Behold, My Servant

Rev Patrick Dominguez | January 9, 2022 | Isaiah 41:1-9

Who is the servant of God, who we’ve come to understand is Jesus. The servant is the hope, the hope of our deepest longings, our greatest disappointments, our weariest moments, and our most profound discouragements.


Behold, My Servant | Isaiah 41:1-9

Today’s reading is from Isaiah 42 versus one to nine. Here’s my servant, whom I chosen, one in whom
I delight. I will put my spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out
or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised Reed he will not break and a smold ring Wick. He will not
snuff out and faithfulness. He will bring forth justice. He will not falter or be discouraged till he
establishes justice on Earth. In his teachings, the Islands will put their hope.
This is what the Lord God says, the Creator of heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the
Earth with all that Springs from it, who gives breath to His people and life to those who walk on it. 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 accompanied. People for the people and a light for the Gentiles to open eyes, to blind, to
free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon.
Those who set in darkness. I am the Lord. That is my name. I will not yield my glory to another or
praise to idols. See the former things have taken place and new things, I declare before they spring
into being. I announce them to you. The Word of the Lord. Please stand for the reading of the gospel.
A reading from the Gospel of Luke, chapter three, verses 21 and 22. When all the people were being
baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit
descended on him in border reform like a duck.
And a voice came from heaven. You are my son whom I love with you. I am very pleased. The Word of
the Lord.
I want to ask the kids to come forward. Come on up here. All right. I wanted to show you a painting
that I started the other day, and I was working on it this morning, and it’s not quite done yet. And it’s
funny when you get further away from it, you’re like, oh, I need to do something right there. But what
do you notice in this painting? Who do you think it is? Jesus? That’s Jesus? Yeah. And who’s this? Not
sure. Well, she’s a little girl, and there was a time when Jesus people were bringing their little kids to
Jesus for him to bless.
And so do you notice that his hand is on her head? Do you know what he’s doing? He’s blessing her.
He’s blessing her. He’s blessing her with all of God’s goodness and wants her to know God in her life.
Okay. And what is she doing? What do you think she’s doing? Renick praying. Praying? Yeah. Maybe
she’s praying. She might be praying right along with him. She’s leaning up against Jesus. But one of
the reasons I painted this picture is a lot of times I try to think about what Jesus did.
And sometimes I’ll draw them in a little sketchbook.
Try to figure what’s Jesus like.
And sometimes we’ll look at a painting and we go, oh, that’s Jesus. How do we know it’s Jesus? We
don’t know what Jesus looks like, do we? But we know that it’s Jesus. Why? Because of his attitude,
he looks like he loves this little girl. He’s blessing her. And so we recognize Jesus in all these
paintings because we see Him doing the things that Jesus does. Well, that’s one of the things we like
to do in Church is try to see in our minds, in our imagination what Jesus is like.
So when you go to kids alive, they teach you about Jesus. But it’s also good for you to try to think. I
wonder what Jesus looked like when he was saying that. I wonder what the people were doing all
around him. And that’s good to use your imagination, isn’t it? Stella Jane. Yeah. All right. Well, I’m
going to pray for you all as you go. And you hear about Jesus. And you imagine all the wonderful
things he wants to do in your life. And then you get to actually see them come true.
So, Lord, I pray for these young people as they go, that you would open up the eyes of their hearts,
that they would be able to look at Jesus and see him and see His goodness in their lives in Jesus
name. Amen. All right. You guys can go to kids alive now. And let me now pray for the rest of us.
Heavenly Father, we give you thanks for this morning. We pray that your Holy Spirit would come,
would move in our hearts, would speak to us that your word, which is living inactive, would move us to
do the works that you’ve given us to do which shape inform us and cause us to become more and
more like Jesus.
Well, in case anybody didn’t hear, I want to reaffirm that the hoarseness you hear in my voice is just a
common cold. I did get covet tested. And so I’m not being irresponsible, I hope. But anyway, glad to
be here with all of you. We are in Isaiah. And we’re also in the middle of the season of epiphany.
Epiphany, if you remember, is that season of light. Epiphany means to reveal. And it celebrates the
revealing of God in the midst of the darkness. The revealing of Jesus, the light that has come to all
the world, to the Gentiles, to the Jews and to us.
