Matthew 12:15-21 Jesus healed all the sick among them, but he warned them not to reveal who he was. This fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah concerning him: “Look at my Servant, whom I have chosen. He is my Beloved, who pleases me. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not fight or shout or raise his voice in public. He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. Finally he will cause justice to be victorious. And his name will be the hope of all the world.”
Have you read Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card? It’s part of the Ender’s Game series but takes place about three thousand years later. The Speaker is charged with understanding and expressing the mystery and truth of a person’s life.
It’s not easy work, but our pastor is particularly good at doing this and is having multiple opportunities to use this gift, three funerals in three weeks. After dear 97-year-old Alicia’s service Thursday, I was able to watch by live stream the funeral of our son-in-law Cesar’s 50-year-old Aunt Rosina in southern Brazil. In both cases, I felt I knew the people better in some ways in death than I had in life. I expect that will be true for Jane too, next week—my friend whom I wrote about in the last post, whose service will be next Friday.
This celebration of a person’s unique impact on the world always comforts me. Doing it well honors the significance of the person to those who knew him or her.
So when I read this Scripture this morning, it struck me that by the time Matthew wrote his Gospel, he was free from the restriction not to reveal who Jesus was, and chose this passage from Isaiah to crystallize for his readers (including us!) the essence of Jesus’ character. Read it over a few times. Let its loveliness sink into your heart. Are you encouraged? I am! Even more when I look back to his baptism in Matthew 3:17, and forward to his transfiguration in Matthew 17:5, two other times God the Father calls Jesus his Beloved, and the Spirit bears witness and empowers his work. A beautiful partnership.
He is so gentle. Yet his intent to bring justice will one day be successful. Because he not only died, he came back to life. Take hope!