Fulfilling Isaiah’s Prophecy
AFTER Jesus learns that the Pharisees and party followers of Herod plan to kill him, he and his disciples withdraw to the Sea of Galilee. Here great crowds from all over Palestine, and even from outside its borders, flock to him. He cures many, with the result that all those with grievous diseases press forward to touch him.
Because the crowds are so large, Jesus tells his disciples to have a boat continually at his service. By pulling away from shore, he can keep the crowds from pressing in upon him. He can teach them from the boat or travel to another area along the shore to help the people there.
The disciple Matthew notes that Jesus’ activity fulfills “what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet.” Then Matthew quotes the prophecy that Jesus fulfills:
“Look! My servant whom I chose, my beloved, whom my soul approved! I will put my spirit upon him, and what justice is he will make clear to the nations. He will not wrangle, nor cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the broad ways. No bruised reed will he crush, and no smoldering flaxen wick will he extinguish, until he sends out justice with success. Indeed, in his name nations will hope.”
Jesus, of course, is the beloved servant of whom God approves. And Jesus makes clear what is true justice, which is being obscured by false religious traditions. Because of their unjust application of God’s law, the Pharisees will not even come to a sick person’s aid on the Sabbath! Making clear God’s justice, Jesus relieves people of the burden of unjust traditions, and for this, the religious leaders try to kill him.
What does it mean that ‘he will not wrangle, nor raise his voice so as to be heard in the broad ways’? When curing people, Jesus ‘strictly charges them not to make him manifest.’ He does not want to have noisy advertising of himself in the streets or to have distorted reports excitedly passed from mouth to mouth.
Also, Jesus carries his comforting message to persons who are figuratively like a bruised reed, bent over and knocked underfoot. They are like a smoldering flaxen wick, whose last spark of life has nearly been smothered. Jesus does not crush the bruised reed or quench the flickering, smoking flax. But with tenderness and love, he skillfully lifts up the meek. Truly, Jesus is the one in whom the nations can hope! Matthew 12:15-21; Mark 3:7-12; Isaiah 42:1-4.
▪ How does Jesus make justice clear, not wrangling or raising his voice in the broad ways?
▪ Who are like a bruised reed and a flaxen wick, and how does Jesus treat them?