¹⁴But the Pharisees went out and conspired against Him, as to how they might destroy Him. ¹⁵But Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there.
Many followed Him, and He healed them all, ¹⁶and warned them not to tell who He was. ¹⁷This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet:
¹⁸Behold, My Servant whom I have chosen; My Beloved in whom My soul is well-pleased; I will put My Spirit upon Him, And He shall proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
¹⁹He will not quarrel, nor cry out; Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. ²⁰A battered reed He will not break off, And a smoldering wick He will not put out, Until He leads justice to victory. ²¹And in His name the Gentiles will hope.”
Matthew wrote his Gospel primarily for the Jews.
This is evident here and there. “Is Jesus really the Messiah?” Is a question that is sometimes expressly addressed in this Gospel.
After Matthew first shows what Jesus did, he confirms Who Jesus is based on the Old Testament. As if he were saying to us: You see, the prophets have spoken of him! (See also Matthew 1:22,23; 2:17,18; 21:4,5).
Sometimes Jesus is hard to follow in his actions.
- He acted vigorously in the synagogue, did not hide in fear from his adversaries, but managed to silence them.
- Yet He then withdrew because of opposition. Is that a sign of weakness?
- Many followed Him and He healed them.
- But then He forbade them to make Him known (Matthew 12:15,16).
Jesus is not concerned having a great crowd of followers and great honor and power.
Jesus has a program. And that program must be executed. It is aimed at liberating and healing people. For that purpose He will fight if necessary, but He may just as well withdraw. He does not fight at the expense of the crowd.
And in that regard, Matthew points to the prophecy from Isaiah 42:1-4 about the Servant of the LORD. i.a. there this Servant is introduced to us.
- He will work led by the Spirit.
- In Him it becomes visible Who God is.
- He’s not like the big screamers, who demand all the attention for themselves.
- He does not thunder with his great purpose in mind over the small and weak people. A big difference between the Messiah and all kinds of false messiahs!
Jesus has an eye for the real need of people.
That is why Matthew mainly shows through those verses from Isaiah what Jesus does NOT do: no screaming and violence.
But he also shows what Jesus DOES do: He reveals justice (In some translations this word is translated ‘judgment’ in Matthew 12:20, but in Isaiah 42:4 with ‘justice’).
The justice of the LORD, so hidden on earth by sin and violence, Jesus has brought out again. It is a right that stands up for small, suppressed people. A right that people can rightly place their hopes on!
- What does the quoted prophecy mean to us today?
- Ask the Lord to have mercy on war victims and refugees.
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