15 When Jesus became aware of this, he departed. Many crowds followed him, and he cured all of them,16and he ordered them not to make him known. 17This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah:
18 “Here is my servant, whom I have chosen,
my beloved, with whom my soul is well pleased.
I will put my Spirit upon him,
and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
19 He will not wrangle or cry aloud,
nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets.
20 He will not break a bruised reed
or quench a smoldering wick
until he brings justice to victory.
21 And in his name the Gentiles will hope.”
One way to connect the OT with the NT is "promise-fulfillment." Another way is "law and gospel," still another, "covenantal." The "promise-fulfillment" model is based on the promises made by YHWH to Israel in the OT and the fulfillment of those promises in the NT.
The chief fulfiller of OT promises is Jesus the Messiah. In the Gospel According to Matthew, Jesus is described as fulfilling the OT twelve times (Mt 1:22; 2:15, 23; 3:15; 4:14; 5:17; 8:17; 12:17; 13:14, 35; 21:4; 27:9). Some of these fulfillment are uniquely fulfilled by Jesus; while others are types which Jesus fulfills in some ultimate way.
In the above passage, the Isaiah prophecy stresses the humble ministry of Jesus/the Lord's servant who brings justice and hope to the nations. The other notable element of the Isaiah prophecy centers on the Spirit, as in "I will put my Spirit upon him." Jesus the Messiah comes as the Bearer of the Spirit of God. It is through Jesus that the Great Gift of the Spirit will be poured out on all kinds of people (on the Day of Pentecost and thereafter).
For today's devotional, I'd like for us to reflect a little further on the background concept of "promise-fulfillment" that gives sense to how OT promises are fulfilled in Christ. We begin with God who "sees" the future, meaning God makes plans with the future in mind. Even as YHWH speaks to, say, Abraham, Moses, or David, or Isaiah, YHWH has in mind the far off future in the person of His Son, Jesus the Messiah. God is able to see from the vantage point of wherever/whenever He is presently while at the same time envision a comprehensible future that might be completely opaque to humans.
This power of seeing the future and determining some events in the future as fulfillment of promises made also applies to us, God's children! It's not like this divine power and application is "extra work." It's not like God has to switch to another gear. This power comes to God, shall we say, "easily," because such power simply inheres in Him as God.
This power behind "promise-fulfillment" is the basis of our Hope. Our hope is grounded in the power of God to make promises and to fulfill them. Our hopes are also found in Christ. Not just for "spiritual" matters like going to heaven and becoming more Christ-like but for all matters pertaining to life and our calling. We are found in Christ and in Christ all things promised to us by God will be fulfilled! As God the Father was faithful to accomplish all that He promised in Jesus, God the Father will be faithful to accomplish all that He promises in us through Christ.
Let's pray: Father God, we thank you for your power to see and shape the future. We thank you for the ultimate fulfillment in Jesus the Messiah. We thank you that in Christ we are also recipients of promises fulfilled. May we believe this. May we be confident of this truth: that whatever you promise, you will fulfill. Help us to stay strong in you and see our own futures with your promises and goodness in mind. In Jesus' name, amen.