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The Hope for the World

Jesus is the hope for the world because through him people are aligned to God.


Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year for many reasons. And one of those reasons is that Christmas allows us to take stock of the many blessings that we have right in front of us and look to the future with hope of what is to come.

Some of us are here today and we say life is good. We have health and family and we anticipate a wonderful Christmas celebration. Others are here to today and say that life is not fair, it’s too hard. Instead of a celebration, you anticipate ongoing pain at Christmas. And then there are those of us that have become fairly cynical about the whole thing. The society goes to and fro like the waves of the seashore. People seem more distant and self-centered than ever. And so we’ll go through the motions of Christmas while quietly thinking to ourselves, Is there any hope for the world?

How is it that we can sing “Joy to the World” and “Tidings of Comfort and Joy”? Those of us who struggle are much closer to where the nation of Israel was during the middle of Isaiah’s days. Then God spoke through the prophet and gave them the hope that they needed.

Isaiah 42 was directed toward the nation of Israel as they were in exile under the reign of King Cyrus. They were a people dominated by another nation. They were enslaved to another king. As they looked at the world they were asking questions like: Is there any hope? Why is God so far away? How is God going to make this right?

Now, we can’t imagine what it would be like to live in exile, in slavery, under the rule of a foreign king. But we can relate to the questions that are being asked. When the situation of the world around you seems to be out of control, we tend to ask these same questions: Why is God so far away from me and my situation? How is God going to make this right?

In Isaiah 42, we have an answer: Jesus. Isaiah 42 is a prophecy about the coming of Jesus, and the description of what he does and how he does it should be a great encouragement for you this Christmas.

From verse one forward we get the sense that in the midst of difficulty God has his man for the job. He upholds him, he chose him for this work, his soul delights in him, and he has put his Spirit upon him. He is talking about his son Jesus. The eternal Son of God is commissioned by the eternal Father and empowered by the eternal Holy Spirit to do a specific work.

So it is of no surprise that when Jesus grows and begins his public ministry he stands on the banks of the Jordan River to be baptized by John and the Spirit descends upon him as a dove and a voice from heaven says, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” The support of the Father and empowerment of the Spirit for a specific mission.

And what is the mission? Verse one tells us: He will bring forth justice to the nations.

He Will Bring Forth Justice

Justice, it’s something that so many want but seems so elusive. The idea of justice is somewhat of a loaded term today. It need not be.

We have social justice, justice warriors, and Supreme Court justices. It seems that all of them have a particular ideology or political connotation attached to them!

But justice need not be controversial. One dictionary defines justice as “morally correct and fair.” Another defines it as “conforming to what is true.” Justice is such a fluid idea today, because truth is a moving target in our culture. If we are supposed to conform to truth, but truth has become individualized, how can we have an even standard of justice? If morality is simply in the eye of the beholder, then how can we expect to come to any sort of agreement of what justice is?

Fear not, no matter how humanity attempts to manipulate truth, and no matter how much humanity attempts to redefine morality, there is One who sees it clearly. There is One who can tell the difference. There is One who sets the objective, irrefutable standard: God.

So to say that Jesus comes to bring forth justice is to say that Jesus comes to align us to what is true. Which is to say that Jesus ultimately aligns our thinking and our practices to God. That is what it means to bring forth justice.

Life in line with God. Across the board. What a thought.

Sinful behavior – dealt with

Abuse – dealt with

Sex trafficking – dealt with

Manipulation – dealt with

Financial impropriety – dealt with

Grief – dealt with

Serial Deception – dealt with

But notice the manner in which he pursues Justice.

He Does Not Draw Attention to Himself

That is to say that he will not go about drawing attention to himself instead of his purpose. Nor will he cause a great uproar about things that aren’t true! In other words, he won’t be a typical politician! Of course, we don’t want to paint with a broad brush, but in the days of multiple forms of media coverage, people adopt causes, engage in political process, or champion an issue, and it is so difficult to know if their motives are pure and if the images we see have been manipulated to support their purposes. The Lord’s servant will not engage in such tactics.

He Will Not Crush Those Who Are Tender and Vulnerable

I absolutely love this imagery of gentleness. To bring about justice one needs to be strong, but strong does not mean harsh. Strong does not mean reckless.

We’re accustomed to thinking of strength as opposite to gentleness, softness, and tenderness. Yet this is not always true. During World War I, British fighter pilots made an amazing discovery, that thick layers of silk stopped low velocity shrapnel better than steel. So they wound the silk around their heads and then wore leather horse riding helmets on top of the silk. Scientists still aren’t sure just what it is that gives silk its strength, but it’s true, that in certain situations soft, gentle, tender silk can prove far stronger than cold, hard steel.

Jesus showed us the same holds true for human character. Some people try to make themselves impenetrable to the people around them. Jesus showed us that gentleness, a heart that’s soft toward others, and tenderness are in fact qualities of great strength!

Some of us are here today and we might feel like a bruised reed. A reed that has been battered back and forth by difficulties in life. Some of those difficulties might be of no fault of your own. Others may be the consequences of your own poor choices. But regardless how you got to the point where you feel like the reed that has been bent and just one more blow will break you in two, have faith in this savior. He is kind toward you.

Others of us might feel like a smoldering wick that is just barely holding the flame. Perhaps your own struggle with sin leaves you feeling incredibly discouraged. Or maybe you look at the plight of loved ones feel like it is just not fair. Maybe your faith in God holds on by but a few flickers of the flame because as you look around this world, you just can’t make sense of what is going on. You say, “God, why are you so far away?” “God, when are you going to sort this all out?” And you doubt. And you struggle. If that is you, have faith in this Savior. He is gentle with those in such a vulnerable position: A bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench.

