The Perfect Servant
by Elaine Pierce
Matthew was a Jew, writing to a Jewish audience. He knew his readers (and listeners) would be very familiar with Old Testament writings, so when he included four verses from the prophet Isaiah, it was intentional. And notice what had just happened to Jesus. He had healed a man with a shriveled hand - on the Sabbath, heresy of heresies - and the religious leaders began plotting how they might kill him.
Our passage starts off with the phrase, "Aware of this." Yes, Jesus knew that the religious elite hated him. But he knew that his time had not yet come, and he continued to preach, to heal, and to care for those who flocked to his side. He fulfilled the scripture that foretold the servant who was to come. Let's look at how Isaiah describes this servant.
God loves him.
God delights in him
God puts his Spirit on him.
He will not quarrel or cry out.
He will not break a bruised reed.
He will not put out a smoldering wick.
He will lead justice to victory.
Nations will put their hope in him.
Take some time this week to meditate on this list. I have never had people threaten to kill me because of my faith. But I long to be the servant that Isaiah describes here. I know God loves and delights in me, because I have accepted eternal life through Jesus' death on the cross. I know that the Holy Spirit is ready and willing to comfort me, to guide me and to encourage me to truth and to service. I think I need another Daily Worship post to fully explore what 'not breaking a bruised reed and putting out a smoldering wick' means, but I invite you to dive into scripture and explore that metaphor (see Isaiah 36:6 to get started).
Jesus loved the unlovely. He cared for the weak, for those shunned by society. And, thanks be to God, he cares for me and for you. When you experience hostility or push back because of your faith, remember the example of the perfect servant, and thank him for the opportunity to be kind, to love, even when it not deserved. After all, he did it for us.
Take time this week to meditate on the qualities of a perfect servant, our Lord Jesus. Spend time thanking him for what he has done and will do in your life and in the lives of those you touch.