Title: The Messiah We Needed
Text: Matthew 12:15-21
FCF: We often get distracted by many things that should not be our focus, battles we should give up for the sake of the war.
Prop: Because Jesus is exactly what we need, we must depend on Jesus as our only hope.
[Slide 1] Turn in your bible to Matthew chapter 12. This morning I will endeavor to do something that I rarely do. Be brief. J Our membership reboot class is immediately following the morning service, and I know that two hours after service would be taxing on all of us. So for the next 8 weeks I am going to try – no promises – I am going to try to keep my thoughts concise so we can move on to our reboot class at a decent time. My goal is to be done with the service at 11AM. Please no laughing. I have selected a smaller section of scripture this morning to attempt to keep all the content we are talking about short. So let’s jump right into the reading of the text today. I’ll be reading in Matthew chapter 12 starting in verse 15 – I’ll be reading in the CSB today but follow along in whatever version you prefer.
[Slide 2 will be a link to a Youtube Video. Have it prepared prior since Microsoft doesn’t allow Youtube embedding any more START 26:00 END 28:38]
By way of brief intro to this sermon, watch with me a portion of Rachael Danhollander closing statements in the Larry Nasser Case, only days ago.
[Slide 3 (blank)] Friends, we get distracted by a great many things. Fighting battles and trumpeting causes that while just, are merely symptoms of a problem at the core of all of us. In this we resemble most 1st Century Israel. Who had expected their Messiah to solve all kinds of little battles and petty causes that did not matter. By God’s grace, He gave them the Messiah they needed, not the one they wanted. This young woman expressed the heart of what we will learn today. Let me show you.
I.) Jesus is the Messiah that was prophesied, we must depend on Christ as our only hope. (15-18)
a. [Slide 4] 15 - Jesus was aware of this and withdrew. Large crowds followed him and he healed them all.
i. What was Jesus aware of? The intentions of the Pharisees to kill him.
ii. So He fled. Well why would God in flesh flee from the religious elite? If He was God, and none could stand against Him, wouldn’t he stand and fight?
iii. More on this in a moment.
iv. In any case – the Pharisees influence and disapproval did not dissuade many from following Him.
v. Jesus had compassion on their woes and healed their sicknesses and ailments.
vi. But he did so with an all-too-familiar warning….
b. [Slide 5] 16-17 - He warned them not to make him known, So that what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled.
i. What does it mean not to make Him known?
ii. To make Him known, literally means to make Him famous. To advertise. To publicize. To lobby.
iii. Jesus doesn’t want people evangelizing others about Him. Why?
iv. This will become more clear in a bit – but Jesus did not want them spreading His fame about the countryside because, in part, they did not know who He was, what He came to do, or what that would mean for the nation of Israel or the world.
v. His discouragement of them doing this is to fulfill what Isaiah reveals in 42:1-4. We’ll get to the meat of that in a moment, but let’s just confirm that Isaiah was talking about the Messiah…
c. [Slide 6] 18 - Here is my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved in whom I delight. I will put my Spirit on him and He will proclaim justice to the nations.
i. Often in Old Testament prophesy –particularly in Isaiah, Servant can mean son. And that word is used to describe either the Messiah or Israel.
ii. In Matthew’s day, some commentators on Isaiah 42 would identify Servant as Israel, still others would identify the servant as the coming Messiah. Matthew agrees with the latter. Chosen of God – Elected
iii. My beloved in whom I delight –there is an element here that goes back to Jesus’ baptism. God spoke and said “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” Remember how I said servant could also mean son in Hebrew. Matthew is using that ambiguity here to draw attention to what was hidden in this text that reveals it was indeed about the coming Messiah and not simply Israel.
iv. I will put my Spirit on Him –His Spirit or power and presence or anointed one
v. He will proclaim justice to the nations. He will preach God’s justice or making things right.
d. Jesus takes His place as the Servant prophesied in Isaiah 42. He is the one who will bring this age of God’s grace and justice to earth. He will establish a peace with God and man.
e. Jesus is the Messiah that they should have been expecting.
[Slide 7 (blank)] But we have some unanswered questions still. How does Jesus fleeing the Pharisees fulfill this prophesy from Isaiah? How does Jesus telling these people not to spread around His fame fulfill the prophesy from Isaiah? How does this little section of scripture fit into the context of this book? Matthew has been talking about the opposition to Jesus’ message, so what does this little section contribute to that discussion? We will find our answers in the latter portion of the Prophesy from Isaiah that Matthew has quoted for us in the next 3 verses.
