S (Scripture): Isaiah 42:1 But here is my servant, the one I uphold; my chosen, who brings me delight. I’ve put my spirit upon him;
he will bring justice to the nations.
3 He won’t break a bruised reed;
he won’t extinguish a faint wick,
but he will surely bring justice.
6 I, the Lord, have called you for a good reason.
I will grasp your hand and guard you, and give you as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations,
7 to open blind eyes, to lead the prisoners from prison, and those who sit in darkness from the dungeon.
8 I am the Lord; that is my name;
I don’t hand out my glory to others or my praise to idols.
9 The things announced in the past—look—they’ve already happened, but I’m declaring new things. Before they even appear, I tell you about them.
O (Observation): As God’s people of Israel stand almost totally decimated, a word of hope comes from God. God declares that people can recount history’s, but only God can look forward in time to tell us what may happen.
God declares that His servant will one day come to bring justice throughout the earth. The servant will not fight for justice…but would live out justice, and in a new way. The Servant will bring justice by restoring folks into community: the blind will see, the prisoners and those sitting in dungeons will be freed.
These indeed are words of good news when you are sitting in a dungeon or cannot see, and are thus separated from one’s loved ones and friends.
God is the one who will do justice through God’s own servant. God will rely on no one and no other thing.
A (Application): In the battles that rage in our nation’s government, in the discomfort around the dinner table, God provides a ray of hope: Jesus Christ.
Jesus wishes neither to conquer anyone nor command our words and actions. Jesus – God’s servant described in Isaiah? – is the new thing that God has done in the history of the world. Jesus, the Suffering Servant, has entered our governmental proceedings and sits with us at the dinner table.
Do we let Jesus speak in these places? Is Jesus’ version of justice allowed to be heard?
How will we live as people of hope? How will we be living out Jesus’ justice? Will we use our hands and voices in God’s name?
How will we bring about restoration in the name of God? I think of an old picture, tattered, beat up, maybe even torn…and some skilled person can reassemble the pieces and bring forth what was originally intended for the picture. This is what justice means: being restored to our original intention, as God sees us.
Let us remember this as we speak and act in the name of Jesus in our day. And let us remember that OUR version of justice should always give deference to Jesus’ version: restoring outsiders to the community.
P (Prayer): Lord, restoration comes through you and you alone; help us to be your hand and feet and voice Amen.