The Mighty Jesus
Dr. Joe Temple

Review

We read from Isaiah, chapter 49, verse 1:

Isaiah 49

1Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.
2And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me;
3And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.
4Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the LORD, and my work with my God.
5And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength.
6And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.
7Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee.
8Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;
9That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places.
10They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them.
11And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted.
12Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim [another name for China] .

In our last lesson, we examined with you what we referred to as the Servant passages in the book of Isaiah. We did not examine them in detail, but we surveyed them that you might be able to know where they were, and you would be able to be reading in them and meditating in them during the next several weeks as we will examine each individual passage somewhat in detail.

When I refer to the Servant passages , I am referring to five different passages of Scripture which describe the Lord Jesus Christ as the Servant of Jehovah. That may seem a bit strange to some of you if you are not familiar with your Bibles because you might be inclined to think that only the New Testament spoke of the Lord Jesus Christ fully and completely, not the Old Testament.

We have reminded you that the last section of the book of Isaiah is somewhat like the New Testament, having the same number of chapters as the New Testament has books. We reminded you that where the Lord Jesus Christ is presented in a veiled fashion in the first portion of the book of Isaiah, He is fully presented in the last half of the book. We are not at all surprised that we find these Servant passages . The first one was in Isaiah, chapter 42. This happens to be the second one.

Consciousness of Christ Regarding His Mission

Let us see what God has for us in this passage of Scripture, as I suggest to you that we look first at the consciousness of the Lord Jesus Christ in regard to His mission to the world. That is brought to our attention in the words:

Isaiah 49

1Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.

We have suggested to you that when you find the word LORD in your Bible with every letter capitalized, it is speaking of God the Father, so what we are reading in verse 1 is that God the Father had called the Lord Jesus Christ for the specific purpose of His ministry even before He was born. He wants all the world to know about it.

If you are familiar with the life of the Lord Jesus Christ as it is recorded in various portions of the Word of God, you will recall that He never could get away from the hour for which He came into the world. He never could get away from the call that God had given Him.

The Call of Christ to His Ministry On Earth

Turn to Psalm 40 and notice a record of the call of the Lord Jesus Christ for His ministry upon the earth before He was ever born. Notice beginning in verse 6:

Psalm 40

6Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.
7Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,
8I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.

You may be wondering, if you are not as familiar with your Bibles as some, why we say that these are the words of the Lord Jesus Christ. The answer is found in the book of Hebrews, chapter 10, verses 5-7. These words are quoted as being the actual quotation of the Lord Jesus Christ:

Hebrews 10

5Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:
6In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.
7Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.

Back in Psalm 40, verse 8, the Lord Jesus Christ is saying to God the Father:

Christ Came to Do God's Will

Psalm 40

8I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.

Notice, He is making a distinction with a difference. When you and I come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as our own personal Savior and we have fallen in love with Him and realized all of the wonderful, marvelous things that He will do for us, we find ourselves saying, “There isn't anything I wouldn't do for Jesus.” Even as we say it, we know that there are some things we wouldn't do because of the weakness of the flesh. The Lord Jesus Christ said, “I come to do His will.” He traces His commission to do His will farther back than you or I can trace our desire because in verse 7, He said:

Psalm 40

7…Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,

The phrase, the volume of the book , refers to the volume of the book of God's records where He has written down everything concerning His plan of salvation before it ever occurs. No, I am not talking about the Bible. It is the only revelation that He has given to man, but I am talking about one of several books which are kept in the library of Heaven in which are written down the things that are going to occur related to the human race.

Turn, please, to the Gospel of John, chapter 12, and recognize in the earthly tenure of the Lord Jesus Christ that this thought of being conscious of the reason He came into the world never left Him. There are many passages of Scripture to which we might look in the New Testament that will verify what I am saying, but this one is particularly significant. Look at John, chapter 12, verse 20:

John 12

20And there were certain Greeks [not Jews] among them that came up to worship at the feast:
21The same [Greeks] came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.

This is one of the interesting human elements in the Word of God to my mind. Notice, they didn't go to Peter; they didn't go to James. James and Peter were Jews, and forcefully Jews. They let everyone know where they stood. James was the man who emphasized the law to such an extent that Martin Luther, when he read the book of James, said, “It is nothing but empty straw.” The grace of God was so real to Martin Luther that he was afraid of anything that sounded like legalism. Peter was such a good Jew that he said, “I have never touched anything that is unclean to eat, and I am never going to, no matter what sacrifice I might have to make.” Of course, God did change his mind, but that was the way he felt.

