Daily Thought for: 20th April

SERVANT OF RULERS

Isaiah 49. 5-8

The prophecy of Isaiah is a book of contrasts. Throughout its chapters we see very clearly what Peter describes as ‘the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow’, 1 Pet. 1.11. The prophet takes us from the vision of One, in the light of whose glory angelic beings veiled their faces, chapter 6, to then view that same One whose own ‘visage was so marred more than any man’, 52.14.

Chapter 49 is no exception. We saw yesterday that the word of Jehovah’s Servant will rule the nations, yet this same One is He ‘whom man despiseth’ v. 7. In this verse Jehovah is addressing His Servant as the true representative of the nation, the true Israelite; cf. v. 4. Yet, He is despised by men and abhorred by the nation; ‘He came unto his own, and his own received him not’, John 1. 11. He also took His place with the nation under the authority of Rome, and became a ‘servant of rulers’.

Even before His birth, it was the ‘decree from Caesar Augustus’ which took Him to Bethlehem. The homicidal intent of Herod sent Him to Egypt, and, because Archelaus then reigned in Judaea, He was brought up in Nazareth. Yet, in each case, the plans of earth’s rulers are subject to Him, ‘that the scripture might be fulfilled’.

In His daily life He would subject Himself to the prevailing laws. When tribute was due, He would pay it, Matt. 17. 24-27. At the same time, for the benefit of His disciples, He established His absolute sovereignty over ‘the kings of the earth’ and over the natural world!

Pontius Pilate, with all the authority of Rome at his back, was left in no doubt who was in control on that day when ‘the King of the Jews’ stood before him! Herod thought he could treat Him with contempt and ‘set him at nought’, but the silence of the Saviour was Herod’s condemnation. As the ‘Servant of Rulers’, He allowed men to ‘do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done’, Acts 4. 28.

Note the end of our verse, ‘Kings shall see and arise [stand up], princes ... shall worship [bow down]’, before the One who willingly took the Servant’s place.

 

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