II.) Jesus is the Messiah we needed; we must depend on Christ as our only hope. (19-21)
a. [Slide 8] 19 - He will not argue or shout and no one will hear his voice in the streets
i. Words written around 700 years prior to Jesus walking the earth, prophesied to Israel about the mission of the Messiah.
ii. He will not be a military leader. He will not come to lead a revolt. He will not overthrow governments or raise a rebellion.
iii. He won’t even be heard in the streets.
iv. So when He flees from the Pharisees who wish Him harm – He fulfills this prophesy
v. When He wishes not to be famous, He fulfills this prophesy.
vi. He doesn’t want to raise a rebellion.
vii. His purpose is greater than something so trivial.
b. [Slide 9] 20 - He will not break a bruised reed, and he will not put out a smoldering wick, until he has led justice to victory
i. What exactly is this saying?
ii. A bruised reed is a reed that cannot be used or relied on because the strength of a reed is in it staying structurally firm. If it is bruised or cracked, it will soon collapse.
iii. A smoldering wick is a candle that is almost burnt out. It won’t light again. It is at the end of its life. It is at the end of its rope.
iv. Some would say that this means that the Messiah will come and bring healing to the weak. Love to the Outcast.
v. However, there is an interesting clause at the end of this that makes me think that these word pictures are telling us something deeper.
vi. Until He has led justice to victory. What a curious phrase.
1. Leading Justice to victory is essentially what he said in verse 18… that what is wrong about the world will be made right. And bringing that to victory is bringing it to reality.
2. And adding the word until in front of this makes it seem that leading Justice to victory is the only thing stopping him from snuffing out the wick and breaking the reed.
vii. So I think the deeper interpretation here is that the Messiah did not come to judge those who were spiritually dead, in bondage, weak and broken. He came to provide peace and justice. Once that has been established or on the Day of the Lord - then the reeds will be broken and the wicks snuffed out.
viii. This whole methodology of the Messiah is only temporary. One day He will be the one shouting and arguing. He will be the one crying in the streets. He will be the military leader. He will trample the wicked and snuff out the depraved.
ix. But FIRST He was meek and mild. First He shrouded that ferocity in love. First He fought the spiritual side of the war. He has secured victory through His death and resurrection.
x. And that is all that Isaiah 42 prophesied about the Messiah. A suffering and insignificant servant that secures victory for justice.
xi. And because He did this first…
c. [Slide 10] 21 - The nations will put their hope in His name.
i. He secured hope for the nations.
ii. If He came first to judge, all of us would have been swept away.
iii. Thank God He sent Him first to secure victory for Justice.
iv. In this, all nations, not just Israel, but even you and I, we all have hope in His name.
[Slide 11 (blank)] So how does all this fit into what Matthew has been talking about? What can we learn from this?
Well in this narrative section we have seen John the Baptist express doubts because Jesus was not judging the wicked. But Matthew confronts this head on by showing that the Prophesies about the Messiah included predictions that He would and would not come in judgment. An apparent contradiction that we know to not be a contradiction at all.
The Pharisees opposed Him because He challenged the spiritual status quo. In fact, It was His implication that they had misinterpreted and misapplied the law that really made their blood boil. To the point that they now wanted to kill Him. And how would the prophesied Messiah react to this? He ran. Rather than continuing to challenge them – He steps aside.
Of course eventually Jesus stops running from them – but His mission is not close enough to its end yet.
So to the immediate context, this passage serves as a reminder for the Jew, and even for us, that Jesus’ behavior, his methodology, is entirely consistent with what we should have expected from the Messiah. In fact, it had to be this way. Jesus had to come with this purpose and this goal first.
So what can we learn from this to apply to our lives? Well God revealed a few things for me this week that I’d like to share with you. And they all center on the purpose of Jesus God’s Messiah.
1.) [Slide 12A] He was not a Messiah of Societal reform but of religious reform. Because all the societal reform in the world could not solve the problems of the hearts of men. They didn’t need better laws, a government change, or freedom from Rome. They needed a new heart. They needed to be broken. They needed to have their sin debt paid. Christ came to make men new.
As His followers we ought to follow His example. Not placing hope in a President, Judges, laws or liberty but in Christ and Christ alone. Only Christ can change our nation, because only Christ can change a man’s heart.
