Matthew 12:18 - Behold, MY Servant whom I have chosen; MY Beloved in whom MY soul is well-pleased; I will put MY Spirit upon Him, and HE shall proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
Two phrases here stood out to me. They are simple enough to memorize, and they give me a wonderful view of my calling. Yes, these words are written about Jesus. But I want to seize (lay a hold of) them for myself, as one who seeks to fully follow in His footsteps.
Chosen by God to be His Servant
“Whom I have chosen”: When I was young, I fantasized about being on the Indian cricket team. I can’t even imagine how special it would feel if the captain of the Indian national team called me up and told that I was chosen to be on the team. The fact that God chose (selected) me to hear the gospel and to open my heart to receive the gospel is a much greater honor.
Most of my peers and classmates at school growing up and neighbors through the years don’t know Jesus – the Only One who can save us from sin. I want to never lose sight of this great sobering honor that I was chosen to see the light of who Jesus is.
“My Servant”: But God hasn’t chosen me to be a hero. He has chosen me to be a servant. Jesus came to this earth to be a servant to all of mankind. Jesus, who was God, became a servant to humans, who are merely pieces of dust. This is a tremendous demonstration of humility. And God wants me to walk in those same footsteps. God wants me to also be a servant to others.
So this is the beautiful combination: I am specially chosen.. to be a lowly servant. Yes, it is a tremendous privilege to be hand-selected to serve on behalf of God. But I have a sober responsibility to uphold the values of heaven to serve. In a kingdom that is flooded with the darkness of self, we are asked to bring the beautiful Divine light of being a servant. The heart of a servant is the tell-tale mark of one who has been truly sent by God.
Beloved by God in order to be well-pleasing to God:
“My Beloved”: This is the sweetest term of endearment. We know that God called Jesus His Beloved Son (Mark 1:11; Mark 9:7). But since Jesus made it clear that His Father loves us just as much as He loves Jesus, we are His beloved too (John 17:23).
There is great rest that comes from knowing this. This is our identity, similar to being chosen. Being chosen should instill a deep, deep humility within us (1 Corinthians 15:9-10). And being a beloved child of God should instill a deep, deep rest in our lives (Matthew 6:25-34).
“Well-pleasing to God”: The proof that I have properly seen the love of God is that I strive to be well-pleasing to God. Jesus was loved by God and was well-pleasing to Him (Matthew 3:17).
And Jesus tells me that He was confident that the Father was with Him because He always did what was well-pleasing to the Father (John 8:29). Jesus did not have this confidence of the Father being with Him because He was God’s beloved Son. So also, the assurance of God’s continued presence with us (who are also His beloved children), only comes as we seek to always do the things that are well-pleasing to the Father. And to be well-pleasing to the Father is to do the Father’s will, and never to do my own will (John 6:38).
The continued presence of God over my life is not automatic because I am a beloved child of God. There are many children of God who are not well-pleasing to Him and bring shame to His Name (e.g. those who grumble and complain, Philippians 2:14-16). Such people cannot have the assurance that God continues to be with them and support them. He surely wants to be with them, but they are not well-pleasing to Him.
Malachi 1 speaks clearly to this. God says He loves them (v2) but He is not well-pleased with them (v10), because they did not treat Him with foremost honor. And so, God found their sacrifices offensive and wanted nothing to do with it. (For more on this, listen to this sermon: Knowing God in an Intimate Way - Who Is God Pleased With)
So our lives must be a beautiful combination of being loved and well-pleasing (not one or the other):
What is my identity? I am God’s child, beloved just like Jesus is (John 17:23)
And what will I do if I know that I am God’s beloved child? I choose to be well-pleasing to God by never doing my own will, but only what I see the Father doing (John 5:19-20; John 6:38).
And what is the result of those who respond to God’s love by being well-pleasing to Him? I have the rock-solid assurance that the Father is always with me (John 8:29).
I will put MY Spirit upon Him
The Father promises to put His Spirit on this Jesus:
The One Chosen by God to be His Servant
The One Loved by God in order to be well-pleasing to God
This is the kind of person who receives the Holy Spirit for ministry today as well. So if I seek to wholeheartedly live in these same truths, I can be sure that the Lord will fill me with the Holy Spirit for the ministry He has planned for me.