And now the LORD says,
he who formed me from the womb to be his servant,
to bring Jacob back to him;
and that Israel might be gathered to him—
for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD,
and my God has become my strength—
“It is too light a thing that you should be my servant
to raise up the tribes of Jacob
and to bring back the preserved of Israel;
I will make you as a light for the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”
Thus says the LORD,
the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One,
to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nation,
the servant of rulers:
“Kings shall see and arise;
princes, and they shall prostrate themselves;
because of the LORD, who is faithful,
the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.” Isaiah 49:5–7 (ESV)
R. Reed Lessing writes:
In order to introduce Yahweh’s pledge in 49:6, the Servant recapitulates both what he said in 49:1-2 as well as his quotation of Yahweh’s speech to him in 49:3. This shift in emphasis is signaled by, “but now” (ESV “and now”].
The one called Israel is to restore Israel. How can this happen? The Servant “is called to embody the people’s calling. … Yahweh is still concerned to bring them back, so that they can take up their calling. The Servant is an individual, not the nation of Israel, but He represent s the nation for its restoration. “He will be for Israel what Israel could not be in itself (Oswalt).” Jesus is not only the Second Adam, but he is also the Second Servant.
The Servant’s ministry is to resurrect Israel and bring the people home, a theme announced in 40:1-11. Through his victory over Babylon, Cyrus will permit the Judean exiles to return to the land. The Servant, however, is the one who regathers all the scattered people and brings them back to God. Therefore, his mission to ethnic Israel is just part of his charge. Bringing Judean exiles back to Zion is “too light.” He is further dispatched to be a light to the Gentile nations and the means of salvation for all people, even to the end of the earth.
This Suffering Servant will accomplish individually what Israel was unable to do corporately. He brings salvation not only to the children of Abraham, but to all the other children of Adam and Eve as well. The movement from Israel’s restoration to the restoration of the nations describes Christ’s ministry in Matthew. He sends out the Twelve to gather the last sheep of the house of Israel. After his resurrection, he issues the charge to make disciples of all nations through baptizing and teaching.
MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 68
Q. 68. What is required in the sixth commandment?
A. The sixth commandment requireth all lawful endeavors to preserve our own life, and the life of others.