20 June, 2024

The Gentle Servant

by | 22 April, 2024 | 0 comments

By Edwin White 

“Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He will declare justice to the Gentiles. He will not quarrel nor cry out, nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench, till He sends forth justice to victory; and in His name Gentiles will trust” (Matthew 12:18-21* [from Isaiah 42:1-4]). 

Isaiah’s picture of the gentle Servant of the Lord presents him as one who does not seek confrontation, whose voice is not like a protester screeching out his complaints in the streets. He is, instead, very gentle. 

There are two metaphors Isaiah uses to illustrate the gentleness of our Lord. The first has to do with agriculture. When young reeds are being transplanted, they are easy to bruise; and when they are bruised, one must take great care to keep from breaking them as they are moved from one location to another. Such gentle, tender handling of plants illustrates the way Jesus handled fragile people. He did not break bruised hearts. Anyone who came to him with a sincere heart found comfort, encouragement, and forgiveness. 

The second metaphor is from a fire-starting process. Dry flax often was used for that purpose. A tiny spark alighting on a piece of flax would begin to smoke. Gentle blowing on it would cause the spark to brighten until a flame would appear. If a person blew too vigorously, it would put out the flame. Gentleness was required for the process. Again, if anyone came to Jesus with a tiny spark of faith in their heart, Jesus would gently fan that spark to make it grow.  

When the father of an epileptic boy came to the disciples, they could not cure him. Then Jesus came and the father said, “If You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus answered, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Then the father cried out, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:22-24).  

Notice how gently Jesus led the man to greater faith and how the man asked for and received the strengthening of that faith through the miracle of healing for his son. 

At this table, we come to remember our gentle Savior. Even though Jesus was never violent, the authorities seized him like a criminal, rushed him through a trial with a predetermined verdict, and handed him over for execution. They took his gentle hands and nailed them to a cross. It fulfilled God’s plan to provide a way for each of us to have a home in heaven. Let us bow our hearts before him to honor and adore him as we prepare to partake of the Lord’s Supper. 

*All Scripture verses are from the New King James Version

Ed White is a retired Christian minister. He earned degrees from Mid-South Christian College, Alabama Christian School of Religion, and the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He lives in Milledgeville, Ga. His book of Communion meditations, Come to the Table, is available from Amazon. 

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