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The Good Work of the Servant

Daniel Barta

Dec 1, 2023

In addition to expanding the Servant’s vision, assuring Him of victory, and promising Him help, the LORD ministered to the discouraged Servant by reminding Him of the future great good that awaited Him on the other side of His labor. His difficult labor would produce high delights. Would the Servant’s labor prove vanity? NO!

Much would come from the spending of His strength (Is 49:4).‌

Prisoners would receive freedom.  

9 saying to the prisoners, ‘Come out,’ (Isaiah 49:9 ESV)

The Servant’s work will bring about the release of those taken captive and dragged by barbarians away into dungeons of death.

The blind would receive sight.  

9 ...on all bare heights shall be their pasture; (Isaiah 49:9 EV)

Though a thick darkness lay over humanity keeping them from seeing the light of the truth, the Servant by His work would cause them to see. As the sun pushes back the morning fog, so the Servant will push back the ignorance of man making visible the truth about God, the world, sin, death, and humanity.

The hungry and malnourished would receive nourishment.  

9 ...They shall feed along the ways; on all bare heights shall be their pasture; 10 they shall not hunger or thirst... (Isaiah 49:9-10 ESV)

He, the Servant, by His labor will see to it that even those in “bare heights” will find bread to sustain them - a meal to silence the rumbling of their hungry stomachs. The Servant will leave men satisfied in a world that leaves them panting for water and starving for a snack.

The wandering would receive guidance.

10 ...neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them,‌ for he who has pity on them will lead them, and by springs of water will guide them. (Isaiah 49:10 ESV)

The Servant will serve as a lamp to their feet. He will navigate them by streams of water, through flat meadows, and along straight paths so that the hot dessert sun does not scorch them or the high reaching mountain forests do not consume them. They will arrive at the great city - the city of God - though they travel from afar. They will succeed in their journey and come into the LORD’s great glory and joy all because the Servant would labor faithfully and guide them wisely with compassion.

God’s Servant, Jesus, has and will continue to set prisoners free, lift blindness, satisfy hunger, and lead those from afar.

When Jesus eventually went public, many wondered, “Is this the Servant? The Christ? The Messiah?” One of those who wondered, did so from prison. His name was John the Baptist.

In his wondering, John sent messengers to Jesus inquiring,

3 ...“Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” (Matthew 11:3 ESV)

Jesus replied to the question with,

4 ...“Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.” (Matthew 11:4-5 ESV)

Jesus’ response could not have been more direct and emphatic. “Yes, John, I am the one. I am the Servant promised by God. Look at the fruit of my work! I am doing what the LORD said He would do.”

This Jesus rubbed spit-softened mud onto the eyes of the blind and miraculously light entered and the blind man saw. This Jesus brought water to the thirsty woman at the well, and He brought bread to the hungry crowds of thousands. The man imprisoned by a legion of demons experienced deliverance and freedom. This Jesus came and He labored; as a result, men, women, and children benefited.

As the Servant worked such great works, He made sure to stress that He came to do much more than alter the physical condition. He came to heal spiritual blindness along with physical blindness. He satisfied physical hunger to point to Himself as the spiritual bread which would satisfy a much deeper hunger, the hunger of their souls. He set free those in bondage as a testimony to the freedom he came to bring from sin and death.

This Servant labored and continues to labor through the work of His Spirit in the labor of His saints so that a new city, a new kingdom will emerge. The citizens of this city built by the labor of the Servant will know full and lasting satisfaction, clear vision of the truth, and freedom to do all that is right, good, lovely, and beautiful.

Look ahead and stay faithful.

Because of the Servant’s faithful laboring, all believers possess a bright future. We know great cause for optimism.

How sweet that day will be when enemies stroll hand in hand to the city of God. One day the constant stream of bloody images of war will dry up. One day justice will be served. One day all those dissatisfactions in your soul will be filled up. One day the raised voices, the tears, the words that wound, the lower back pain, the parts of your body you loathe in the mirror, the hostility between siblings, between sheep and their pastors, between pastors and fellow pastors, between children and parents, between Jews and Arabs - one day all of these will fade into the background as memories. One day scrolling the headlines that populate your newsfeed will bring joy and peace and delight rather than anxiousness, horror and dread.

These were the glories put in front of the Servant to strengthen Him as He labored, and they now come to us as reminders of our great hope. We too should be strengthened at the thought of what awaits us. The Servant labored to these ends and so must we. He found strength in remembering the great fruit of His work; we too should, with strength, go out today, tomorrow, and for the rest of our earthly lives to labor faithfully, for much good awaits us.

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