timid or feeble. He sees
the Father’s plan through. That’s why He prayed early each morning. That’s why He
cried out in Gethsemane. He was anointed to carry the condemnation of the world. He carried all
our sin and shame and guilt. It beat Him until He was a bent reed. But He was not
broken off until the judgment was finished. He took the judgment of hell for you and
Thus He set the saving judgment on the earth. His Torah, His Word, is for all
people near and far. This judgment declares, “You are forgiven and innocent
before God.” That’s what the Almighty declares. Yahweh, the Eternal One, “who created the
heavens and stretched them out, who hammered out the earth and the things that
spring from her,” says, “My Chosen is anointed for the judgment of your
salvation.” “He gave breath”, physical life, “unto people upon” earth “and spirit”, spiritual
life, “to those who walk upon her.” If` you are one of these dwellers on earth, then this
judgment is for you. So Yahweh promised to His Servant, your Savior, “I, Yahweh, called You in
rightness, in justice and integrity, and I will seize Your hand and watch over You and
give You for a guarantee to people, a light to nations.” The Father gave Jesus, held
Him and led Him, to give you and all other people light. Jesus’ purpose is to reveal the
Father to you. In seeing Jesus, you see God who created you. Here you find that Creator
is not your enemy. He loves you and He is working to bring you into and keep you in
the warmth and safety of His love. He is your refuge and safe place in this dark,
scary, dangerous, abusive world. In the light of Christ you can see the true God and
rest in His peace. Jesus is the guarantee of that — God’s promise sealed in blood upon
the cross. “Yahweh gives strength to His people. Yahweh blesses His people with
Jesus is anointed for judgment “to cause a captive one to go out of a prison, from a
house of bondage those who sit in darkness, misery, trouble.” “We know that what we
used to be was nailed to the cross with Him.
That happened so our sinful bodies would lose their power. We are no longer slaves to
sin. Those who have died have been set free from sin.” You are set free because you are
united to Jesus’ death through Baptism. This is no small thing for Yahweh. Not
just anyone can make this judgment of life and salvation be real. “I am Yahweh.
That’s My name, and My honor I will not give to another nor My praise to idols.”
There is only one way to be in this good judgment for which we praise the Lord.
That is Jesus. He is the Way and no one comes to the Father except through Him.
This is why God gave His Son. He wanted to make plain to all the nations, to
all people, how we can come to God in a good way. “Praise Yahweh, you mighty angels.
Praise Yahweh for His glory and strength. Praise Yahweh for the glory that belongs to
Him. Worship Yahweh because of His beauty and holiness …. And in His temple
everyone cries out, ‘Glory!”’ “The former things — notice, they came.”
Yes, your past is what it is. Those things happened. What you have experienced and
felt are real. But your past is not your whole story.”Brand new, unheard of things I am
declaring before they spring forth and happen. I am causing you all to hear.”
He is talking to you, each one of you specifically, this day. He has a future for
you very different from your past. This is a future you haven’t even imagined. And you
won’t fully understand it until you live it.
But you can know its beginning. This too is something no one imagined, and some
people still try to deny. “Don’t you know that as many of us as were baptized into
Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? By being baptized, we were buried with
Christ into his death. Christ has been raised from the dead by the Father’s glory. And so
we also shall walk in a brand new kind of life.” It is to bring you into this new life
that Yahweh’s Servant was anointed for judgment. Amen
Rev. Daniel Jacobs is the pastor of Crow Lutheran Church – Crow Agency, MT