Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Servant Comes Softly

Jesus was born in a manger to an earthly audience of two parents and some stable animals.  The King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the One at whose name every knee will bow and every tongue confess that he is Lord, the one who created all things by the word of His mouth – entered this world in near complete anonymity.  A handful of foreign wise men were looking for Him, and one hillside lit up with the glory of God around some surprised shepherds, but that is about it.  The Servant of God came softly.

No other anticipated earthly king came this way, but Jesus was no earthly king in need of contrived pomp and circumstance.  And despite this being a surprising turn of events, it turns out that we knew He would enter this world in this fashion.  Isaiah told us that, “He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street” (Isaiah 42:2).

It is telling that Jesus came this way, but why?  The answer, I believe, lies in the next thought:

“a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench” (Is 42:3).

Why did Jesus come quietly?  Because I am a bruised reed.  I am a lamp with nearly no oil left and whose flame is near extinction.  Jesus came quietly because that is what the human condition demands – a God who enters the world we actually live in to bring the healing and justice we actually need.

Broken and bruised people do not need more failed promises, failing people or coercive political regimes.  They need a Savior.  The world can wear down the strongest among us and even those with a seemingly unlimited reservoir of patience and endurance come to the end of their strength.  Jesus comes to strengthen and restore.  But it isn’t just a restoration for a single lapse of judgment or strength for one difficult season in life; it is a healing of our very natures.   Jesus comes quietly because we need quite in this cacophony of noise from false idols.  Jesus comes gently because we long for a gentle, saving hand.  Jesus comes meekly because we need a strong, stable, kind hand untouched by the corruption of our world and our sin.

And though we are faintly burning wicks, God’s Servant will not faint.

“He will not grow faint or be discouraged” (Isaiah 42:4).

God knows we grow weary in this world and falter in our faithfulness, so it was necessary for a Servant who would not faint to come and complete his will.  We lose our strength and resolve – He never will.  We lose sight of justice – He will unfailingly bring it to all.

For this Servant to be unfailing and faithful means that no circumstance will turn Him away from accomplishing the will of God.  Not even abandonment by friends.  Not even betrayal by one of His closest disciples.  Not even the bloody and body-breaking death of the cross.  None of it causes him to “faint or be discouraged” because He will bring justice to all the earth and salvation to whosoever will believe.

The Servant comes softly, dies an unjust death, and rises from the dead as Lord of all.

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