Christ, Our Servant (Matthew 12:17–21) - Radical

Christ, Our Servant (Matthew 12:17–21)

“Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my spirit upon him and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles. He will not quarrel or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory, and in his name the Gentiles will hope.”
– Matthew 12:17–21

These verses talk about prophecy from Isaiah that was fulfilled in Jesus, and listen to what they say. These are beautiful words. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, Matthew says, and then he starts quoting from Isaiah.

God in the flesh has come to people who are bruised and battered and doesn’t crush us but serves us with His mercy.

What a great picture of Jesus prophesied hundreds of years before he came. This picture of the servant loved by God, filled with the spirit, who comes to sinners to be their hope. I love this description, he will not quarrel or cry aloud, nor will anyone in the streets hear his voice. It’s a picture of Jesus’ refusal to fight or shout against the Pharisees in passages like this in Matthew 12. No, he’s a meek and gentle savior who will not break a bruised reed and will not quench a smoldering wick.

Matthew 12:17–21 Tells the Good News of Jesus the Servant

Just think about that imagery. Here is God in the flesh, the King who has come, and he’s come to people who are bruised and battered, whose flame is flickering out. You ever feel like that? I’m guessing some of you listening right now feel like that right now. You’re just … You feel broken, spiritually broken, emotionally, relationally broken, bruised by sin and its effects in your life, its effects around you, unable to stand up under it. I’m guessing some of you feel like spiritually, it’s like your lamp has gone out, or at the very least your light is burning low, like a smoldering wick. There’s just faint spiritual life in you, at best. The good news of Matthew chapter 12 is that Jesus is your servant.

Let this soak in. Jesus is your servant. He comes to you in the depth of your sin and struggle, and he does not crush you. He does not quench the ever so faint flame that’s within you. Jesus doesn’t say, “Away with you.” One of my favorite quotes from a Puritan pastor named Richard Sibbs, he wrote a classic on this text, and he said, “Are you bruised? Be of good comfort. Christ calls you. Conceal not your wounds. Open all before him and go to Christ, because there is more mercy in him than sin in you.”

Isn’t that a great reality? There is more mercy in Christ than there is sin in you. There’s more mercy in Christ than there is sin in you. He heals the hurt and he blesses the broken and the broken-hearted who trust in him, who turn to him.

Matthew 12:17–21 Reminds Us of God’s Mercy

So we pray, oh God, amidst our hurts, amidst our brokenness. I pray especially for brothers and sisters who are hurting right now, who are broken right now, who are struggling spiritually in this way or that way right now, struggling emotionally, relationally or physically in this way or that way. Oh, God, by the power and grace and mercy of Christ would you serve them, I pray. Would you shower your mercy upon them? Even in our sinfulness, oh God, that there is more mercy in you than there is sin in us.

All glory be to your name, for your love for us, for your care for us. I pray that you would show your care for brothers and sisters who are listening to this right now and who are struggling in this way or that way, who are hurting in this way or that way, who are bruised in this way or that way. God, please show your mercy. Please serve them with your goodness and your grace. So Lord Jesus, we thank you for being our servant. It almost seems unreal to say that to you, the God of the universe, that you stoop to serve us. But we know this is a picture of your love for us, and we rejoice in it. So, we praise you as our servant. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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