I, I myself, am YHWH; and beside Me there is no savior. Isaiah 43:11
Savior – Go read Isaiah 42:1. What is the purpose of the Servant? To bring justice to the nations – mishpat. What is this? Mishpat is the word for a judicial decision, a legally binding determination. But it is more than that. It stretches to cover nearly all of what we would call the judicial process. The servant will bring a confronting decision to the nations. He will bring law and order – God’s law and God’s order. And who are the nations? The Gentiles, of course. The role of the servant, the one who is the faithful witnessing storyteller of YHWH’s great acts of compassion, is to take this confronting decision to those outside Israel.
Why does the servant take the message “I am He” to the nations? YHWH gives us the answer. There is no other savior except Him. Without this message, the Gentiles are lost. They serve other gods, gods who have no ability to save. The servant Israel must take this message to the world. YHWH is the Lord. Serve Him and live! Come under His law and order and He will save.
So far, so good. We shake our heads in agreement. Of course the Gentiles (those pagans) are lost. They must come to believe in God and accept Jesus as their savior, right? Ah, well, not so fast. According to Isaiah, YHWH is the only savior. The role of the servant is to bring peace with YHWH, to confront the nations with YHWH’s judgment and tell the story of YHWH’s compassion. The servant doesn’t save. YHWH saves. The servant witnesses to YHWH’s saving grace. YHWH brings the nations to a place of safety (yasa’). He delivers.
Now this is distressing. New Testament Christians firmly believe that Jesus saves (just read the billboards). If the writings of the Ketuvim Netzarim are faithfully true, then it seems we have a problem. How can God through His mouthpiece Isaiah proclaim that He alone is the savior when the apostles seem to portray Yeshua as the savior? Have you come to the solution? Yeshua must be YHWH.
But this is also difficult. How can Yeshua be the servant who provides the witness and also be the God who saves? Ah, the mystery of it all. Did you think it was going to be straightforward and simple. These are deep matters with deep solutions. Of course, we could pay attention to the text and realize the Israel is called to be the witness. Israel is the servant and all those attached to Israel accept this role. Their purpose is not to simply establish a closed community of purity in worship and work. Their purpose is to exhibit God’s grace by living the story of His acts of mercy in their own lives. They are to model what Yeshua modeled, as one man representing the true purpose of Israel for all God’s chosen. Perhaps Yeshua plays more than one role in this drama. Perhaps we haven’t looked deep enough to see the mystery in the man.
Topical Index: witness, save, Yeshua, Isaiah 43:11