And if you today are not a follower of Christ – you should know that He did not come to teach you to conform to some arbitrary standard of moral conduct… but He came to show you that you are morally bankrupt. That there is no good in you. That you stand hopeless before a holy God – but that HE would take your penalty and give you His reward. Depend on Him as your only Hope. Repent and Believe.
2.) [Slide 12B] He was not a Messiah of Social Justice but of Spiritual justice. Because every effort to make right on earth what society had made wrong would fail because ultimately the great problem of mankind is not that we are all born good people but society turns some of us bad. The problem is that every one of us is WICKED, EVIL, and REBELLIOUS to the King of the Universe. And no amount of social justice can undo that. He could have come to defend the widow, stand up for the oppressed, free the slave or lead a revolt, but friend instead He broke the chains of darkness and sin. And I am so thankful that He did.
And for His followers, we ought to follow His example. We ought not put our hope in causes or protests. We ought not sink thousands of dollars in lobbying for this end or that. The church is wasted on such things. The only thing we have that is unique to any other entity in all of God’s creation – is the only thing God’s creation NEEDS. It is the gospel. We have the greatest weapon against social injustice but we get distracted by the symptoms of the problem rather than the root of the problem.
And if today you are not a follower of Christ, do you want to know why people starve? Why children are orphaned? Why famine and petulance and disease are rampant on this earth? The short answer is sin. Since the fall of man, since God’s apocalyptic judgment on the earth in the flood, Since the coming of Christ and beyond – This world has been crumbling at the foundation. And is because men fell. It is because sin slipped through the door that Adam cracked opened. And Jesus the Christ – the Son of the Living God – offers you a way to shut it again, at least for your heart. The bible says the whole earth groans in anticipation of being freed from sin. And for you- personally – Christ is your only hope. Repent and Believe.
3.) [Slide 12C] He was not a Messiah of Earthly Peace but of Peace with God. Because at the core of every war that has ever been waged, there is sin, in some way or another. Even with the Israelites taking over the land of Canaan…. God makes clear that the reason He is using the Israelites to do this, is because the Canaanite people there were wicked. No Jesus did not come to be a pacifist and encourage all men to simply live at peace with one another – because that doesn’t solve anything.
And for we who are believers, it doesn’t mean we need to be leading the charge for war – but we certainly should not be distracted fighting against it either. We have bigger fish to fry. Let the world rage. Preach the gospel to them. After all that is the only thing that will bring the peace that actually matters. The peace with God.
And if you are not a follower of Christ – you should know that your greatest threat is not from ISIS, Russia, China, North Korea or any other nation or power. Afterall, what can these men take from you but your life, your family, your possessions? Your greatest threat is that you are opposed to the ruler of the universe, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. He will win and he won’t have to try to do so. And as it stands, you do not stand to lose simply your life, family or possessions… you stand to lose all that, and your very soul. You are fighting a deadly battle and you are already dead. But Jesus has secured life for you! He has given you hope. He offers you the chance to be God’s Son or Daughter. Princes and Princesses of His Kingdom. Lay down your arms! Defect and Lay your life down before Him. Repent of your wickedness and surrender to His Lordship. Then you will know peace, and that peace will endure forever.
4.) [Slide 12D (end)] And finally, He is not a Messiah of Israel but of the world. Because Jesus did not come to seek and to save the religious. He did not come to restore the rich. He did not come to help the powerful. He did not come to save those who assumed they were already good. He came to free the enslaved from their corruption. He came to bring sight to the blind. He came to heal the deepest hurt of man – His heart.
For those who are believers – marvel in this. That God rescued you even though you were wicked. That He loved you while you fought against Him. That He chose you to be His Masterpiece while you spat in His face. Jesus came and died to secure your pardon. Don’t forget it. Wear it on your foreheads. Sing it in your songs. Pray it in your prayers. Give Thanks to the Lord for this hope we have in His Messiah.
And for those who are not followers of Christ … He came and died for you. You need not be special. You need not be worthy. You need not meet a certain criteria before you can earn the right to hear of the Hope He brings. All you need to know is that you are wicked and that you stand condemned before a Holy God. And if you are weary – if you are heavy laden – If you have recognized your desperate need – If you know you are hopeless – Then Cry out to Him and beg Him for mercy – and See What Great Hope He Brings for you!
Jesus – Jesus – Jesus – There is hope in no other name…