If you were there the other night and some of you weren’t, we had an epiphany bonfire on the farm,
and there was something cool that really happened. So as the evening wore on, it got darker and
darker and darker. And the actual lighting of the bonfire was something we reserved to the end. So as
it got darker and darker. I found myself kind of stumbling around in the dark. I’d go over here and I’d
see these forms, and I’d hear these voices, and I’d start talking and somebody would recognize my
voice and they’d say, hey, Patrick.
And I’m like, who is that? And I’d have to get really close or sign on my phone. And then I would see
who it was. Well, this kind of thing was going on. And then we lit the bonfire, and it’s amazing.
Christmas trees. There’s nothing like watching a Christmas tree burn. Some of the flames reached
almost as high as this ceiling here. And when it would happen, when they put a new Christmas tree
You could see everybody as clear as day.
People who you didn’t even know were there suddenly you see, oh, my gosh. That’s what light does. It
reveals. It shows what’s truly going on. What the Prophet Isaiah pictures as he’s speaking,
prophetically is the whole world. He pictures the whole world in darkness, the Islands, the nations.
Darkness has come over them. And elsewhere in his writings, he talks about this darkness. But then
he says, A light is coming, a light by which everyone will be able to see. And he says that the nations
and the Islands will put their hope in this light.
Who is the servant of God, who we’ve come to understand is Jesus. The servant is the hope, the hope
of our deepest longings, our greatest disappointments, our weariest moments, and our most
profound discouragements. Are any of you dealing with discouragements today in any kind of way,
what kind of things discourage you? And how do you deal with it? I know sometimes when I’m dealing
with discouragement, I’ll go for a walk. Maybe I can just kind of shake it off as I walk. Sometimes
when I’m dealing with discouragement, I’ll talk to somebody and kind of tell them what I’m going
through, right?
And hope that they’ll have some kind of word of encouragement for me. And often they do. And it
helps. Other times when I’m dealing with discouragement, I just want to go to sleep. But other times I
just want to ignore it. Tune out, turn on a movie, turn on the TV, go running. Whatever. I used to go
running. I don’t do that anymore. What do you do when you’re feeling discouraged? Well, Isaiah paints
a picture here of the nations and the Islands. And in the midst of that picture, there are people who I
don’t know where that’s coming from.
Mark, feel free to try to figure it out or maybe mute a few of those other things. Then in the midst of
his writing, he talks of people who are flickering and faltering and living in that deep darkness of
discouragement. And he says, but in this servant, they will put their hope. So the key here is to see
him literally in verse one, it says, Behold, behold, like, look, everybody, look here’s. My servant. It’s kind
of one of the reasons I did the painting today. What is it to look at Jesus?
How does looking at Jesus remove discouragement? How does looking at Jesus encourage us? How
do we look? Is it a casual glance? Is it a prejudiced frown as some people look at Jesus today? Or is it
a real look, as in when you’re looking at somebody to try to figure out what’s going on in that person?
Who are they? What do they mean? See, this is the challenge in this world. When Paul says, we see
dimly, but then we will see face to face. We see dimly.
It’s like the Christmas trees haven’t been thrown onto the fire yet, or one was thrown on, and it’s kind
of burned down. And so now you’re just barely seeing the outlines and the forms. But he’s saying,
Behold, look, do whatever you have to do to see clearly, Jesus, that’s what I want to do today, as we
look through this passage to behold, and to say, what is it we behold? Here is my servant verse, one
whom I uphold. The very first thing that we actually are called to see in Jesus is he’s the servant of
He is the fulfillment that title, my servant, God actually gives to the nation of Israel. And there are
some interpreters who have said, oh, he’s talking about the nation of Israel here. But as you go on, you
kind of see, no, there’s no way because the servant he’s talking about is one who doesn’t falter doesn’t
fail in any way. And the Bible is full of the faltering and the failings of God’s, people of their sins. And
we don’t see this here. He says, Behold, here is my servant, the preeminent servant, the one that all
servants are to model their lives after.
