Matthew 12:21 “In his name the nations will put their hope.”
It is always pleasing, even exciting to me when one of the Gospel writers points out that Jesus fulfilled an Old Testament prophecy. Matthew does that particularly, as his intended readership was evidently Jewish. I have read that computer analysis of the Greek indicates it was probably written originally in Aramaic, though translated very early into Greek. The passage Matthew quotes here, Isaiah 42, was covered in the reading for August 9, but this was not the line that stood out to me then. This particular verse is a strong foundation for international missions. Actually, it is a basis for proclaiming Christ to any Gentile at all, which is why it is significant that it is quoted in this most Jewish of the Gospels. From the time God spoke to Abraham, even before Isaac was born, He made it clear that His love extended to all the peoples of the earth. Genesis 12:3 says, “All peoples on earth will be blessed because of you,” and then that sentiment is repeated in Genesis 22:18 after Abraham is willing to sacrifice Isaac. For anyone who believes in a Creator, that’s good news! Jesus is certainly worthy to be the anchor point of hope for every person on the face of the earth, and it is the privilege and the responsibility of all who know Him to let others know about Him so that they too may believe for their salvation.
Since I’ve been a missionary for 34 years now, I’ve obviously taken this to heart. Actually, not only were my parents missionaries, my maternal grandfather, W. O. Carver, founded the Department of Missions at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, and that is currently the oldest such school of missions in the world. You could say I didn’t have a chance! However, at this point I’m the only one of W. O. Carver’s descendants to be a missionary, (though there is a former missionary among us) and I personally find that rather remarkable. I take no “pride of achievement” in my calling, since that is God’s business, but I wonder how many of my relatives “dodged the call,” as they used to say back when people were being drafted during the Vietnam war. (I did my two years in the Army then, too!) The point is, each person is individually responsible before God; it’s all about Him, not us. Jesus said clearly that we aren’t to get puffed up no matter what God chooses to do through us. (Luke 17:10) As a pastor, I am to encourage each believer to open their heart and mind to grasp God’s plans for them, and then believe that He can bring it to pass regardless of our own weakness, if we will simply be obedient.
Father, thank You for how You have chosen to use me. At times I get discouraged, not seeing as much fruit as I would like, but then I also see people who have become Your children because of Your Word through me, and I know that You are faithful. Help me never, to any degree, let go of my own hope in You, but rather walk in daily obedience, for Your will to be done in and through me on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!