Daily Devotion for June 16, 2015
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer of Submission
Dear Lord, I give you my hands to do your work; I give you my feet to go your way; I give you my eyes to see as you see; I give you my tongue to speak your words; I give you my mind that you may think in me; I give you my spirit that you may pray in me. Above all, I give you my heart that you may love in me. I give you my whole self, Lord, that you may grow in me, so that it is you who lives, works and prays in me.
Prayer of Clement of Rome
You, Lord, through your works have revealed the everlasting structure of the world. You, Lord, created the earth. You are faithful throughout all generations, righteous in your judgments, marvelous in strength and majesty, wise in creating and prudent in establishing what exists, good in all that is observed and faithful to those who trust in you, merciful and compassionate; forgive me my sins and my injustices, my transgressions and my shortcomings.
Do not take into account every sin of your servant, but cleanse me with the cleansing of your truth, and direct my steps to walk in holiness and righteousness and purity of heart, and to do what is good and pleasing in your sight and in the sight of my rulers. Yes, Lord, let your face shine upon all your servants in peace for our good, that we may be sheltered by your mighty hand and delivered from every sin by your uplifted arm; deliver us as well from those who hate us unjustly.
Give harmony and peace to me and to all who dwell on the earth, just as you did to our fathers when they reverently called upon you in faith and trust, that we may be saved, while we render obedience to your almighty and most excellent name, and give harmony and peace to our rulers and governors on earth.
[God is faithful throughout all generations, including this one and those to come.]
God of love, Father of all, the darkness that covered the earth has given way to the bright dawn of your Word made flesh. Make me and all who confess your holy name people of this light. Make me faithful to your Word that I may bring your life to the waiting world. Grant this through Christ our Lord.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Matthew 12:14-21 (ESV)
God’s Chosen Servant
But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus. Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill. He warned them not to tell others about him. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:
“Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
He will not quarrel or cry out;
no one will hear his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he has brought justice through to victory.
Notes on the Scripture
The quote is Isaiah 42 1:4. Matthew quotes it in perfect context, for this was one of Isaiah's great prophecies of the Messiah. Christ does not act as instructed by the prophesy, for Matthew added this long after the Ascension; rather, it is more accurate to say that Isaiah correctly predicted Christ's behavior.
When we read through one of the Gospels, we watch with a sort of horrified fascination as the authorities built a case against Jesus. Every miracle is met with some sort of criticism or accusation; he is in league with the devil, or violates the law of Moses, or commits blasphemy. At this point in Matthew, they have built their case sufficiently, at least in their own minds, to begin plotting his death.
Annas and Caiphas
The authorities here are generally described as Pharisees, but this is because Jesus is teaching in the north, in and around Galilee. The Pharisees were the progenitorsProgenitor: something (or someone) that comes before something else and that often leads to or influences its development. of modern Judaism and tended to be “rabbis”; they were the teachers of the common people, more democratic than the Sadducees, and tended to be found in synagogues away from Jerusalem. The Sadducees were very much aristocratic and were political leaders; they tended to congregate in Jerusalem. The lines were not hard and fast, however; some priests at the temple were Pharisees, and many did not belong to any sect.
The point being, Jesus was equally unpopular with Pharisees, Sadducees, other sects, and non-sectarian priests and scribes: They all were offended by him and, ultimately, wanted him dead. The Sanhedrin (the religious high court in Jerusalem), which would eventually bring about his death, was dominated by Sadducees, particularly the high priest, Caiphas, and the powerful Annas, his father-in-law.
But to the point of the passage, Christ acts as Isaiah had prophesied. God had a plan for his Son, which would occur gradually over three years. For Jesus to have worked miracles, claiming loudly to be the Messiah, would no doubt have caused a huge mob-dominated frenzy with political overtones. So, he repeatedly asks those he heals not to speak of it. He did not want “PR”. He wanted time to teach, so that there would be a body of people who had absorbed his message when he departed.
So, he does not “quarrel or cry out.” He disputed the claims of the Jews, often and with authority, but he did not get into loud verbal fights that would polarize audiences into emotional action. Nor did he take physical action. A bruised reed will snap at the slightest touch; thus, saying that he would not break a bruised reed is equivalent to our saying “he wouldn't hurt a fly”.
Similarly, a “smoldering wick” is a nearly extinguished flame. The most common interpretation of this metaphor is to a person who has almost no hope, no light, no learning; someone who is on the edge of simply giving up. Christ will not give up on anybody, as long as there is the smallest spark of faith in them.