September 6, 2011 by Jason Hood
In my forthcoming book I note that Paul sees himself as a “Suffering Servant” (Isaiah) after the model of Jesus. In Romans 15:21 Paul quotes from Isaiah’s Fourth Servant Song, the famous “Song of the Suffering Servant” (Isaiah 52:13-53:12) and applies it to his own ministry. Luke presents him in the same way in Acts, which is one of the many reasons we have for believing that the author of Luke-Acts really was one of Paul’s co-workers.
He is a servant, suffering for Jews and for Gentiles.
These observations aren’t uniquely mine, of course. I recently dipped into a new commentary on 1 Corinthians and was pleased to see Brian Rosner and Roy Ciampa make the same case, but apply it to Paul’s mission. Relying on Hafemann and others, they discuss the role of suffering at the heart of Paul’s identity and mission. Because of his self-conception as a “suffering servant” as described in Isaiah, Paul can tie his ministry to the good news of the breaking in of God’s kingdom as promised in that same OT book:
Paul in his own person takes on the prophetic role of Israel—he is the light to the nations, the bringer of salvation.
Paul’s task of proclamation, therefore, is not the mere rehearsal of past facts. God is bringing to pass, through Paul, the eschatological fulfillment of salvation history. Just as the new eschatological age has already dawned with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, so it is currently breaking in to the old age through the preaching of Jesus Christ.
Paul’s message is not idle chatter or some good news ideas; it is apocalyptic power (1 Cor. 4:20). As Paul proclaims and lives out ‘Christ crucified,’ all the structures of human existence are transformed, human pride is judged, and salvation comes to those who believe (1 Cor 7:17-25; cf. 1 Thes 1:5)….Paul sees himself as not only proclaiming but also actively bringing about, the new age of God’s direct rule over the cosmos in both judgment and salvation.
The First Letter to the Corinthians (Pillar NTC; Eerdmans, 2010) p. 121 Comment
December 8, 2010 by Matthew Mason
Alec Motyer has some rich reflections on Isaiah 11 that point to Isaiah’s high Christology. The Messiah is a New David, but also, in a way reminiscent of Psalm 110, One greater than David.
One of the most striking features of this remarkable passage is the dual title of the coming King as both the shoot (1) and the Root (10) of Jesse. The reference to Jesse indicates that the shoot is not just another king in David’s line but rather another David. In the books of Kings, successive kings were assessed by comparison with ‘their father David’ (e.g. 1 Ki. 18:3) but no king is called ‘David’ or ‘son of Jesse’. Among the kings, David alone was ‘the son of Jesse’ (e.g. 2 Sa. 20:27-33; 1 Ki. 12:16), and the unexpected reference to Jesse here has tremendous force when Jesse produces a short it must be David. But to call the expected king the Root of Jesse is altogether another matter for this means that Jesse sprang from him; he is the root support and original of the Messianic family in which he would be born. According to Genesis 3:15 the human family is kept in being, notwithstanding the edict of death (Gn. 2:1f.(, because within it the conquering seed will be born. In the same way, here, the messiah is the root cause of his own family tree pending the day when, within that family, he will shoot forth. In the Old Testament this is a dilemma awaiting resolution.’ (J. A. Motyer, The Prophecy of Isaiah, [Leicester: IVP, 1993], 121)