Abide in Me and I will abide in you.
“I am already in you, a constant presence since you were born again; but the concept of ‘abiding’ is more than a presence, it is a warm participation in your life – in your thoughts – in your heart. It is a Presence which is contributing to your growth and without which you cannot produce the fruit of this relationship. Notice though – I will abide in you, IF you abide in Me. This close relationship depends on you making the choice to abide in Me – yet even in that, I am motivating and drawing you to Me – all you need to do is listen to My voice. Also, while abiding is a warm fellowship of growth, for that to happen redundant branches must be pruned, so that growth is in the right direction. The the promise holds that if you abide in Me – you may ask anything in My Name and it will be given you, because your abiding will be leading you on a path of My Kingdom’s desires.”
In Isaiah 42 the concept of “The Servant of the Lord” is introduced, and continues for several chapters. Notice though that, in typical prophetic layered fashion, although the initial quote is quite clear about who the prophet is talking about, confirmed by Jesus Himself in Mathew 12:18-21, this cannot be the same servant as mentioned in vs 19. While the initial servant brings justice, the servant from vs 18 onwards is actually under judgement.
The Servant, who is predicted in 42:1-7 will come, according to vs 4, to establish justice on earth. He will come to bring hope. Now notice an interesting thing: in Isa 42:4, the promise is that the hope will come when the islands (Nations according to Jesus) put their hope in God’s law. So, the purpose God had for His servant Jacob in the OT, was to represent Him to the islands (the rest of the nations of the world) so that they would “put their hope in the law”. Israel had failed dismally in that. Just look at the words of judgement in vv 18, ff. Instead of representing Yahweh in a way which would attract the nations, they had followed their own ways, spurning His law and becoming a source of plunder..
So we can see that this prophecy points to Jesus taking over that role, as expounds this passage in Mat 12:21. “In My name the nations will put their hope”. The Servant Jesus came, to correct that failure by being the “first fruit” of the New Covenant. Isa 42:6. But do you see what the role of the people of the New Covenant is to be? They must take up that role of being a “light to the gentiles”. “I will keep you and make you a light for the gentiles”. 42:6.
Our responsibility in the world today, as in the past is to be a priesthood who are representing Jesus to the unbelievers. When we quarrel in public. When we are unloving and selfish. When we are dishonest and self-satisfied, these attitudes all serve to drive people away from Jesus. So we all have a huge responsibility to the world, which can only be accomplished if we continually abide in Christ.
Is the church succeeding in that? Yes in many respects and places, but NO in many other. Notice the seminar that is proposed at the Kweekskool in Stellenbosch for March with the title, “Queering the prophet (Jonah)”.
Now look at the tension in 42:14. For a long time God has been holding back His judgement, because of His patience. But in His heart he has been bursting, like a woman giving birth to bring about this judgement, which will surely happen. Yet in he midst of that is still His grace for those who are blind. (vs 16). This must surely be referring to the ‘remnant’.
What do I hear from Jesus? Abiding in Him is not merely remembering that he is present with me, it is actively pursuing a warm relationship with Him. If I am doing that, I will produce the fruit which He desires so that His church can continue and grow in its task of being a light for the gentiles. I have a promise and a responsibility.