One Comment to “My Chosen One in Whom I Delight”

  1. Pastor Don
    January 2, 2018

    “My Chosen One in Whom I Delight” (Isaiah 42:1-12)(12.31.17)

    Isaiah 42:1–12 (NIV84) The Servant of the Lord
    42 “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.
    2 He will not shout or cry out,
    or raise his voice in the streets.
    3 A bruised reed he will not break,
    and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
    In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
    4 he will not falter or be discouraged
    till he establishes justice on earth.
    In his law the islands will put their hope.”
    5 This is what God the Lord says—
    he who created the heavens and stretched them out,
    who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it,
    who gives breath to its people,
    and life to those who walk on it:
    6 “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness;
    I will take hold of your hand.
    I will keep you and will make you
    to be a covenant for the people
    and a light for the Gentiles,
    7 to open eyes that are blind,
    to free captives from prison
    and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
    8 “I am the Lord; that is my name!
    I will not give my glory to another
    or my praise to idols.
    9 See, the former things have taken place,
    and new things I declare;
    before they spring into being
    I announce them to you.”
    10 Sing to the Lord a new song,
    his praise from the ends of the earth,
    you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it,
    you islands, and all who live in them.
    11 Let the desert and its towns raise their voices;
    let the settlements where Kedar lives rejoice.
    Let the people of Sela sing for joy;
    let them shout from the mountaintops.
    12 Let them give glory to the Lord
    and proclaim his praise in the islands.
    The word of God for the people of God.
    Title: “My Chosen One in Whom I Delight”
    There have been a series of commercials on this Christmas season about the difficulty of buying the right gift for the right person. One of them featured a middle aged woman wrapping plaid pajamas for her husband’s gift when he comes in wearing the exact same pajamas, which apparently she gave him last year. Yes, giving the right gift can be challenging especially if you have been giving that person gifts for decades.
    Another evidence of this challenge is the rise in Gift Cards. Nowadays, $160 billion are spent each year on gift cards. There are actual plastic gift cards. There are “e-gift cards” that can be redeemed online or you can print them out. There are also Mobile gift cards that you bring up on your smart phone and the store is able to process them. When you give gift cards, you don’t have to worry about your gift being rejected and returned or exchanged. Surprisingly, 7-10% of gift cards are never redeemed at all. Sometimes they are lost and sometimes they just expire.
    In today’s Isaiah scripture, God is promising a very special gift, in a person, the person of Jesus. Jesus is the servant, the chosen one, the one in whom God delights. Jesus will be filled with the Spirit of God and He will set the world aright with justice, hope, and light. There will be a new way established.
    During the Children’s Chat, I taught them from Jesus’ own words that the Bible is about Jesus. He is the “scarlet thread” that runs through it all. We will start by demonstrating this truth, while at the same time validating God’s prophetic claims.
    Matthew 12:13–21 (NIV84) provides a direct bridge to Isa 42. Jesus is healing a man on the Sabbath.
    13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. 14 But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.
    15 Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. Many followed him, and he healed all their sick, 16 warning them not to tell who he was. 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,
    till he leads justice to victory.
    21 In his name the nations will put their hope.”
    This proves that Jesus is the Servant of God spoken of in Isaiah. It proves the power of God’s prophecy. And, it supports the inerrancy of your Bible.
    The nation of Israel had waited hundreds of years for this fulfillment of promise. In the Luke scripture that Hannah read, the righteous and devout Simeon was living to see the Lord’s Christ. He recognized the truth of who baby Jesus was and praised God and said his life was complete. Notice that Simeon quoted God’s proclamation in Isaiah 42 saying this child would be a light to the Gentiles.
    Not unlike Simeon, there was the prophetess Anna. She was an aging widow who was constantly worshiping God in the temple. She recognized baby Jesus as the source of salvation, the redeemer of Israel.
    How about you? Is Jesus precious to you? Do you delight in your Savior? Have you opened the gift and looked into the depth of its beauty?
    At the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry, John the Baptist baptized Him in the Jordan River. Matthew 3:16–17 (NIV84) 16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
    Later in Jesus’ ministry, Jesus took Peter, John, and James up onto the Mount of Transfiguration. Jesus is being seen in a glorified form and God interrupts Peter.
    Matthew 17:5 (NIV84)
    5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
    Peter provides an account of this in 2 Peter 1:16–18
    16 We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.
    So, I gave gone to significant length to tie the New Testament Jesus with Isaiah 42. And, we have seen just how precious God the Son is to God the Father. In fact, there are several other references that use the same descriptions of Jesus.
    Unfortunately, too many people have rejected this most excellent gift of God. We need Christmas each year to remind believers and beckon others to Jesus. And yet, many have continued to reject or neglect this opportunity. They continue to open gifts year after year and are never satisfied. As BJ Thompson said, “Until Jesus is enough nothing else will be.”
    1 Peter 2:4–8 (NIV84) Peter tells us,