And he is a servant whom I uphold. What are servants do? I was watching Bubba Fett the other night,
and in it there’s this, you know, Job of the hut, that big, slug like creature. Well, his brother and sister
are in this one. And literally, these servants come carrying what’s called a litter. Right. And there’s
about like 15 of them because they’re so heavy and they’re carrying them out. They’re upholding job of
the Hutt’s, brother and sister. That’s what servants are supposed to do.
But here God says.
Here is my servant, whom I uphold. He is the one that I carry. He is the one who I ordain the one who I
give every resource that is needed to that’s the first thing that we are to come to understand about
Jesus is he is one who has the very stamp of approval and empowering of God, my chosen one, in
whom I delight. How many Masters delight in their servants, how many employers delight in their
employees? I know some do. Some are really glad to have the employees they have.
But then others, it’s like it’s just utilitarian, I hire you. And if you don’t do the job, I’ll fire you and I’ll get
somebody else. Right. But God is saying this servant is one in whom I delight. And if you heard Ravi
as he was preaching about Jesus baptism, or as he was reading about Jesus baptism, the voice
came from heaven, and it said, Here is my son whom I love with him. I am well pleased. The early
Church saw this as fulfillment of Isaiah chapter 42.
This is the servant in whom I delight. And the significant thing about the delight of the Lord at Jesus
baptism is it happens before Jesus has done anything. Up until this point. He’s really just been a
Carpenter. He’s not healed people. He’s not carried out the great work of God that he’s going to do.
But God’s delight is in him, just as I think Kelly delights in Eugene and in Jordan, right?
They’ve barely lived their lives yet.
But God says, My servant is one in whom all my pleasure dwells. I will put my spirit on him and he will
bring justice to the nations. This one in whom I delight is going to carry out my will. I have full
confidence of that. God is saying He’s going to bring justice to the nation, what he means by that. In
the previous chapters, Isaiah had been talking about the nations and the idolatry of the nations, all the
false gods that are worshiped. And what the servant is going to do is he’s going to come and point to
the one true God.
He’s going to buy his word and by his deed set things right. So it’s not that this servant goes about
changing everything by becoming a social justice warrior. What he does is he changes people by his
word and through his word. People like you and me go out and bring the justice of God into the world.
It’s from Jesus. I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or
cry out or raise his voice in the streets.
Isaiah wants us to understand how Jesus is going to go about bringing justice. And why is this so
important? He will not shout or raise his voice in the streets. What do people in our culture do in the
face of injustice? They raise their voices in the street. They demand justice now. And perhaps there’s
a time for that, right for other people coming together and saying something’s got to change. But why
do we shout because of our weakness, of our powerlessness? But Jesus does none of that.
No, he doesn’t raise his voice in the streets. Matthew 1217 Jesus is doing miracles and people are
coming to believe in him. And he tells them, don’t tell anybody. And Matthew writes, this was to fulfill
what the Isaiah the Prophet said. And he points to Isaiah 42 to this very verse. This was to fulfill what
Isaiah said. Jesus comes into the world quiet. He’s easy to miss. He comes into our lives in the most
subtle of ways, and we so often miss him. We so often don’t behold him.
We don’t see him because we’re looking at the clamor and the heartaches of our lives. We’re looking
at the way things should be. We’re looking to sources of power to change those things in ourselves,
you know, to make ourselves a better me this year or whatever it might be. And Jesus is saying, I
come to you quietly without a lot of fanfare. You need to start looking for me. He doesn’t barge in, but
he does take notice of the week. Have you ever been in a social situation where you didn’t know
And you felt like in about five minutes, I’m out of here. I know I was invited, but I don’t know a soul. I
feel so like and you don’t leave. Why? Because somebody comes over to you and they take an interest
in you and suddenly kind of like everything changes or somebody walks in that, you know, it’s the one
person and they come straight towards you and suddenly you feel safe. You feel noticed. You feel like
you belong, at least with this person, that’s Jesus. He will not shout or cry out or raise his voice in the
A bruised Reed he will not break a smoldering Wick. He will not snuff out. That’s worth looking at.
What’s it take to be a person like that, to be one who notices those who are heartbroken. What does it
take to be a Church like that? That’s how Jesus is with us in the midst of our discouragement and our
pain. He’s showing up. He’s coming to us quietly and he’s saying, you belong. You belong here.
