15 Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. Many followed him, and he healed all their sick, 16 warning them not to tell who he was. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:

18 “Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
19 He will not quarrel or cry out;
no one will hear his voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he leads justice to victory.
21 In his name the nations will put their hope.”

Matt 12:15-21 (NIV)

Twelve times in his Gospel Matthew reminded his readers of prophecy presented in the Old Testament and now a coming reality in the New. The particular Old Testament passage Matthew is quoting from is found in Isaiah Chapter 42:1-4. Clearly, this proves to be a powerful testimony to the Divine origin of Scripture as well as its accuracy in even the minutest of details. The passage he brings forth today summarizes our Lord’s quiet ministry as well as a ministry which ushers in justice and hope to the nations ending in covering the whole earth with songs of praise and joy – Hallelujah!

The Pharisees were hot on our Lord’s trail with murder looming in their minds. Totally aware of their malicious thoughts, Jesus withdraws from that place. Still, the crowds kept flowing, seeking and pushing forward towards a healing touch from the Master who never broke a “bruised reed”. Mark records they flocked in not only from Galilee but also Judea, Jerusalem, and Idumea, from beyond the Jordan, and from the region of Tyre and Sidon. In a day where travel was done by foot it is impressive that such large numbers of people would come bringing their sick from over 100 miles around – north, south, east and west – for healing. And, Scripture states, Jesus healed them all.

Such compassion and kindness Jesus shows to the helpless and hurting - mending the broken lives in His sphere. Always willing to rise to show compassion, Jesus was and is the broken life mender – just read the testimony of the woman at the well or the woman caught in adultery. Sickness does not always have to be a physical condition it can even include those of collateral damage – damage done incidental to the intended target - damage that can take place in our families when we have been hurt by something or someone else even long ago. Shattered trust or being unloved or negative words in the past can cause collateral damage in the here and now increasing the wake of the sin. Jesus is able to fully heal our pasts. I am reminded of Isaiah’s words:

18 Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! Isaiah 30:18 (NIV)

He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water.
11 I will turn all my mountains into roads, and my highways will be raised up. 12 See, they will come from afar-- some from the north, some from the west, some from the region of Aswan." 13 Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. Isaiah 49:10-13 (NIV)

“It is rare that Christians earnestly seek the Lord’s face when things are going swimmingly, when material blessings abound and we seem to be protected from the vicissitudes faced by others. But in the blackness of discouragement, when we are harassed and downcast, we may indeed turn to the Lord and acknowledge our helplessness apart from his grace; we may do so knowing that God is a compassionate God and that Jesus’ compassion was particularly directed toward the harassed and the helpless.” D A Carson

“Jesus, Thou art all compassion, pure, unbounded love Thou art.” Charles Wesley

We also discover Jesus withdrawing from His enemies – those “smoldering wicks” He did not come to snuff out at this Advent – those who rejected God’s purpose for themselves. On His second coming our Lord’s enemies will not fare so well – to say the least. I am reminded of our Lord’s Word to His disciples:

26 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. Luke 9:26 (NIV)

4 “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.” Luke 12:4-5 (NIV)

What I Glean

  • The Bible is Truth. 6 And the words of the LORD are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times. Psalms 12:6 (NIV)
  • Jesus was and is the broken life mender.
  • On His Second Advent Jesus will make all things right, ruling in righteousness.