Suggested Reading: Matthew 12:15-21
One of the outstanding features of the Gospel of Matthew is how he would often connect what Jesus said and did to the fulfillment of a prophecy. Here he says, “This was to fulfil what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah…“
This prophecy was written about 600-700 years before the time Matthew quoted these words. He makes it clear that these words point to Jesus and, remarkably, it is a character portrait of the coming Messiah and one among all the others, which Jesus fulfilled perfectly. Matthew quotes from Isaiah 42:1-4.
Character Profile of Christ:
- He will not quarrel: Jesus was not in the business of having drawn-out arguments about His message. He simply spoke the truth and left the acceptance or rejection of His message over to the hearers. “He who has ears let Him hear…” In other words, the responsibility stays with the one who is listening. Knowing that He spoke the truth, He didn’t feel threatened by what others believed. And so we never read of Jesus getting into ugly disagreements about His message. As for us, when we speak the truth, we will also not feel threatened by opposition. The truth gives one a sense of security and strength. When one tells a lie or if one is not completely convinced in his heart that his beliefs are true, any notion of opposition becomes cause for concern. Feeling threatened when our views are opposed may actually be a sign of insecurity about what we believe in. If I am secure about what I believe in, it would really not matter what others say since the truth always wins in the end. With this, Jesus also sets an example for us to avoid quarreling. Paul instructed the New Testament Church to do the same. If Jesus didn’t go about quarrelling with people about the Message, then neither should we.
- He will not cry out: He was not the kind of person who would try to dominate and try to control people by raising His voice. He went on His way every day doing good without His own image in mind. He gave up the high impression the church leaders may have had of Him by keeping company with sinners and tax collectors. He just did what God wanted Him to do without allowing what people think of Him to deter Him from His purpose.
- No one will hear His voice in the streets: This does not imply that Jesus won’t speak in public. We all know from the Gospel accounts that He did most of His teaching in public. It is a reference to trying to draw attention to yourself. Jesus didn’t do that. That is one of the reasons Matthew quoted this part of Scripture to explain Jesus’ character after Jesus asked people not to tell others about Him. He didn’t want to become Prime Time entertainment. He knew people’s tendency to follow the latest thrill. Also, His voice was not heard in the streets because He didn’t have marketing team who went about advertising His sensational miracles. On certain occasions, He even asked those who experienced the miraculous healings themselves to remain quiet about Him. Not that we are not called to share our testimonies today, but Jesus had a specific mission which had to be completed at a specific time.
- A bruised reed He will not break: Jesus will never trample on a person who is already down and out. His life on earth is testimony to the fact that this prophecy was about Him. In fact, He went out of His way to stand up for the weak, much to the indignation of the church leaders. They only had room for the strong and the excellent. But Jesus did the opposite. He came to the rescue of a woman who was about to be stoned to death for adultery. He rebuked His disciples for trying to keep children away from Him. He also rebuked them when they had a problem when a woman with a bad reputation came and anointed His feet. On the Cross, He prayed for the forgiveness of those who crucified Him, showing that He understood their ignorance about who He really was. As believers in Christ, we have the Spirit of Christ and His Spirit develops in us compassion for the weak, not irritation. A follower of the Lord Jesus will not delight in crushing those whom they consider to be weaker than themselves.
- A smouldering wick He will not snuff out: Jesus would never take the last little light that a person has and put it out. On the contrary, He has been shown to encourage people to understand better. He warned His listeners to take care how they listen to His teaching since those who gave careful thought to His words and desire to apply it in their lives, will be given even more understanding. He didn’t look down on those who didn’t understand spiritual things very well. In fact, there are several instances where He patiently taught those who came to Him with honest questions to increase their understanding.
Those who claim to live in Him, must walk as Jesus did. I believe the more we learn about the character of our Lord, the better we are able to accurately measure if we are walking as Jesus did. It also helps us to discern between true and false teachers of the Gospel.