“Stretch out your hand.” (Matthew 12:13)

Then he said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus. Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill. He warned them not to tell others about him. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: "Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not quarrel or cry out; no one will hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he has brought justice through to victory. In his name the nations will put their hope." (Matthew 12:13-21)

Are they quoting Isaiah?

We should note that Jesus is not quoting Isaiah here. This has been added later to the Book of Matthew. We should also note that the quote is theoretically taken from Isaiah. Yet it is not the same. Let's compare the two carefully, with bold to point out differences:

According to the Book of Matthew:
"Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
He will not quarrel or cry out; no one will hear his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he has brought justice through to victory.
In his name the nations will put their hope." (Matt. 12:17-20)
The text from Isaiah that is being referred to here is different in many, revealing respects. Here is the text - communicated from God to Isaiah (This is what God the LORD says- Isaiah 42:5):
"Here is My servant, whom I uphold, My chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put My Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations.
He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth.

In his teaching the islands will put their hope." (Isaiah 42:1-4)

Why is Matthew's quote different from Isaiah?

If Jesus' act was "predicted" by Isaiah - as many interpret - then why is Isaiah's text not accurately quoted? We can see from the bolded areas the notable differences. Here are the more significant ones:

- to "proclaim" justice is significantly different than to "bring" justice. This relates directly to who is being discussed. If it is Jesus, we know that Jesus did not "bring" justice, because he was not given that sort of power during his time on earth. He was not a king or in another position of power - as was the person this verse is describing.

- "He will not quarrel or cry out; no one will hear his voice in the streets." instead of "He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets."
There is a difference between "no one will hear" and not raising his voice. Are we saying that Isaiah predicted that no one will hear Jesus' teachings in the streets? Isaiah's text is describing someone else.

- "till he leads justice to victory" from Matthew is significantly different from "In faithfulness he will bring forth justice." The latter refers to someone who has the authority to impact the society - "bring forth justice." Again it is obvious that this statement in Isaiah is not referring specifically to Jesus. And it does appear that whomever put these words into Matthew was bending Isaiah's verses just enough to make them seem to be about Jesus.

- This also becomes obvious when we notice that "he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth" is not included in the Matthew quote of Isaiah. This verse in Isaiah documents the persistence of the person that is being referred to - someone who fought on despite the challenges, to bring about justice.

This is not what happened in Jesus' life. There was no justice in the life of Jesus. Jesus was brought before the Chief Priest of the Temple and tried without justice. He was then brought before the Roman governor Pilate, and was charged and given a sentence without any justice at all. Then Jesus was killed on the cross - again without justice.

- "In His name the nations will put their hope" is dramatically different from "In his teaching the islands will put their hope." This is a significant change from Isaiah. Neither statement describes Jesus.

We might consider that during the first few centuries after Jesus left the planet, the Romans used their proxy in Christianity - the Roman Catholic Church - to maintain control over the different regions of Central Europe and the Middle East. Are these the "nations" that this text in Matthew is referring to?

Outside of that period, there is no history of Jesus' name allowing "nations" to "put their hope."

Thus we find this obviously manipulated text to Matthew has no current application, but it would during the time that the Romans were trying to utilize Christianity to maintain their power over the nations of Europe.

This contrasts with Jesus' teachings that the name of the Supreme Being is praised:
“Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the Lord!” (Matthew 21:9)

“I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth ...” (Matthew 11:25)
This teaching - to praise God - "fulfills" the teachings of the Prophets, because the Prophets also taught us to praise God.

Is this misinterpretation or mistranslation?

Some of the differences above reveal stark contrasts between Jesus and who Isaiah was speaking of. Yet there are general ways that define how Jesus could "fulfill" what is being communicated in Isaiah. This points to another interpretation of the word "fulfill."

In other words, commonalities between Isaiah's text and Matthew's illustrate four important aspects of the relationship between God and Jesus in the Matthew version of Isaiah's verses:

1) Jesus is being identified as God’s servant ("Here is my servant whom I have chosen")

2) Jesus was chosen by God to represent Him, and God empowered Him ("I will put My Spirit on him)

3) There is an intimate relationship of love between God and Jesus ("the one I love, in whom I delight")

4) Because Matthew selected and applied this specific text to Jesus, the author of the Book of Matthew understood this was Jesus’ relationship with the Supreme Being. Otherwise, why would Matthew have quoted these verses?

Yet we can see that the verses in Isaiah refer to someone besides Jesus.

Some historians have proposed that Isaiah was referring to King of Judah Hezekiah. Others have proposed that Isaiah was referring to King Josiah.

Some historians have proposed that Isaiah was referring to Cyrus the Great, who helped restore the nation of Israel from Babylonian captivity. Cyrus liberated the Jewish people from the exile of Nebuchadnezzar, and ordered the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. This relates to the announcement by King Darius in Ezra 6.

Others propose that Isaiah was referring to multiple kings with his prophecies - those who would do righteous things that pleased the Supreme Being.

Is this missing the essence of Jesus' teachings?

With these interpretive portrayals, they not only miss the essence of who Jesus was - the confidential loving servant of God: But they also commit the greatest offense: They deny the existence of the Supreme Being. By identifying Jesus as the Supreme Being they are denying the very Person that Jesus was teaching about, representing, and serving. Consider this statement of Jesus:
“My teaching is not my own. It comes from the One who sent me." (John 7:16)
Why would Jesus deny that his teaching is his own if he were the Supreme Being? And why would he say:
"I am not here on my own authority, but He who sent me is true. You do not know Him" (John 7:28)
This makes it clear that Jesus is representing the Supreme Being. And he was introducing others - who didn't know God - to the Supreme Being. Thus in reality, Jesus is offended by those who identify him as the Supreme Being and thus ignore the Supreme Being Jesus was representing:
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'" (Matt. 7:21-23)
Furthermore, these institutions that claim Jesus is the Supreme Being also thus deny the loving relationship that existed between Jesus and the Supreme Being. This intimate relationship is the essence of Jesus' life, and his teachings. Jesus' purpose was to please the Supreme Being, and the Supreme Being was pleased with Jesus, as stated by the Supreme Being above: "in whom I delight."

While so many focus upon being "saved" by Jesus' supposed dying on the cross (only his physical body died), we know that actually, it is the recognition of the relationship of love between Jesus and the Supreme Being that has the ability to save us.

Jesus was not some sort of "lamb" for all of us to glory about, nor "blood" for us to bath in: His sacrifice was the ultimate statement of his loving commitment to the Supreme Being. It was Jesus' sacrifice to please the One he loved: the Supreme Being.

This is confirmed by Jesus' teachings, requesting each of us come to know and love the Supreme Being:
" 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38)