Then the Pharisees went out, and made plans to get rid of Jesus. As Jesus was aware of their plans, he left that place. Many people followed him, and he cured all who were sick. But he gave them strict orders not to make him known.
In this way, Isaiah’s prophecy was fulfilled:
Here is my servant, whom I have chosen; the one I love, and with whom I am pleased. I will put my spirit upon him; and he will announce my judgment to the nations.
He will not argue or shout, nor will his voice be heard in the streets. The bruised reed he will not crush, nor snuff out the smoldering wick until he brings justice to victory, and in him, all the nations will put their hope.
Today’s gospel reading contains two striking images, that of the bruised reed and that of the smoldering wick. In both cases we are dealing with something which either has suffered abuse (reeds do not bruise themselves but are bruised by some outside force) or for some reason or other is not working properly, is malfunctioning. And the text says that the promised still-to-come Servant of God, will treat kindly and gently the bruised reed and the smoldering wick. In this context it is clear that the reed and the wick are metaphors representing people. Consequently, in a very consoling poem considered the first of the four Suffering Servant songs (all found in the anonymous prophet called Second-Isaiah), we are promised that the future Messiah would be a kind Messiah, a Messiah who will gently handle the half-broken people we all are.
And that is exactly what Jesus proved to be. “Come to me,” he tells us, “and I will give you rest…for I am gentle and humble of heart.”
Many, if not all of us, are bruised reeds or smoldering wicks. Let us not fear to go to Jesus. We will never regret it.
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