A Battered Reed
December 1, 2020
A battered reed He will not break off, and a smoldering wick He will not put out, until He leads justice to victory. And in His name the Gentiles will hope (Matthew 12:20-21).
By quoting the prophet Isaiah 42:1-4 in these verses, Matthew paints a portrait of our Lord as One who is meek and mild, not weak and passive, but meek and mild. It is typical of other such passages in the Old Testament that prophesy of the coming Messiah.
Jesus knew the Scriptures well. He had come to fulfill the prophetic words of those whom He inspired centuries before Him. He was the focus of the Songs of the Suffering Servant (Isaiah 42:1-4; 49:1-6; 50:4-7; 52:13 - 53:12) whose constant desire was to do the will of the Father who sent Him. For that, the nation of Israel rejected Him. Yet in the midst of their hatred for Him, Jesus remained calm, He will not quarrel, nor cry out; nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets (v. 19).
Our lives should reflect these same characteristics. In the throes of trials and tribulations, sufferings and persecutions, difficulties and hardships, we can be calm and we can rejoice for greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).
Jesus did not strive with men; He did not fight them or violently contend with them. Why should He? His full faith and trust was in the Father and He was completely surrendered to the Holy Spirit. He was gentle and loving. He was patient and kind, a battered reed He will not break off, and a smoldering wick He will not put out. He ministered to the weakest among us, and continues to do so. Those who burn over the guilt of sin He comforted, and comforts still. These are the ministries of His people, His church, in this generation and in every generation. Jesus in us will produce the same characteristics so that our ministry, as His, will be effective to those who draw near to Him.
This is seen in v. 21, and in His name the Gentiles will hope. The force of this quote lies in the fact that the Gentiles are mentioned, not the Jews. While the fulfillment of this word will not be completed until the 2nd coming, the growing effect of the Gospel has been seen in the 2 millennia since His 1st advent - the Gentiles by the millions have come to faith in Jesus Christ even though the Jews have rejected Him.
“Thank You, Lord, for the gift of eternal life, for including those of us who are not of the household of Abraham, but who have been grafted in by Your grace. May Your Kingdom continue to grow as more and more people, Jew and Gentile, come to faith in You. May Your name continue to be honored among us until that time when You return to rule in power and glory. In Your name I ask, Amen.”