"Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law." (Isaiah 42:1-4)
In Matthew's gospel, the Holy Spirit declares that Jesus Christ is the Servant presented here.
Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust (Matthew 12:18-21).
The Lord's first coming was a near fulfillment of this prophecy, and His return will bring its consummation. As the Servant Who does not fail or turn aside from truth, the Lord Jesus is the only One in Whom the Father has true delight. God's soul cannot truly delight in the individual who is outside of Christ, because for the believer Jesus "is made ... wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption (I Corinthians 1:30)."
When Jesus was rejected by the Jewish leadership, he did not pursue arguments on their level. He simply withdrew and finished the ministry which had been entrusted to Him. As God, the Lord was not threatened by the rejection of men; therefore, there was no need to do battle with the unregenerate leadership which resembled crushed reeds and piles of smoldering flax. The Jews lifted up their voices against Christ. They cried against the Lord, but such were not the Lord's ways. Unlike evil men, Christ is not hateful and oppressive. The finished work of Calvary ushered in the redemptive judgment of mankind and brought to both Jew and Gentile the merciful salvation of God.
As with His first coming, the second will not witness Christ engaging in petty arguments against His opponents. His judgment will be swift and effective. The isles, or coasts and regions, will wait upon His righteous Law that will proceed, without apology, from the millennial Mount Zion (Micah 4:2).
In the Hebrew text, there seems to be a play on words. The verb for fail shares the same root for the noun smoking. The idea is to be dim, smoldering or failing. The verb behind discouraged shares the same root as the noun translated bruised. The idea behind both is to be crushed. The Lord's enemies fail and pine away as piles of smoldering flax. As reeds whose internal walls have been crushed and rendered ineffective, unregenerate men will not stand in God's judgment. However, such is not the case with the Lord Jesus. He will not fail as the smoldering flax, and He will not be crushed under the discouragement of His opponents. At His second coming, He will execute the full judgment of the Father, and the world's nations will witness a time of men turning to faith in Christ such as has never been seen.