Bruised Reed. He will not break the smoldering Wick. He will not snuff out.
And then we don’t get this from the wording here in almost any translation. It’s really kind of hard to
translate, but it says in faithfulness, he will bring forth justice. He will not falter or be discouraged. In
essence, it takes the bruised read and the smoldering Wick and uses similar root words to basically
say, Here is one who when we are bruised, is not. Here is one who, when we are smoldering and about
to be snuffed out, is not. He will not falter or be discouraged.
This is the one to whom we can look to for courage in faithfulness. And this is what you get when you
begin to become a disciple of Jesus. When you’ve come to understand Jesus, your life is meant to
have not just the momentary encouragements of going out for a walk, the momentary encouragement
of talking to somebody, and they give you a word and say, Keep on going, or the momentary
encouragements of whatever it is you do. But actually, to start building a bedrock of encouragement
in your life, by looking to Jesus more and more by understanding more and more who he is.
And what we see of Jesus is, he doesn’t falter. He doesn’t fail, though he’s quiet, he’s resolute. He
knows where he’s heading. He’s heading to a cross for the sake of the world. And he will not falter
that’s the Jesus we place our faith in. And when we get it, it’s incredibly encouraging. I saw a beautiful
picture of this the other night at the Epiphany bonfire, we joined with Redeemer Anglican Church.
Redeemer Anglican Church was planted out of Church, the Apostles. When I was the pastor there,
Ford was one of my assistant pastors.
And Ford was sent out. And it was wonderful. I mean, we sent out Ford with about 100 people.
Wouldn’t it be great to start a Church with 100 people? Right. So a little over 100 people. And we just
thought, there’s no way this Church is going to fail. We were looking at the kind of people that went
with him. Talented people, like people you’d like to be around and everything. Then a few years into it,
a little wave of people said, we don’t think this Church is what we wanted.
And they left. And then as they left, others started questioning and wondering. And they left. And that
Church that had kind of grown to about 100 and 2130 people was now shrinking. It was down below
100, and it seemed to just keep shrinking. And it seemed like every few weeks, another family left.
And I was meeting with Ford during this time, and it was excruciating. He was so discouraged and so
hurting. And I was discouraged. And I was trying to encourage him. Hang in there for it, hang in there.
And he did. And he kept looking to Jesus. And he went through a period where he couldn’t stand
preparing. It was so hard. And it was like a weekly excruciating struggle for him. And I remember
thinking, I don’t know, that he’s going to make it. And then bit by bit, God started blessing. And that
community became like this incredibly loving and sweet community. Susan and I, after I resigned
from Apostles, we kind of visited some other churches. Then we went there and it was like a balm to
our souls.
It was encouraging for us in so many ways. And the other night, while we were at the bonfire, I saw a
family that I’d never seen before. And I said, hey, my name is Patrick. What’s your name? Are you guys
part of Redeemer? Yes, we are. And we just started coming a few months ago. We’re from California,
and we love it. I was like, that’s so great. And then I ran into another family that I didn’t recognize. And
I introduced myself and, oh, yeah, we started coming several months ago to Redeemer, and we just
are really connecting.
We’re really loving it. And then as the evening wore on and things are being cleaned up, and it’s time
to go. There were all these Redeemer people who are just clumped together and talking and laughing
with one another. And you could see the solidity of that community. And I was encouraged because
Ford, while he was faltering, look to Jesus while he was faltering, look to Jesus. And now it’s become
a picture of faithfulness to me. We’re planting a Church and we have been sent from Redeemer.
I love the way God does that. That’s the Jesus that we look at, that we need to get better and better
and better at seeing. So how do we do that? Well, in verse five and six, God who is speaking to Isaiah
and to the people of Israel. He’s saying, this is what my servant is. This is what he’s going to be like.
He switches the subject and now is speaking directly to the servant. This is what God the Lord says,
the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the Earth with all that Springs
from it, who gives breath to its people and life to those who walk on it.
