Prepare to Listen. This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased. (Mt 3:17)
Prayerfully Read Matthew 12:15-21
15When Jesus became aware of this, he departed. Many crowds followed him, and he cured all of them, 16and he ordered them not to make him known. 17This was to fulfil what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah:
18‘Here is my servant, whom I have chosen,
my beloved, with whom my soul is well pleased.
I will put my Spirit upon him,
and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
19He will not wrangle or cry aloud,
nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets.
20He will not break a bruised reed
or quench a smouldering wick
until he brings justice to victory.
21And in his name the Gentiles will hope.’
The Pharisees “conspired against him, to destroy him” (v14), therefore, Jesus left the area, followed by many. He healed their sick but “ordered them not to make him known.” Matthew saw this as fulfillment of what the prophet Isaiah (42:1-4) wrote about God’ Servant, whom Matthew identified as Jesus. The servant is the one of whom God said, “my beloved, with whom my soul is well pleased.” The same words heard at Jesus’ baptism (Mt. 3:17).
Isaiah revealed what God’s Servant does and does not do. He doesn’t engage in self-promotion or self-aggrandizement—his voice isn’t lifted up or heard in the street (public spaces, multi-media sites). He will not break or quench the hurting, the suffering, the marginalized. God’s Servant is gentle, non-violent.
He does proclaim justice for all, Gentiles and Jews. He’ll keep at it “until he brings justice to victory” and “will not grow faint or be crushed until he has established justice in the earth” (Is. 42:4). Justice has more to do with making wrongs right for those who’ve been treated badly, than with punishment. It’s for the now not just the future. Justice is Jesus’ core message thus ought to be ours. We must proclaim it and work to bring it to all nations. We must help make wrongs right by attending gently and non-violently to the needs of the “bruised” and the “smoldering wick”, whoever they are, in our midst.
Who are the bruised and smoldering wicks in your community? Be humble and gentle with them today, a true servant like Jesus.
Respond in Prayer
Lord Jesus, give us more evangelists who, like you are gentle and non-violent, careful not to add to the suffering of the already bruised and barely surviving people. Amen.
Live Obediently. Be a gentle and non-violent servant to others.
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Despite having frequently read and taught Matthew's Gospel, preparing these daily devotions, taking that second gaze, has surprised me with newness.