SUNDAY MESSAGE | 19/11/2017 | Pr. Jason Verghese Joy |
Our God is a God of justice and mercy; a God who desires to do justice and righteousness, who loves justice. When this understanding about God comes, not only as mental knowledge but also as a revelatory knowledge, it will change the whole course of our lives and make us useful to co-work with Him to fulfil all righteousness.
[Scripture portion: Isaiah 42:1-4, Matthew 12:18-21]
Both the Old Testament and New Testament have many references about God being a God of mercy and justice. Our God exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness towards all (Jeremiah 9: 23-24). This verse says, “in these I delight”.’ So, God delights in showing love and goodness, not only in Heaven, but also on earth, right now. When we look at certain things happening in our lives or in others’ lives or in the community, we tend to ask or think: Is there a God of Justice? Why is all this injustice still happening around us?
The manner in which God brings justice
When someone does something wrong, we immediately expect a judgement – in the lines of “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”.
Isaiah 42: 2 says
“He will not cry out or raise His voice, nor make His voice heard in the street.”
Many a time, God does not work in the way we imagine, expect or think. His work is silent and hidden. It may not be instantaneous judgement, but He works in His own ways. Psalm 73 begins with acknowledging God’s goodness to Israel, and as we read down, we see how the psalmist stumbled in his thoughts while trying to analyse and assess things with his natural mind. But when he went into in the presence of God, he could immediately grasp how God would judge the wicked in the end.
God knows the beginning and the end of every one of us. Sometimes we only see a part of one’s life and draw conclusions. But God is still in the process of practicing righteousness and justice in the world, whether we comprehend it or not.
The steadfastness of the Lord
“A bruised reed He will not break; and a dimly burning wick he will not extinguish.”
(Isaiah 42: 3)
What is a bruised reed?
- It is generally seen in marshy or dry places.
- It has a weak stem, hence, never becomes a big tree.
- It cannot withstand strong winds
- It is too ordinary to be noticed by anyone
- It is so tender that it gets crushed into the ground when an animal steps on it.
You may say
- I have no great background to be spoken of.
- I am in the wilderness.
- I am not needed.
- I am worth nothing.
- I am not useful for anyone.
Compassion of Jesus
God takes notice of such people, who are like bruised reeds.
Blind Bartimaeus – he cried out for help desperately, even when people were trying to quieten him, but Jesus stopped for this one man.
Widow of Nain – in the city of Nain, where the widow was going through a bruised experience. She lost her only son; she was unable to request anyone for help. But Jesus went to her and revived her son and gave him back to her. What man doesn’t see, God sees; what man cannot do, God does. This is God’s justice done to them through the compassion of Jesus.
Jesus was crushed and bruised
Jesus was bruised physically, mentally, emotionally and socially:
“But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed”
“For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet He did not sin.”
Bible says, He suffered, so He is able to comfort us, He knows what it is to be bruised.
What is a dimly burning wick?
- There is no light, only smoke is present.
- Not burning bright because either oil is less or the surrounding air
is blowing over it.
- Naturally, it will die off soon.
Something is happening to the lights in our lives, maybe due to hardening of heart; may be worries of life, deceitfulness of riches, and desires of lust, as in Mark 4: 19. But our God is a wonderful God. Once again, He wants to fan us into flame.
“He will not be disheartened or crushed until he has established justice in the earth”.
We might become discouraged and disheartened when we do not receive quick answers to his prayers. But God is not like man. He is a zealous God. He will bring justice. God does not fail.
The call to co-work with Him
God is calling us all to co-work and co-operate with Him. God’s justice should be done through us to those bruised people around us. Let us consider the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:34). The man was beaten and left half dead. What did the Good Samaritan do? He poured oil and wine into the man’s wounds. Oil shows the presence of Holy Spirit. And wine shows forgiveness which is received through the blood of Jesus. God is calling us to be the oil and wine to many bruised lives around us.
“The coastlands will wait expectantly for His law”.
(Isaiah 42: 4)
Behold my servant, whom I uphold. My chosen one in whom my soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him. He will bring forth justice to the nations.
(Isaiah 42: 1)
Who will take it?
Though this prophecy was spoken about Jesus Christ, it is not only for Jesus, but also for all those who have received the Spirit of Christ. We are also called to do likewise. We need to preach and proclaim the Gospel of righteousness.
Who will respond?