You see, these folk didn't come to Peter nor to James; they came to Philip. They came to Philip because he was a Greek. They said to Philip, “Philip, you have seen Jesus. We would like to see Jesus.” Then Philip came and told Andrew. Of course, that is typical because Philip was a bit timid. He didn't want to come to Jesus and say, “ I've got some friends out here who want to see you.” He said, “You go tell Jesus.” Andrew went and told Jesus, and in verse 23, Jesus took a rather peculiar attitude, but it is explained before the paragraph is over. In verse 23, the Lord Jesus Christ said:

John 12

23…The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.

If you follow that phrase, the hour , through the Gospels as they record the life of the Lord Jesus Christ, you will find that it was a phrase commonly used in the conversation of the Savior, but this is the first time that He said, “My hour is come.”

You will remember that at the wedding in Cana of Galilee, when He had just begun His ministry, they ran out of wine, and His mother said, “Son, they have no wine.” I have always appreciated his mother. I can't criticize her for what she said. A lot of people criticize her. They think they have a right to because they say that Jesus told her to mind her own business. He didn't do that at all. Someone says, “Why, He did. He said to her, ‘Woman, My hour isn't come. Mind your own business'.” No, the word that is translated woman is a term of utmost respect. If you had listened to the manner in which He said it, and you interpret it as it is written in the original and paraphrased it, you would have heard Him say, “Mother, I would love to do something to prove to everyone that you are right, but My hour isn't come yet. It isn't time for Me to do that.”

You see, His mother had lived under the sidelong glances of people for something over 32 years, for nobody believed that God was the Father of her child. They all thought that she had an illegitimate child. Joseph took an awful lot. They whispered behind his back and said, “You know, he is a magnanimous fellow. When he was engaged to marry, he found out that Mary had already had relations with a man and was going to have that man's child, but he married her anyway.”

Let's be practical. We have had 2000 years of the preaching of the Word and because of faith, we believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of the living God. They didn't think so then. They had questions about it, and Mary, being the human being that she was, longed for the day to come when she would be vindicated.

You will find a number of times it is recorded that Mary kept all of the things that Jesus Christ said in her heart. Do you know why she did that? She knew that one day she would be vindicated. When Jesus had this opportunity in Cana of Galilee, she said, “Son, do it now.” He said, “Mother dear, I can't do it. My hour hasn't come yet.” You see, He did not come into the world to turn water into wine, though He did turn the water into wine. He did not come into the world to open the eyes of the blind, though He did open their eyes. He did not come into the world to raise the dead. Though He did raise the dead, that isn't why He came into the world.

Christ Came to Be Israel's Messiah

Why did He come into the world? The story is right here. When Philip and Andrew came and said, “There are some Greeks out there who would like to see you,” He said, “The hour is come. The hour is come when the Son of man should be glorified.” And, as though He were answering an unanswered question, He said to them, in verse 24:

John 12

24Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
25He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.
26If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.

Is this the ramblings of an emotional individual? No, this is a soliloquy, which you and I are permitted to listen in upon, and that is indicated by what you find in verse 27. Notice what He said:

John 12

27Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour…

Notice the words again. “I'm in a dilemma,” He said. “My hour has arrived. I know that unless a corn of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone. What shall I say?”

I say this reverently. Though the Lord Jesus Christ came to do His Father's will, He didn't want to die any more than anybody else did. He said, “Shall I say, Father, keep Me from this hour; deliver Me from this hour?” Then He said, “I can't do that. I can't do that because for this cause came I unto this hour. That is the reason that I am here. The reason that I am here is to await the arrival of this particular hour.” Then He said, “Father, glorify Thy name.” What a blessed time this was when a voice came from Heaven saying, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” Then, of course, verse 29 takes a very human observation:

John 12

29The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.

Do you realize that there is a difference in spiritual perception? Do you realize that it is not for you to argue with anybody's spiritual experience? The Lord Jesus Christ heard His Father say, “Son, I have glorified My name, and I'm going to glorify it again,” but some people standing around said, “Say, did you hear it thunder?” Do you know that there are some people at such a low spiritual ebb that all they ever hear is thunder—just a noise. That is all, just a noise. It may be a great blessing to you, but it is just a noise to somebody else.

Some other folk were a little more perceptive and they said, “No, no, not thunder. It was an angel talking.” Well, that is a little bit better than thunder, but why settle for an angel when you can have God? Do you realize that many, many folk are doing that? When God would be ready to bless their hearts exceedingly abundantly, they settle for thunder. But notice verse 30:

John 12

30Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes.
31Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
32And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
33This he said, signifying what death he should die.