    4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For in Scripture it says:
    “See, I lay a stone in Zion,
    a chosen and precious cornerstone,
    and the one who trusts in him
    will never be put to shame.”
    7 Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,
    “The stone the builders rejected
    has become the capstone,”
    8 and,
    “A stone that causes men to stumble
    and a rock that makes them fall.”
    They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.
    Simeon told Mary at Jesus’ dedication at the Temple, “Many would rise or fall because of their response to Jesus.” Each of us is accountable for our treatment of God’s Chosen One in Whom God delights.
    Paul exhorts us, 2 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV84)
    5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?
    Then we have an even greater warning in Hebrews 6:4–6
    4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6 if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.
    As dire as this warning is, we find tenderness and encouragement in the “bruised reed” and “smoldering wick” metaphors of Isaiah that are repeated in Matthew. A bruised reed is a person or thing that is weak or likely to fail. Frequently, when I light the altar candles I will get too close to the wick. Even though I am trying to be careful, I break it or knock it over so that it will not light at all or it quickly goes out.
    Think about how often we injure those we love and care about. It may happen through carelessness, callousness, and sometimes even out of anger. With those we don’t have special feelings for we may be even less thoughtful. But, both the old and new testaments tell us that Jesus will give special care to the weak and defenseless. Jesus will in no way whatsoever harm the weak and vulnerable. And more than that, he will pursue justice on their behalf.
    Justice is not just about judgement; although that is certainly included. Justice is specified three times in the first four verses of Isaiah 42 and the protection of the bruised reed and smoldering wick are sandwiched between the first and second justice. It is a widespread justice-a justice to the nations and it will be established throughout the earth.
    Isn’t there a part of every one of us that desires justice? We want the cruel, the violent, and the oppressors to get what is due them. And, we want to see the downtrodden lifted up. Here and other places, we are told the blind will see and the captives will be freed from prison. Do you know anyone who lives in a dungeon of darkness? These unfortunate people are all around us. Maybe you yourself have in the past or even now this morning feel smothered in darkness and depression. Jesus brings release, restoration, redemption; but more, Jesus brings resurrection.
    You see, our God promised to do a new thing and He has done it. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given. The angels announced his birth. The shepherds witnessed his arrival. Mary and Joseph pondered these things in their heart and their hearts would be pierced.
    Christ, the Messiah, was not coming only for the nation of Israel, but for the whole world. To early Israel the western islands and the coastland were the frontier of their world. The Gentiles, everyone who is not a Jew, would receive a light. We know from several references that this is the light of God himself for God is light. All the world receives this light through Jesus. Through Jesus we experience freedom and release from all things that chain us to the elements of darkness.
    A new covenant is promised. Not the Messianic Covenant of The Law but the Covenant of Grace and Truth through Jesus the Christ. Jesus says in Matthew 26:28 (NIV84)
    This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
    Yes, Jesus came to shed His blood on our behalf. This is the good news that makes us right with our Creator who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it, who gives breath to all people, and life to those who walk on it. Every breath you take is a gift of God. Try returning that gift and see how it works out for you.
    A new thing, a new covenant, a new song. It is a great song of great praise. No one but God Almighty is worthy of our praise. In our weakness, we often ascribe glory to the idols of our life and this world; but, God will not share the head of the table. Who sits at the head of the table of your life?
    From every part of the earth, praise to God will rise up. The oceans, all bodies of water and every creature within, are called to praise God. Do not miss that we are also praising this new thing, the work of the Lord Jesus. Even remote and dry places will lift up their voices in this new praise song. It is a rejoicing for our Lord. It is with joy that we sing. Go tell it on the mountains; shout it in the valleys. Glory be to the King of kings and Lord of lords, our Savior and Master-Jesus the Christ.
    This is why we sang Joy to the World. This is why for our responsive reading we shared the great psalm of worship, Psalm 96. And, it is why we will close worship today with When Morning Gilds the Skies. There is a repeated refrain that I ask you to sing with joy and gusto: May Jesus Christ be praised!
    Tomorrow starts a new year and I want you to do a new thing. Examine yourself and see what you are praising and proclaiming, in your words and in your actions. Live into your baptism. If you are not already doing it, read some of your Bible each day for this is a significant way of learning about Jesus. It is a way to experience Jesus and the Father of whom he is the exact representation. Be instruments of God’s justice by caring for the least of these and being a voice against injustice and oppression.
    My brothers and sisters, we have received a great gift. We have received God’s chosen One in Whom He delights. Do not reject Jesus. Do not neglect Jesus. Receive Him as Simeon and Anna received him, with great joy and praise. Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. May Jesus Christ be praised!
    Amen and amen.
    Let us pray.


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