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 Peoples and a light for the Gentiles to open eyes that are blind to free
captives from prison and to release from the dungeon. Those who sit in darkness. I want you to
imagine. I want you to picture Jesus for a moment. And he’s twelve years old and he’s in the temple
and he’s talking with the rabbis. And one of them pulls out the scroll of Isaiah and reads this.
Have you ever stopped to consider that Jesus didn’t come into this world knowing who he was? He
came into this world just like you and me, a little helpless Babe. And as it says in Ephesians, he
emptied himself. He emptied himself. Although he was by very nature God, he didn’t consider being
God something to be grasped. But he made himself nothing to the very nature of a servant Jesus, as a
little boy here’s the Scriptures being read about him and comes to know that it’s about Him.
Jesus, who grew in wisdom and stature and favor with God and men, had to come to know who he
was himself had to come to understand it and to grasp it. And to say, I am the servant that my Father
has called. So what does that mean for us? It means that we too, have a progression of coming to
know who we are in Christ. That Jesus said, that everything the Father shows me. I show you
everything I do. The Father does, or I do everything the Father does.
And so Jesus himself now becomes the one who we look at. Because God the Father took Jesus
hand. We know he takes our hand as well, because God the Father places His Spirit on Jesus. We
know that as we are baptized into Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit of God comes upon us and empowers
us because God the Father gives him a mission to open eyes that are blind to free captives from the
prison and to release from the dungeon, those who sit in darkness to bring justice into the world.
We too, as we behold Jesus, become like him, participate in his mission. I’ve heard it said that Jesus
did not come to make bad people good. He came to make dead people alive. And there’s something
that’s very true about that. But there’s also something that’s not. This is the problem with some of
these kind of sayings, right. Jesus did come to make dead people alive. But for what purpose? To
become like Him good, Holy, his carriers of his truth and justice and word into the world.
Jesus places his hands on our heads to bless us, that we might become who we’re truly meant to be,
sons and daughters of the living God. So Nt Wright, who is a great Anglican theologian and writer, was
asked on your deathbed, what would you tell your children? And he said, this, look at Jesus. The
person who walks out of the pages of the gospel to meet us is central and irreplaceable. He is always
a surprise. He’s always a surprise. If you want to know who God is, look at Jesus.
If you want to know what it means to be human, look at Jesus and go on looking until you’re not just a
spectator, but you’re part of the drama that has him as the central character. What does God say? He
says, I will make you a Covenant. I will make you to be a Covenant. No longer will Covenant just be
written on paper as a contract between humans. Jesus himself will be the Covenant. Look at him and
he will seal the deal in your lives? Look at him, and he will make you like him in this world.
So what is it that discourages you? What causes you to falter or your light to grow dim? What
injustices do you see in this world? You know what the Scriptures tell us when you look at all that
crud. Count it all joy. Count it all joy, because God is using those things to lead you into His perfect
world, to lead you. And I to put our hope in Jesus to, in essence, epiphanize right to bring to light
Jesus in our life, to see Him clearly so that we might live his will in this world.
Finally, I’ll say this when I draw, and when I paint, I’m always painfully aware that it’s never going to be
perfect. I do a lot of erasing too. That little girl I had her drawn. I kind of liked her, and I showed Susan
and she goes, she looks like a woman. I was like, I took a closer look. I’m like you’re right. Had to
erase and redraw it. So she started to look like a little girl. I don’t know if I got there yet, but that’s what
we do at Church when we come to worship and to repent, to ask God to erase some of the lines we’ve
drawn during the week and to redraw the perfect image of Jesus in our lives so that we might live for
That’s what we do. Amen. Let’s pray, Lord Jesus, we want to see you better. We want to know you and
all your justice and all your mercy and all your blessing. We want to see you in the faltering and
flickering moments of our lives, or the faltering and flickering of the world around us. We want to see
you standing faithful and, Lord, we want to be encouraged, given your courage, given your strength, so
that the darkness will not be as darkness to us. But your light will shine.
So, Lord, we thank you for doing that in our midst. We thank you for the Eucharist, for the presence of
Christ body and blood, for the Brotherhood and sisterhood of all believers, for your presence here with
us. Now, for your handwritten all over nature and in our very lives. We trust you, Lord, and we just ask
that you open our eyes. I said we might see you better and better in Jesus name. Amen.


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