We will stop our reading there, as we turn back to Isaiah, chapter 49. I would remind you that the hour that the Lord Jesus Christ was talking about in John, chapter 12, was the hour of His death. I would also remind you that we went on this little excursion to these various passages of Scripture to emphasize to you that the Lord Jesus Christ lived with a consciousness of His call. He never could forget it, and that is the reason He said:

Isaiah 49

1Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.

In verse 2, continuing the consciousness of His call, He said: “He hath made My mouth like a sharp sword.” Then skipping down a bit further in the verse, He said, “He hath made Me a polished shaft.”

But notice two other phrases. If you don't, you miss the whole implication of the verse. He said, “When He made me a sharp sword, He hid Me in the shadow of His hand, and when He made me a polished shaft, He hid Me in His quiver.” What is the significance? We have already touched on it. When His mother said, “Son, show Yourself now,” He said, “I can't. I'm still the sword in the Father's hand. I'm still the shaft in the quiver. It isn't time yet.”

The Lord Jesus Christ was prepared before the foundation of the world for the task to which God had called Him. What was that task? Look down at verse 6 and notice the character of His calling. God said unto Him:

Isaiah 49

6…It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel…

Notice that first phrase for a moment and see that His primary calling was to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved of Israel. Why did the Lord Jesus Christ come? What was the calling for which He was originally set? To be a Messiah, a Savior, a Deliverer to the nation of Israel. Beloved, if you understand the Word of God and rightly divide the Truth, you cannot make anything else out of it. He came unto the Jews first. That is the reason the Apostle Paul said, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation; to the Jews first…”

Have you ever felt that you had a calling? Have you ever been so thoroughly convinced that you had a calling that you lived in the constant light of it? It is a thrilling thing to be able to live that way. It is a thrilling thing to know that you are doing what you are doing because God wants you to do it.

Now, don't misunderstand me. We have had a lot of confusion in so-called Christendom to the extent that nobody thinks they are called unless they are preaching or a missionary or something else. The Bible doesn't teach that. God has a calling for every individual, and I am not going to take your time and mine to mention all the various things to which you are called, but God has a call and a plan for you. Find out what it is. Then when you are assured of it, pursue it gloriously, happily, and I wish I could say without disappointment, but I can't say that. I wish that I could say without any discouragement, but I can't say that.

Have you ever been discouraged? Are you one of these individuals who go around with a Pollyanna smile on your face, and say, “I never feel bad. I am never discouraged about anything.”? Well, let me tell you something. You do more than Jesus did. If you have never been discouraged, you are better than He is. Look here at verse 4:

Isaiah 49

4Then I [Jesus talking] said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain…

Have you ever felt as if you spent your strength for nought? Have you ever used up every ounce of your energy and then said to yourself, “Oh, what's the use?” Have you felt as if you were a dismal failure? I say this reverently—Jesus did. Jesus said, “I have labored in vain; I have spent My strengh for nought.” What did He do? Did He throw up His hands and quit? No, He took the attitude that we ought to take. Notice in the last part of verse 4:

Isaiah 49

4…yet surely my judgment is with the LORD, and my work with my God.

“I feel as if I have labored in vain. I feel as if I have spent My strength for nought, but God knows all about it. It is in His hands. I'll let Him evaluate it.”

This is resignation. This isn't the defeat of disappointment that causes you to say, “I can't do anything about it anyway, so I will leave it with the Lord.” Now, I want you to get this. If you have obeyed the call, you don't need to ever say that you have spent your strength in vain. Leave the results with God.

Perhaps you are thinking, “Well, I never knew that the Lord Jesus Christ was disappointed. He is the Son of God. What could He have been disappointed about? I never knew that the Lord Jesus Christ failed. How did He ever fail anything?” Well, if you will look at verse 5, you will notice that God pinpoints it:

Isaiah 49

5And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant…

You see, the Lord Jesus is still remembering that before He was ever born, God called Him. Here is an interesting indication of the virgin birth. There are so many little sidelights through the Scriptures that you pass over if you are not as alert as you ought to be. Do you see what He is saying? “God formed Me in the womb of Mary.” What for? For this special calling? What is it? Look at verse 5:

Isaiah 49

5And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him…

That was why He was formed in the womb and Beloved, He failed to bring Jacob to God. He failed. That is what John means in chapter 1, verse 11, of his gospel when he said:

John 1

11He came unto his own [that is the Jewish nation] , and his own received him not [they had nothing to do with Him] .

They not only had nothing to do with Him, but they nailed Him to the tree. I have said before, and I would reemphasize it because we are on the subject, that I do not go along with the Christians of today who are so anxious for ecumenical success that they are willing to say that the Jews did not crucify Christ. They did. The Bible says they did, and if I have to deny that they crucified Jesus, then I have to deny the truth of the Bible. They crucified Him. They nailed Him to the tree. They did not want Him, and He said exactly that. Look again at verse 5 and hear God as He speaks to Him:

Isaiah 49

5…Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength.

