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

Here Jesus went to help a crippled person. Here is the text following Jesus' statement:
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. (Matt. 12:13-16)
Then the Book of Matthew states:

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 wish he will not snuff out,
till he leads justice 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 slightly different. Here is the text - spoken by 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)
There are some significant and revealing changes to Isaiah's text made in the Book of Matthew. Here are the more significant ones:

- "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 who is calmly and humbly teaching others, rather than making a scene.

- "wish" instead of "wick" - not snuffing out a "wish" is dramatically different from not snuffing out a "wick." The latter refers to maintaining the status quo while the former refers to allowing people their wishes. Completely different concepts.

- "till he leads justice to victory" is significantly different from "In faithfulness he will bring forth justice." The latter refers to doing God's will ("faithfulness") while the former focuses on some sort of victory.

Rather, it appears that Matthew is summarizing the next line of Isaiah: "he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth." While there is no "victory" being mentioned in Isaiah, "establishes justice on earth" could be interpreted that way. Not a critical problem, but just a distinct difference between the two.

- "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, one that deserves more attention.

A student of Jesus could arrive at such a conclusion based on another point made repeatedly through the New Testament texts:
“Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the Lord!” (Matt. 21:9 and others)
This would link "In his teaching" with "In His name" because Jesus was teaching the glories of praising the Holy Names of God, just as had been taught by the prophets before him.

While some of the changes above reveal differences either among the various translations, some reveal interpretation.

Nevertheless, commonalities between Isaiah's text and Matthew's illustrate four important points regarding the identity of Jesus and the relationship between God and Jesus:

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?

Curiously, this understanding of Jesus' identity contrasts greatly with how many ecclesiastical institutions and their teachers portray Jesus - as the Supreme Being. They emphasize the dying of Jesus on the cross (as if God could die). They claim that God/Jesus “rose from the dead” three days later (as if God could have been dead for three days).

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)


 (For a translation of Jesus' statements from the Book of Matthew without institutional sectarian influence, see the Gospels of Jesus  - translated from the original Greek texts.)