“Servant” is the theme of this chapter. But unlike in the previous chapters, Isaiah does not focus on servants, people who are passive and weak, who’s destruction and captivity is evidence of the failure and inability to deliver of lesser gods. Here Isaiah introduces to us the “Servant,” the true representation of Israel, who comes with power and will be God’s agent and bring his covenant to the people and restore justice to all the nations. This Servant, this ideal Israel, will himself to be for and in Israel what Israel could never be for itself.
The mighty hand of God is about to be revealed. But instead of it being a riot gear, laced boot, ass-kicking destroyer of the enemies of the nations, he will be a tender plant, a shoot off Jesse’s root (11:1), an apparent failure, a meek lamb to be slaughtered, but he will atone for the sins of the nation and of the world. And beginning here and in the chapters to follow, salvation is no longer something to be anticipated and longed for: now Israel is being invited to participate in something that has already been achieved. What is the means it will be achieved? The substitutionary death of the Servant for Israel and the world.
God has said that the lives of his servants Israel, because of the atoning sacrifice of the Servant, would be the evidence to the world that he alone is the Holy One. Our lives as servants of God, because of the atoning sacrifice of the Servant, who’s name we know, Jesus, are to be the evidence to those we encounter in our daily life that God alone is the Holy one and Jesus is Lord. What God revealed to Isaiah and he spoke in future prophecy, Jesus confirmed and spoke in reality:
“Just as you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world…. “I am not praying only on their behalf, but also on behalf of those who believe in me through their testimony…. so that the world will believe that you sent me.” ( John 17:18-22)