“Comfort, yes comfort My people…’ (Isa. 40:1). In the latter years of his life, the future of Israel surely weighted heavily on Isaiah’s mind. Despite his inspired warnings, the prophet knew that Jerusalem would surely be destroyed and her people taken into Babylon. Yet, he could also see something far better on the horizon.
Four Servant Songs are found in Isaiah 42-53 which were designed to give hope to Israel. Aspirations of the heathen notwithstanding, Jehovah would raise up His Servant whom no nation or idol could forbid (cf. Isa. 41:21-29). Each Servant Song paints a unique portrait of the Messiah. The first announces that He would succeed in His purpose.
Isaiah 42:1-4 identifies a purpose, method, and result. Justice has to do with law, rule, and government, and such is the purpose of the Servant’s coming identified in this passage. “He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles” (v. 1), “He will bring forth justice for truth” (v. 3), and He will “establish justice in the earth” (v. 4). The Servants’ rule would be just and righteous in character and universal in scope. But His dominion would not be inaugurated like the kings of the earth. There would be no fanfare, demonstrations, or public proclamations. Rather, He would conquer with truth (v. 2-3). He would not exalt the rich at the expense of the poor. Instead, He would restore life and strength to the weak and helpless (v. 3). And though He would face severe difficulty in His mission, He will be successful in what He sets out to do (v. 4).
If there were any question as to the identify of this Servant, Matthew puts it to rest by quoting Isaiah 42:1-4 and applying it to Jesus (Matt. 12:15-21). Though the Pharisees sought to kill Him (Matt. 12:14), Jesus did not fight back. Rather, “who when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not…” (1 Pet. 2:23). He removed Himself from the situation. Though He had the power to take their lives, such was not the nature of the Son of God. God’s Servant had a higher purpose than self-vindication (cf. Phil. 2:5-10). He came to “bring forth justice” and reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Though His methods were unconventional to the minds of men (cf. 1 Cor. 1:18, etc.), Jehovah’s Servant was absolute in His success.