Thursday After the First Sunday in Advent Isaiah 42:1-12
THURSDAY AFTER THE FIRST SUNDAY IN ADVENT
A bruised reed He will not break, and a faintly burning wick He will not quench.
These words are among many in the Old Testament that speak about Christ. Words like these don't always reveal who they are speaking about. They speak in pictures, mysterious allusions and hidden-behind words that hint at a deeper meaning. In their entirety, however, they were clear enough to give Israel the assurance that Someone was coming; a Messiah who would reestablish this fallen world and save the human race. These words first became fully understandable when Jesus came. The Scriptures were fulfilled. What was promised was completed. With amazed eyes the disciples saw that there was profound significance even in insignificant verses that they had never reflected over.
This verse was one that characterized Jesus. It explained why He was so different. People expected the Messiah to appear in power. He was expected to pass judgment on God's behalf. Ordinary people hoped for a devastating reckoning with the Romans. Others expected judgment over all the sinners in Israel. John the Baptist had also warned about the approaching judgment of wrath. But Jesus appeared as a friend to the publicans and sinners. With infinite mercy, He took care of those whom everyone else had given up as lost. The disciples understood that this was a part of the very essence of His nature—something God desired.
This thing about not crushing what is broken pertains not only to individuals who are lost and unsuccessful; it pertains to all of humanity and creation. All of it is a broken reed. All of it is ruined, torn asunder, and no longer functions as it should. No one can ever comprehend what happens in the world without listening to what Jesus has to say about evil. He doesn't talk about evil. He talks about the evil one. There's a particular force that desires evil. It isn't a question of an imperfection in creation. It's a matter of insurrection. Among all the beings to whom God gave an autonomous life, a personal consciousness, and an independent will that they would rejoice in their existence and take part in God's own fortuity, one of them turned against Him. This one tried to become like God and make his own decisions. He tried to do something other than God's will, which by definition is something evil. Since that time, God's glorious creation has been tattered. The one Jesus calls the man slaughterer, the enemy, Satan, has left traces of himself everywhere.
But God will not crush the broken reed. He has not rejected His work. He wants to repair the damage.
Jesus wants to tell us about this. This is the work He came to carry out.
Lord, I don't know why, but so often I believe that You come with only demands. I have often been scared of You. You know, Lord, how hard it can be to live. So much has to be done. It's so hard to go on. And on top of everything else, one has to be a Christian. That's just another thing a person ought to do. Why do I feel like this, Lord? You're the One who gives. Help me to receive. Help me not to just ask what I have to do and what will become of me. Help me first to see who You are, what You have done, and what You have to offer. Bless my Advent and my Christmas and the whole Church Year, and fill it with Your gifts. Amen.