How can Isaiah 42:2 apply to Jesus when he did cry out for people to repent, cleansed the temple and argued with the Pharisees?


I suppose you have a point here if we take Isaiah 42:2 to be literal.  Clearly Jesus “shouted” at times, otherwise how could his teachings to groups like the 5000 men plus women and children in John 6 have been heard?  And you are right, that there are moments in Jesus’ ministry in which it can be argued that he did make really strong public statements.  Matthew 23 and the seven “woes” to the Pharisees comes to mind for me, as it did for you.  If we require that Jesus literally and absolutely fulfilled Isaiah 42:2, you would be right that it is questionable that Jesus fulfilled this prophecy.
Having said that, I would comment that the general nature of Jesus ministry is well-described as one who did not “raise his voice in the streets,” or “snuff out a smoldering wick.”  The tendency of Jesus’ ministry was humility, patience, lack of defensiveness, and compassion. Scenes like John 8:1-11 illustrate this well.  Did he ever call publicly for justice?  Yes.  Did Jesus ever speak forcefully about social injustice? Yes.  Did he ever confront people for their sins, even publicly?  Yes, he did.  However, I believe that those who know Jesus’ ministry in its entirety will agree that, in an overall sense, his humility, forbearance, lack of aggressiveness, and his approachableness are remarkable.  When called out or criticized by his opponents, he gave calm, reasoned responses.  When falsely accused, he did not defend himself.  I would say that for the great majority of those who know Jesus’ ministry through the gospels, the prophecy is well fulfilled by him, even though there are moments in his ministry in which this statement is not literally true.
I will let you decide if you agree.
John Oakes

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