In the book of Matthew (12:9-14) we read about how Jesus healed a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath. This caused the Pharisees, in their hypocrisy, to begin a plan to destroy Jesus. Matthew gives us Jesus’ reaction to the Pharisees and then quotes from Isaiah (42:1-3) to show us that, while Jesus did not meet the expectations of the Jewish leadership, He did meet the expectations of His heavenly Father.
Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followed him, and he healed them all and ordered them not to make him known. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah:
“Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles. He will not quarrel or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets; a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory; and in his name the Gentiles will hope.” (Matthew 12:15–21, ESV)
In this passage we see God’s expectations for His servant:
- He did not draw attention to himself. “He will not quarrel…“
- He ministered restoration to the broken. “a bruised reed he will not break“
- He ministered renewal to those ready to give up. “a smoldering wick he will not quench“
- He gave hope to all through His work of salvation. “he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles… and in his name the Gentiles will hope.“
Notice how those attributes fly in the face of the world’s expectations in our day. People in power and who are popular constantly draw attention to themselves. Even everyday people cry for attention on social media and say, “Look at me!” Those who lead comfortable lives, from the elite down through the middle class, have no time or use for the broken and downtrodden. There is little concern for those who have suffered injustice in this world, much less a concern for the time when God makes all things new.
There are expectations the world places upon us, and there is God’s expectation that we be like His Son (Rom. 8.29).
As you evaluate your life and your goals for the upcoming year, consider seriously whose expectations you will live up to.
David Harris is the Senior Pastor at Faith Baptist Church. A former programmer, in his free time he enjoys spending time with his wife Kim and trying his hand at the illusive craft of smoking meat.