Isaiah 42:3 – A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. (KJV)
One of the things that I enjoy in my spare time is writing captions for my photo album. This hobby requires some thought in choosing the best words to describe the expressions captured on film. Catchwords can be lighthearted or serious; they are also useful in organizing everyday and special events. I particularly like to come up with cute sayings to depict the family pets. For example, one photo shows my cat Anya sitting in a dignified fashion on top of the patio table, so my caption reads, "the purr-fect pose". But perhaps the most interesting part about writing captions is that each photo is a potential story; therefore, captioning draws attention to what may have otherwise gone unnoticed.
Having the same idea in mind, I wondered how I would write a caption for today's Scripture. The figurative language is very expressive. A bruised reed can be described as very fragile, needing to be handled with extra care. The smoking flax, or as some translations render "a dimly burning wick" may flicker and go out altogether unless it is fanned very gently. So, the "Servant" whom the prophet Isaiah speaks of in chapter 42 is someone who would treat with great gentleness those who have been bruised.
The Servant is later identified in Matthew's gospel as the Messiah of Israel — the Lord Jesus Christ.
Matthew 12:18a,19-20 – Behold my servant whom I have chosen; my beloved in whom my soul is well pleased. He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. (KJV)
All of us are bruised reeds, wounded by sin and the evils of this world. Yet, the good news is that Jesus identifies with our suffering because He took upon Himself our infirmities and carried our sorrows. Therefore He will not extinguish our smouldering wick nor will He condemn us in our weakness; rather, it is His desire to heal and restore our souls, that we in turn, may glorify Him.
Perhaps an appropriate caption for the image presented in Isaiah can be called, "The Perfect Saviour", since He is the only One who can turn our weakness into strength, our sadness into joy, and our death into eternal life.
So, if you're feeling like a bruised reed shaking in the wind or a dimly burning wick about to go out — then, will you not turn to the Saviour and be healed?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, though our dimly burning wick may flicker, give us enough faith so that You can gently nurture it into a glowing flame. Heal our wounded hearts with Your love and fill us to overflowing with Your life-giving Spirit. We ask these things in Your holy name and for the sake of Your kingdom. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Jesus Saves" (Lyrics)