“Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law” (Isaiah 42:1–4).
This passage is all about Jesus. The Holy Spirit had moved upon the prophet Isaiah to bring forth a revelation of what Christ would be like when He comes. And Isaiah’s opening word here, “Behold,” signals to His listeners: “Prepare for a new revelation about the Messiah.”
The image that comes into focus from these four verses is clear: Christ wasn’t coming to force people to hear Him. He wouldn’t come with a loud clamor, He would come as a tender, loving Savior.
We find the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy in Matthew 12. The Pharisees had just held a council to plan how they might kill Jesus, all because He had healed a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath. Matthew tells us that “when Jesus knew [discovered] it, he withdrew” (12:15).
Christ didn’t retaliate in anger or rail against those who plotted His death. He wasn’t like the disciples, who wanted to call down fire on His opponents, even though Christ could have done that. Actually, He could have summoned a legion of angels to deal with His enemies but Jesus wasn’t out to take revenge.
It was this tender spirit, Matthew says, that reveals the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy: “He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets” (Matthew 12:19).
Isaiah was saying, in essence, “The Savior isn’t coming to force anybody into His kingdom. He’s not coming as a loud, boisterous, overpowering personality. No, you’ll hear Him speak with a still, small voice in your inner man.”
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon