What Savior Do You Seek?

by Bethany

Today’s Readings: Isaiah 49, Revelation 19

The Problem

God’s answer to Israel’s political problem was an earthly messiah.  Cyrus king of Persia would overthrow the Babylonian Empire, release Israel from exile, and restore God’s people to Jerusalem.

Yet, Isaiah’s good news is not merely a message of political freedom.  He also speaks of another Messiah that would answer Israel’s sin problem [1] by rescuing them from spiritual exile.

The Type

According to Isaiah, the Servant would be divine and human.  As divine, He would speak with authority: “Listen to Me, O islands … ” [2].  As human, He would have a mother and a name: “The LORD called Me from the womb; From the body of My mother He named Me” [3].

He would also be a prophet, yielding the Word as a weapon: “He has made My mouth like a sharp sword” [4].  Yet, God would hide Him for a time: “In the shadow of His hand He has concealed Me” [5].

The Task

He would bring Israel back to God: “To bring Jacob back to Him, so that Israel might be gathered to Him” [6] and all nations as well: “I will also make You a light of the nations, So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth” [7].

He would be called, “Israel,” [8] because He would possess the qualities that Israel lacked.  He would bring forth justice, be a light to the nations, listen to and obey the Lord, and remain faithful to God. Thus, He would function as Israel was always intended to.

The Fulfillment

Jesus is the Servant because He fits the type.  He is divine [9] and human [10].  He is a prophet, speaking words that penetrate [11].  Finally, He was hidden until the right time in history arrived [12].

Moreover, He fulfills the task.  He is the new Israel and “the true vine” [13].  Where Israel failed to trust God in the wilderness [14], Jesus trusted Him in the desert [15].  Thus, He is able to gather God’s people and bring salvation to the world.

The Savior

Although Cyrus was Israel’s political savior, Jesus would be their ultimate one – the one they were to long for and the one to whom all of history points.

Is He the Savior whom you seek, the one who answers your deepest problem?  Or do you seek after lesser and temporary saviors who merely do the bidding of the Lord?

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[1] See Isaiah 1-5  |  [2] Isaiah 49:1 NASB  |  [3] Isaiah 49:1 NASB  |  [4] Isaiah 49:2 NASB  |  [5] Isaiah 49:2 NASB  |  [6] Isaiah 49:5 NASB  |  [7] Isaiah 49:6 NASB  |  [8] Although Isaiah refers to the Servant as “Israel” (v. 3), we know that he cannot be referring to the nation of Israel because (1) at this point, Israel doesn’t exist, and (2) Israel – unlike the Servant mentioned here – is imperfect and unable to save itself.  Thus, Israel must refer to a person – namely, the Servant of the Lord.  |  [9] One of the main ways that Jesus claimed divinity was by forgiving sins: “When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’   Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, ‘Why does this fellow talk like that?  He is blaspheming!  Who can forgive sins but God alone?’” (Mark 2:5-7 NIV).  [10] Genesis 3:15, Isaiah 7, Psalm 22  |  [11] Ephesians 6, Revelation 1:16  |  [12] John 1, Hebrews 1:1 |  [13] The vine was the symbol of Israel (John 15:1-6).  |  [14] Exodus 14-17  |  [15] Luke 4:1-13

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