Look at verse 6, where God says to Him:

Isaiah 49

6…It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel…

“That is too small a job. That is too little a job just to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved of Israel.” Hear me. If Jesus were only the God of the Jews, then He is too small. They wanted to keep Jehovah God for themselves, and they wanted to make Him their God, and no one else's. That is why they looked upon Gentiles as dogs, and that is the reason that the closest a Gentile could come to Jehovah God—as long as things rested in the hands of the Jews—was to be a proselyte of the gate. They could come as close as the gate of the temple and that was all. God says, “It is too small for you to be raising up Israel alone.” Look at the last part of verse 6:

Israel's Unbelief Became Gentiles' Blessing

Isaiah 49

6…I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.

Do you realize what God is saying? Let's make it real; let's make it practical. Hear the Lord Jesus Christ as He says, “I have spent My strength for nought and in vain.” That must have been how He felt when He sat outside the city of Jerusalem on that hilltop that night and said, “Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how I would have gathered you to Myself, as a hen gathereth her chicks under her wings, but you would not. Now, your house is left unto you desolate.”

How defeated He must have felt. But then God said, “No, you are not defeated. You haven't spent Your strength in vain. You haven't wasted Your time. You are going to die not only for the Jewish nation, but you are going to die for all the world. When You are lifted up on the Cross, I am going to light a light, the rays of which will shine into the darkest corner of the universe.”

May we learn a lesson from that, Beloved, without detracting, even for the briefest second, from the holiness of the finished work of Christ upon the Cross. God has a way of dealing with us that is surprising sometimes, and one of the things that you and I need to learn is that sometimes our disappointments are God's appointments. If Christ had been only the Messiah of the nation of Israel, the world would have died and spent eternity in Hell, but where the Lord Jesus Christ failed in the terms of the Scripture, we were blessed in His obedience unto death.

That is what the Apostle Paul has in mind in Romans, chapter 11, when he says that the unbelief of the Jewish nation meant our fullness and our blessing. Look at verse 7:

Isaiah 49

7Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth…

Who is the One whom man despiseth? Who is the One whom the nation of Israel abhorreth? None other than the Lord Jesus Christ. “To Him who is a servant of rulers.” Yes, the Lord Jesus Christ is a servant of rulers. It is amazing how many rulers of the world use Him as a pawn in their hands to accomplish their purpose. God said to Him:

Isaiah 49

7…kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee.

Not only will the kings of the earth bow their knees and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God, but the entire world will someday be subject unto Him. In verse 8, we read:

Isaiah 49

8Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, [notice] and give thee for a covenant of the people [not just the Jew] , to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;

Christ is a Guarantee of Freedom and Redemption

Do you know that the blessings of God upon this earth on which we live is inseparably related to the Lord Jesus Christ? That is the reason the Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Romans, chapter 8, said: “The whole creation groaneth together, travailing, waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God. The manifestations of the sons of God , is a phrase that is related to the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in glory. What are we reading here? Jesus Christ is a guarantee that someday this earth that is marked and marred by sin will know freedom and redemption. Look at verse 9:

Isaiah 49

9That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places.
10They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them.

This is a literal reference to what the Lord Jesus Christ is going to do for the nation of Israel—as will be indicated in the next paragraph—just before the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to this earth. Notice verse 12:

Isaiah 49

12Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim.

Though the pronouns are not identified by proper names in this paragraph, they are in the next. He is talking about the nation of Israel.

We are going to stop right here, and remind you that the latter portion of this first paragraph that we have been noticing in this lesson is yet to be fulfilled. He came the first time. There can be no doubt about it. He is coming the second time, and when He comes, the nation of Israel is going to be gathered from the four corners of the world. In this paragraph is mentioned the north, the west, and particularly the land of Sinim, or the land of China.

Interesting, isn't it? China, for so long, was one of those backward, forgotten nations. Now, what China thinks affects what we do. Amazing, as we approach the end of the age, God is bringing to the forefront nations which will be playing a large part in the activities of the end of the age. Though we would not make a political pronouncement, we would say to you, “Keep your eyes on China, and notice, as you read articles about China, the place that the Jews have in that country. Keep in mind that everything that is happening, God is letting happen, so that when His scheduled time has arrived for the nation of Israel to return from the four corners of the earth, China will be instrumental in their return to that land.

Conclusion

It is thrilling to live in the age in which we are living and know that our Lord has made provision for the future.


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