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Through the church the manifold wisdom of God [is] now made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purposes which [God] has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord.... (Ephesians 3:10-11)

To be the church is first to know the biblical identity and vocation of the community of faith. The "servant songs," as in the 42nd chapter of Isaiah, foretell the coming of the Lord's anointed one. They are a prophetic picture of how God's purposes will be carried out in history. Isaiah links the anointing of the Spirit with a threefold repetition of God's call to establish justice in the world, and says the world is anxiously awaiting the arrival of God's servant. Already, in the prophecy, there is an inkling of a corporate as well as an individual identity for the suffering servant. The second part of the passage, verses six through nine, suggests the vocation of a people and not just a person.

"I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you." The Lord's servant has not been called to a righteous purpose and sent off alone; he has been taken by the hand and cared for by the one whose purpose he serves. There is an intimacy to these words, a warm invitation to relationship. The relationship between the servant and his Lord is the beginning and the foundation of establishing justice in the nations. Isaiah goes on to tell how the suffering servant will lay down his life in order that God's will be accomplished.

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