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Dec 23 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

Day Thirty-six – Matthew 12:9-21

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you

He will not quarrel, nor cry out;
Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets.
A battered reed He will not break off,
And a smoldering wick He wil not put out,
Until He leads justice to victory.
And in His name the Gentiles will hope.
Matthew 12:19-21

Some dreams we carry in our soul are most likely shared by everyone; for example, to enjoy the companionship of friends and spouse, improve our life situation, be loved and respected, live securely and free from suffering, and so on. But for millions of people, sickness, injury, mental instability, oppressive circumstances, or chronic pain frustrate those dreams and place them out of reach.

When Jesus healed people, he restored their dreams. He did not necessarily heal them in order to hand them what they had dreamed, but he gave them the hope to dream again. I cannot help but wonder whether a person healed by Jesus did not afterward dream new dreams.

How can people be so merciless that Jesus would be forced to present a defense for healing a disabled man on the Sabbath? (vv. 9-12) How can people be so cruel that they would conspire to kill Jesus for healing on the Sabbath? (v. 14) Of course, the Lord’s enemies had to be extremely frustrated, for he not only violated traditions that they held sacred, but he also provided his reason for doing so with unassailable logic–i.e., it is always lawful to do good.

For Jesus, the central issue was goodness. Therefore his actions appealed to the common people and to what is best in human nature.

Matthew saw the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy regarding “the Servant of Yahweh” in Jesus; the way he treated people with compassion and kindness, moving under the radar, without seeking compensation for himself (Is. 42:1-4).¬†How did Jesus respond to men and women whose lives had been consumed by immorality, deceit, or theft? He did not deliver the final blow to these bruised reeds, but offered them his forgiveness and help.

Perhaps you and I have an aversion to people who are broken in mind, body, or spirit. By choosing to avoid or abuse them, we snuff out whatever hope was still smoldering in their hearts. But Jesus stretches his hands out to everyone–this is, in fact, the hope of Gentiles! (v. 21) And so it is that Jesus does not merely restore our ability to hope, he becomes our hope.

Lord Jesus, our hope today is in You and Your compassion for us. We put our trust in You and know we will not be disappointed regardless of what comes at us, whether it lifts us up or knocks us down. For You are good.

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