What a wonderful picture of the tenderness of the Lord. His strength is displayed in his tenderness with us. His strength is also displayed in that the negative also implies the positive. Not only is he able to tenderly and gently handle the bruised reed, but he is also able to fortify with strength. Not only does he protect the smoldering wick, but he is able to fan it back into full flame again. This Savior, not only preserves life, but he restores it and restores it to the full. John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

He Will See it Through to the End

There is no term limit for this One who establishes justice. There is no discouragement, nor will he grow tired and give up. The eternal purposes of God are met with the resolve of this Savior.

And you noticed the repetition, didn’t you?

Vs. 1 – He will bring forth Justice to the nations

Vs. 3 – He will faithfully bring forth justice

VS. 4 – He will not grow discouraged until he has established justice.

Justice—the alignment of our actions with the person of God. True justice.

Verses five through nine function as the tail to the passage. The Servant Songs have a unique feature in which they have a head and a tail and the tail simply functions to emphasize and confirm what was said in the head. This tail confirms that God has given the servant this task and he does so as the Creator of all things and the Lord of that creation. It confirms (vs. 6-7) that God will empower his servant for the task. Lastly, it guarantees success of the mission (vs. 8-9) because there is no one like God on the earth.

The Foundation of God, the Creator and Giver of Life

In verse five the name used of God is hā’ēl in the Hebrew. It means, “he who is indeed the transcendent God.” To be transcendent means to be boundless, without restriction.

So if you summarize the verse—“he who is indeed the transcendent God.” He is the One who created the heavens, and spread out the earth, and breathed life, and gave spirit to people. Create, to stretch, to spread, to breathe life, all describe the unchanging relationship that God has with the world.

You see, the God who created is not far off, even though it might feel like he is. He is not indifferent to those he created. The raising up of the Savior and the establishment of his justice is precisely because he is near and because he loves his creation.

Reemphasis on what the Servant Does

We’ve seen that the servant establishes justice in a strong, yet tender disposition. That he is commissioned under God’s transcendent love. And now we see how this servant establishes God’s justice.

He Is a Covenant for the People

A promise of God. Nearing his death, Jesus would take the Last Supper with his disciples and say in Matthew 26:27–28, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Hebrews 9:15 says, “Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.”

A Light for the Nations

John 1:4–5 says, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Bring Out Prisoners from the Dungeon

Luke 4:18 says, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.”

This is the gospel. The good news of how we’ll be re-aligned with God. His Son, the light in the darkness, promises to forgive us by the shedding of his blood and thus sets us free from the dungeon of sin and death that we are in. This is divine justice. This is how people are re-aligned to God.

And with the coming of this servant Savior, all the world will have to reckon with divine justice.

Because God is Supreme, verse eight says, “I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.”

All creation will experience his justice. All creation will be aligned to him. So we realize, that the celebration of Christmas is not just the coming of a miraculous baby in the manger. Nor is it merely the coming of the Son of God to the world. Nor is it only the possibility of forgiveness, as wonderful as that it is.

Friends, have faith in the Christmas child, Jesus the Son of God, because his coming marks something so much bigger than just you or me. The coming of this Savior marks the beginning of God’s justice. All people for all time aligned to him. All creation aligned to him. It began with his coming, it will be complete with his second coming.

Jesus is the hope for the world because through him people are aligned to God. We hope in Jesus because through him the world is aligned to God.

So we come to Christmas with hope, with faith, with joy, and with anticipation. What we experience now will not always be. God is doing something supernatural through his Son. If you put your faith in him, you’ve already begun to experience it. You will experience it in its totality when he comes again. So let Christmas bolster your faith and enliven your hope in God.

Jesus is the hope for the world because through him people are aligned to God.


In the Supreme Court building in Switzerland hangs a huge painting by Paul Robert. When he was asked to paint this tremendous mural on the stairway leading up to the Supreme Court Offices, he expressed in painting what Samuel Rutherford placed in magnificent words. The title of painting is Justice Instructing the Judges. In the foreground are all forms of litigation—the wife against her husband, the architect against the builder, and others.

Above them stands the Swiss judges. How will they judge the litigation? Robert’s answer: Justice. But in many renditions of lady justice, including the one in the United States, you see a blind-folded woman with the scales of justice in one hand and the vertical sword in the other. She is impartial, hence the blindfold. She weighs the facts on the scale. And sword is raised, ready to strike when necessary.

But not so in Switzerland. Justice is personified by an imposing lady dressed in radiant white. In her right hand she lifts scales signifying judicial fairness. Her head is surrounded by light suggesting divine illumination. Twelve judges surround her, looking up to her for guidance. In her left hand she holds a sword but it is not vertical. Instead, it is pointing to a Bible, open and accessible to judges and litigants alike.

This artwork encapsulates a message central to Jesus in the courtroom: throughout the Bible, God teaches true justice to judges, lawyers, and all humanity. Justice comes when this Word is made flesh and dwelt among us. Justice comes when Jesus comes. God conforms us to him.

Merry Christmas everyone. I hope you have great hope this Christmas. God is doing something, even now through his Son.

Nick Gatzke is the Sr. Pastor of Old North Church in Canfield, OH and can be heard on the radio program Opening the Bible.

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