Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Matt. 12:16-17 (Holman) He warned them not to make Him known, so that
what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:
The crowds in Jesus’ day, desperate to cast off the yoke of Rome, were yearning for Messiah. They believed He would be their conquering warrior hero.
Had Jesus let Himself be proclaimed as Messiah, He would have flamed unholy zeal among the people. Not wanting to stir impure motives, Jesus chose to work a while in obscurity. Matthew had no trouble recalling his Master’s command to be mum. It had to have been a silence hard to maintain. Surely Matthew and the other Apostles remembered wanting to run with all their might and yell at the top of their lungs, “Messiah has come!! Deliverance is here!!”
Jesus corralled their exuberance. Before being told Jesus was Messiah, the crowd’s thinking had to be re-programmed. They had to go back to the basics, to Scripture. To be convinced they were wrong about what Messiah would be like, they had to be convinced they had misinterpreted Bible predictions about Messiah.
In Jesus’ lack of lust for celebrity status, Matthew saw a prediction of Isaiah fulfilled, and felt his readers needed to be reminded of it. Matthew wanted people to take a long, hard, closer look at what the Old Testament actually predicted about Messiah, and then compare the predictions with what Jesus actually did.
Matthew 12:18-21 are from Isaiah 42:1-4, a passage people of Jesus’ day unanimously accepted as a prediction about Messiah. Matthew was convinced the same God who inspired Isaiah’s prediction 700 years earlier was fulfilling it in Jesus and inspiring the Apostles to see the correct correlation between the two.
Matthew believed if people took time to take a discriminating look at what the Old Testament actually predicted about Messiah, they would readily see a picture of what Jesus actually was, as opposed to their preconceived notions of what Messiah would be. Let’s see if we agree with his assessment.
Matt. 12:18a Here is My Servant whom I have chosen, My beloved in whom
My soul delights;
Notice God the Father’s triple use of “My” here. These are His own words, telling us what we should expect His chosen Servant, the Messiah, to be like.
Above all else, Messiah would, to the Father, be beloved and delightful. These are words too gentle for a blood soaked warrior.
The Father said, “Here is My Servant.” Jesus was a carpenter’s adopted son. His birth dad was our heavenly Father. Jesus was a Son so devoted to the Father that He crossed over a line, as it were, stepping out of the role of a Son, into the role of a slave, resulting in His seeming to have no will of His own. He made Himself available to do anything Father wanted Him to do, as a slave would do.
Are we, like Jesus, willing to do anything for God? A “Yes” is vital to our spiritual success. We must be willing in advance to do all things whatsoever for God before we can receive His clear direction and full blessing in any one thing.
For example, if we need to choose one of three options, and want to know which is God’s precise will, the ultimate issue for us is not which one to select, but rather coming to the place where we are equally willing to do any of the three. We need to pray until it doesn’t matter to us which of the three is God’s choice for us.
A strong fleshly desire to do one can skew our ability to discern God’s precise leading. We may in our own reasoning make the right choice, but by not being led by God, we may miss the right timing, the right person to work with, the right order in which details need be done, etc. When needing to make choices, try to begin by putting ourselves in the position of a child who is so yielded that he or she has donned the attitude of a servant, a slave, whose own will does not matter.
Because Jesus was willing in advance to do anything and everything Father wanted, Father trusted His Servant, His Son, totally, and gave Him two remarkable gifts. First, the Father gave Jesus infinite power.
Matt. 12:18b I will put My Spirit on Him,. . .
Jesus was God of very God, of the same essence as the Father. No God is above Jesus, no God more God than He is. He was also man of very man, His essence the same as ours, no human more human than He is.
When Jesus left Heaven, He “emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7a). In other words, for His human experience, He voluntarily took on Himself human limitation.
Thus the question, how could He remain sinless? The answer is, the Father granted Jesus an infinite supply of the only power that can give humans the might needed for victorious living, the Holy Spirit.
Jesus’ utter dependence on the Holy Spirit for success was absolute from the first. Christ was conceived in the womb of Mary by the Holy Spirit (MT 1:20b).
When Jesus began His public ministry, as He came forth from His immersion in the baptismal waters, “He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on Him. And there came a voice from heaven: This is My beloved Son. I take delight in Him” (Matthew 3:16b-17). Notice “beloved” and “delights,” words repeated in our text.
Jesus shared our human experience. He was hungry, thirsty, tempted, tested “in every way as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15b). He never succumbed to evil, not because He was God, but because He was a man totally submitted to the Father and completely filled and anointed with the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:38).
Jesus overcame evil the same way we can. If this were not true, His life would not be a model for us, but would taunt us.
Jesus partook of the Holy Spirit “without measure” (John 3:34b). His life being saturated with the Holy Spirit has huge implications for us in our efforts to live successfully for God. To the Jews, life was seated in the blood. Thus, when Jesus poured out His blood, He was pouring out His Holy-Spirit-filled-life, releasing the Spirit to us all. Due to Jesus’ shed blood, the Holy Spirit’s power is now unleashed to be our power. Thus we still sing of power being in the blood.
The cross is still effective. It emanates power. Stay close to the cross. It is the source of our forgiveness, and of our power. Let the cross ever be our theme.
Because Jesus was willing in advance to do anything and everything Father wanted, Father trusted His Servant, His Son, totally, and gave Him, first, infinite power. Second, the Father gave Jesus infinite responsibility.