The prophet gives us a wonderful glimpse into the character of Jesus in Isaiah 42. “He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets” suggests he is not self-promoting, self-advertising. He is not proud or arrogant, not trying to talk over others. He isn’t putting others down in order to elevate himself. He comes as a servant. But I love what the prophet says in verse 3: “A bruised reed he will not break and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.” What does this mean?
A bruised reed is one that has been broken or crushed by something or someone. By the looks of it, it is of little or no use to anyone. Yet Jesus is described as one who will not break a bruised reed. He won’t go ahead and throw it away or disregard it. He doesn’t consider it useless after all. Perhaps he can relate. Anyone looking at Jesus would see him as a bruised reed, of little or no value. After all, he was born a Jew in a country occupied by the Romans. He was so poor he was born in a stable and placed in a feeding trough by his teenaged mother and her husband. He spent his early years as a refugee in Egypt, an undocumented alien. When he was allowed to return, he was raised in an obscure village called Nazareth. Nothing about him would commend him to the world. He didn’t look like he was of much use, kind of like a bruised reed.
A smoldering wick or the dying embers of a fire appear as something most folks would disregard or consider past its usefulness, but not Jesus. He sees potential. With a little care and attention, that smoldering wick can be fanned back into a flame that illuminates the house and chases away the darkness. What others overlook or tend to extinguish, Jesus fans into flame.
Perhaps 2014 has been a tough year. You’ve been overlooked, wounded, bruised, crushed. “No one cares. What’s the point?” But Jesus has come and he cares. He understands your brokenness and pain. He’s been there and he is with you now. He doesn’t see you as damaged goods, useless and outcast. He has a purpose and plan for you and he has come to mend and heal.
Others may see you as a dying ember, past the point of no return. Not Jesus. He cups his hands around you and begins to softly blow upon the embers of your life and before you know it, the flame of hope is burning brightly again. He won’t give up on you.
The prophet wrote, “He will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth.” Be encouraged. Jesus won’t stop until he completes His mission and part of that mission is you!