January 14, 2018

Jesus, the Servant Savior

Matthew 3:13-4:11

Here is my servant . . . my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him.

—  Isaiah 42:1

When Jesus was baptized, a voice thundered from heaven: “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” And the Spirit descended like a dove and alighted on Jesus.

What was the significance of all this? This event combined insights from two Old Testament passages. “You are my Son” is from Psalm 2, and the references to God’s delight and the Spirit of God are from Isaiah 42:1. Isaiah 42 also begins a ­series of suffering servant passages (see Isaiah 42-53). God was announcing that his Messiah (called Christ in Greek) was to be a suffering-servant Savior.

This message was revolutionary because the people expected a military messiah who would set up a political kingdom. But God showed by this voice from heaven that his intention all along was that the Christ would suffer and die for his people. So in the wilderness temptations that followed, Jesus refused to be a political or self-serving messiah.

The apostle Paul served the true Messiah, confessing, “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Philippians 3:10).

Jesus calls us all to take up our crosses and follow him (see Matthew 16:24-25). Let’s be willing to follow our suffering-servant King!

Jesus Messiah, help us to follow you faithfully, being willing to suffer for your sake, that others may come to know you. Amen.

About the author — Dean Deppe

Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural ­churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.

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