God spoke to Isaiah about a certain servant who delights his heart: “Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights” (Isaiah 42:1). Who is this one whom God sustains and upholds, guarding his every step? Who is his chosen, his elect — the one in whom he so delights?
We find the answer in Matthew’s gospel: “When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’” (Matthew 3:16-17). The original word for “I am well pleased” here is “delight.” God was saying, “My soul delights in my son, Jesus Christ!”
Throughout the Old Testament, untold numbers of sheep and cattle were offered to the Lord as sacrifices, yet the Bible says none of these sacrifices brought the Lord any pleasure: “In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure” (Hebrews 10:6). Yet, in the very next verse we read these wonderful words from Jesus: “Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come … to do Your will, O God’” (10:7).
Christ came to earth to do what no animal sacrifice could do. God had prepared a physical body for him here on earth — a body that would provide the final, perfect sacrifice. In short, God abased himself for our sake. Encasing himself in a human womb, he took on our nature. He gave up the riches of heaven to become poor for us, giving his life to ransom us.
From the foundation of the world, God had only one plan: to reconcile fallen, sinful humankind and bring us back into his good graces. God’s plan for doing this was simple. He said, “I’m going to send forth my son as a deliverer and after he has died, risen, and stands before me, I will recognize only him.”
The Lord said, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). God would never accept any works by human flesh, no matter how good they might appear. He would recognize only Christ, the servant who perfectly pleased and delighted him!