18 “Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
19 He will not quarrel or cry out;
no one will hear his voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he has brought justice through to victory.
21 In his name the nations will put their hope.”
Smoldering wicks ………. The Pharisees had no mercy for the weak. After Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath, they wanted to kill him. So he withdrew to a location away from the crowds and the city. But the crowds followed him and brought their sick for him to heal. Jesus did not turn them away ……..
Smoldering wicks ………. the world goes dark and you find a candle but it just won’t stay lit. There is too much wind, or the wax is poor. The wick is too small and the flame burns it up too fast; the surrounding wax drowns the flame.
Smoldering wicks ………. still burning……just barely, offering only a dim, faint illumination, nearly extinguished. A flame that is so weak that its feeble glow only creates indistinct shadows and silhouettes that conjure up long forgotten fears.
Smoldering wicks ………. people who have been cast into utter darkness by the events of their lives, broken relationships, financial disaster, who knows? The world seems to be collapsing around them; then the one tiny flame of hope that they have left, the one last bright spot in their lives goes out, leaving them in deep impenetrable darkness.
Smoldering wicks ………. Matthew quotes a prophecy from Isaiah 42. It is a prophecy that some day, somewhere in the future, there will be justice. There will come a person that cares for the destitute people of the world, and he will not ignore their pain. Not only will he protect the weakened flame, he will reignite it with hope, mercy, and love.
Smoldering wicks ……….That person was Jesus; he came into a hostile world, a merciless world, an uncaring world and brought a blazing fire to ignite in the hearts of the fearful, a dazzling light to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, miraculous healing for the broken and rejected, and an everlasting peace for the troubled souls.
Emmanuel, God with us ……….. a radiant promise of hope for the smoldering wicks of the world.
The mug is raised – today may you see bright light shining into the darkest places of your life and rekindle your love and joy.