Brandon Gregory is a volunteer for the worship and missions teams at Church of the Resurrection. He helps lead worship at the Vibe, West, and Downtown services, and is involved with the Malawi missions team at home.
I have to say, Isaiah is one of my favorite books in the Bible. It’s no exaggeration to say that Isaiah 58 changed my life, and today’s passage (Isaiah 42) isn’t far behind. I didn’t get this message until later in life.
Throughout high school and college, I was a fighter. Coming out of a strict fundamentalist church, I was not afraid to call people out for whatever needed calling out. This led to some amazing breakthrough moments, but it also led to some spectacular failures more closely resembling a shouting match than an enlightened conversation. My conviction was inspiring for those already inclined to believe the same as me; but for those who disagreed, it left no room for civil discourse.
In those days, I saw in Jesus what I saw in myself: someone who called out sin boldly, someone who shouted until he was heard, who wasn’t afraid to get into fights no matter the cost.
But I was only half right. This passage in Isaiah is the one Jesus chose to announce his godhood. Jesus was a messiah who would not break even a bruised reed, would not extinguish even a smoldering wick. That’s not to say he couldn’t raise his voice when needed. But that’s just it–he only raised his voice when needed. It wasn’t his iron will or sharp wit that saved us; it was his love and faithfulness.
A personal hero of mine, Soren Kierkegaard, a 19th century Danish philosopher, wrote (and I’m paraphrasing, here): What this age needs isn’t another genius–we’ve had our fill of geniuses. What this age needs is a martyr, who would show us how to be faithful, even unto death. What this age needs is awakening.
This is reminiscent of Isaiah’s words in today’s passage: In faithfulness, he will bring forth justice. Remember, while will and wit are useful and worth developing, it is ultimately our love and faithfulness that will save our friends time and time again. Just as Isaiah wrote and Jesus lived out, it’s possible to achieve justice without so much as breaking a reed. Be the one who will show us how to be faithful, even unto death. Be the one who loves fearlessly, beyond human explanation. This will be the change we need in the world today.
Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.