Gentle Justice


Behold my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations.
He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice,
or make it heard in the street;
a bruised reed he will not break,
and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.
He will not grow faint or be discouraged
till he has established justice in the earth;
and the coastlands wait for his law. Isaiah 42:1-4 ESV

[Jesus said:] “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 ESV


Many years ago a man named John McGraw was a famous and successful baseball manager for the New York Giants. His team won the pennant several different years, and many people thought it was his leadership that gave the team its winning seasons. John McGraw wasn’t a gentle or kind manager, in fact, one of his nicknames was “Little Napoleon.” He would yell and scream at his players if they made mistakes, and he did a lot of buying, selling, and trading of players. He only wanted strong players and winners on his team. He also used a lot more pinch hitters, pinch runners, and relief pitchers than other managers at that time did. He didn’t put up with weakness, but instead did everything he could to make sure the strongest possible player was in every situation.

The prophet Isaiah talked about a servant of the Lord who would be very different from John McGraw. He would be very gentle and not shout or yell orders. Weak and helpless people, who were like candles about to go out or reeds bent and close to breaking, would be treated kindly and carefully by him. He wouldn’t push them aside because they weren’t strong winners for his cause. Isaiah said that this servant of the Lord would bring justice, not only to God’s people, but to the whole world. When we think of justice, we sometimes think about the punishment of people who break the law, but in the Bible it means more than that. God’s justice means helping people who are poor and weak and making sure that the strong and powerful don’t hurt and take advantage of them. This is the kind of justice God’s servant would bring to the world.

We are all poor and weak in God’s eyes. We were helpless and under the power of death and all the forces of evil. The devil causes people under his power all kinds of trouble and sorrow, and we deserved our trouble because we had rebelled against God. But our Heavenly Father sent his servant, Jesus, to be our Savior. Jesus loves us even though we are weak and helpless, and he calls us to him so he can give us rest and comfort. He died on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven, and he rose again from the dead to defeat death and all the forces of evil. We are winners, not because we are strong and powerful, but because Jesus is strong and powerful for us.


Dear Jesus, thank you for you love and gentleness for us, and for winning over death and evil for us. Amen.