Guarding The Weak

He will not fight or shout
    or raise his voice in public.
He will not crush the weakest reed
    or put out a flickering candle.
    Finally he will cause justice to be victorious.
And his name will be the hope
    of all the world.

Matthew 12:19-21 New Living Translation

In Matthew 12, we see the contrast between the gentle ways of the Kingdom of God and the harsh judgments of the ways of religion. We are brought through a series of encounters where Jesus finds himself at odds with the legalism of the Pharisees. First, they chide Jesus for not stopping His disciples from plucking off a few grains of wheat to eat while walking through a field on the Sabbath. Then He challenges their worldview by healing a man with a withered hand in the synagogue. They test Jesus by questioning the lawfulness of healing on the Sabbath but He responds by questioning their opinion that it would be unlawful to do good on the Sabbath. The Pharisees later accuse Jesus of casting out demons with the power of the devil, which is obviously ludicrous.

In the midst of these challenges, the Pharisees begin to plan how to kill Jesus. Instead of challenging the Pharisees at this moment He withdraws from the conflict and continues to minister to those who follow Him.  He continues to heal people but does His best not to draw attention to attention to Himself in the process. Matthew saw Jesus’s actions as fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 42 about the servant of the Lord. In contrast to the harsh judgments of the Pharisees, Jesus shows Himself as being gentle. so that He does not harm weak and fragile people. His concern is justice and restoration for those who have been weakened by injustice. If He responded violently to the plans of the Pharisees, He would have risked damaging the very ones He came to serve and save.

How we respond to different situations says a lot about the way in which the Spirit of God is working in our lives. If we respond with the harsh judgmentalism of the Pharisees we run the risk of damaging the tender faith of someone who is struggling. If we fight back against legalism in a harsh manner, we run the risk of doing the same thing. The way of Jesus is a way of humility and gentleness. It watches out for and protects the weakest among us. Jesus has shown us a great amount of gentleness in our weakness. We have the opportunity to do the same to the fragile among us.

Jesus, thank You that You protect the bruised reeds and smoldering wicks. Help us to demonstrate the same spirit to those around us who struggle and are weak.

Published by llongard

I grew up in northeast Wisconsin. After high school, I moved to Minneapolis, MN to attend North Central University and graduated 1992 with a degree in Biblical Studies and Humanities. I spent most of the next fifteen years in the Twin Cities area until my family and I moved to Indiana in 2007. For most of the first seventeen years after college, I was involved in university ministry either as a volunteer, bi-vocational, or full-time campus minister. Through those years, I also worked in the main street marketplace as a retail manager/trainer and as a service representative in the insurance industry. I've also worked in various education roles. Most recently, I have been working on various projects addressing homelessness in Indianapolis and as team lead for Diakonos Community, a Communitas International missional initiative. Through this ministry, we seek to build missional communities in Indianapolis that serve and bring the life of Christ to those on the margins of society. Our strategy is to collaborate with community agencies that serve those in need and share Christ through meaningful relationships. I am blessed with a wonderful wife, three amazing daughters, and two cats (can't forget the cats, LOL). As a family, we enjoy camping, hiking, gardening, and going to the YMCA together. I also enjoy fishing, riding bicycle, and being involved in whatever my daughters are doing. Though I have not lived in the Green Bay area for over 20 years, I am still a major Packer fan.

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