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A Message For All Times
"Resurrection is a return to life; Christ is the author of that return and of that life to which it is a return." - Matthew Henry
"...He is the power which opens every grave, gives life to sleepers, and calls them forth to a new existence..."
- People's New Testament
"The life of Christians is bound up in the life of Christ; as sure and as long as He lives, those that by faith are united to Him shall live also; they shall live spiritually, a divine life in communion with God."
- Matthew Henry
"The whole power to restore, impart, and maintain life resides in Me."
- Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown Commentary
Isaiah 42:3 tells us of the Messiah - the Lord Jesus - "A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench..." Whatever Scriptural concept people have of God when approaching Him in prayer or worship - they must not neglect this one. Here we have a picture of the Lord Jesus Who - because He was bruised and broken - can and does feel for the bruised and broken of this world.
What did the Prophet Isaiah mean by a "bruised reed"? These are the ones who are fragile...broken down...easily influenced by every "wind" of thought...moved and broken by their calamities, afflictions, and trials...oppressed by doubts and fears... conscious of their sin and unworthiness...and feeling feeble and weak against the ills of life.
To whom was he referring when he spoke of the "smoking flax"? These are the ones who are weak, feeble, and disheartened - whose love and faith toward God seems to be ready to expire or is dimly burning.
And what did the Prophet say of the Lord Jesus? "A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench..." In other words, He will not deal harshly with those who come to Him. He will use gentleness in dealing with all who have the smallest beginnings of grace or wounded consciences. He will never entirely crush or condemn them. He will not deepen their afflictions...increase their trials...nor multiply their sorrows.
He will do as Matthew Henry stated in his comments on this particular verse of Scripture - "He will not break the bruised reed, but will strengthen it, that it may become a cedar in the courts of our God. He will not quench the smoking flax, but blow it up into a flame."
Think about what is being said here. "A bruised reed" is not broken by the Master's hands but strengthened to become a cedar tree - something far exceeding what anyone could ever ask for or think."The smoking flax" is not extinguished but made to become a bright flame.
What does this tell you about the Lord Jesus? Which characteristic of His seems to be portrayed through this verse of Scripture?
The answer can be found in His words to Martha at the sight of her brother Lazarus' tomb - "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live"(John 11:25). He is the source of life - the author or cause of Resurrection. The whole power to effect any type of resurrection - a returning back to life - depends on Him and His will.
This is confirmed in His words recorded in John 14:19 which says - "...because I live, ye shall live also." This is a pledge to all those who believe in Him and are united to Him through continual prayer and the study of His Word. He has the power over all spiritual foes. He and He alone can deliver from the hands of the enemy and from the fiery temptations and trials. Hence, He is able to sustain "a bruised reed" and keep alive "a smoking flax."
In fact, the Bible goes on to tell us in Romans 8:34 - "Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, Who is even at the right hand of God, Who also maketh intercession for us." The right hand of a king was anciently considered to be the seat of honor. This is verified in 1 Kings 2:19 - "Bathsheba therefore went unto king Solomon, to speak unto him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet her, and bowed himself unto her, and sat down on his throne, and caused a seat to be set for the king's mother; and she sat on his right hand" and Psalm 45:9 - "Kings' daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir."
However, when it comes to the right hand of the Father - in the seat of power - the Scriptures inform us that this place is reserved for One alone - the Son of God - "Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven."(Matthew 26:64) and "Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high"(Hebrews 1:3).
What is the Lord Jesus doing at the right hand of the Father? "...Who is even at the right hand of God, Who also maketh intercession for us." There He presents His obedience, sacrifice, and prayers on the behalf of His redeemed ones. He - Who is invested with all power, authority, and dominion - pleads our cause...aids and assists us...and presents our interests before the mercy-seat. He is clothed with power... exalted to honor...and placed as the head of all things.
Read what the following Scriptures say about this -
"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth"(Matthew 28:18).
"These words spake Jesus, and lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify Thee: As Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him"(John 17:1-2).
"Which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church"(Ephesians 1:20-22).
"A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench..."
The God - Who has all power in heaven and in earth and is exalted above all powers in this world and in the world to come - is the same God Who will not crush or quench the life of those who are desperately hanging on for dear life. Instead He - being the resurrection and the life - will revive their spirit and kindle their love for God once again.
There is no better example of "a bruised reed" or "a smoking flax" in the Bible than Job. Satan's desire was to crush and condemn this righteous man's faith and integrity. It was his plot and scheme to break him down - using calamity and affliction.
But Job happened to believe in the Resurrected Savior. In Job 19:25, his words are recorded as such - "For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth." By faith, he looked ahead and saw the day when Jesus would die on the Cross, shed His precious Blood for the sins of the world, be buried in a borrowed tomb, and then rise again. He would then ascend to the Father's right hand where He would intercede for His saints on the earth.
This concept of a Living Redeemer gave Job utmost confidence and certainty in his trials that God would vindicate him and avenge him of his adversaries. He would also restore him to health, happiness, and prosperity.
"For I know that my redeemer liveth..." He is my "goel" - my avenger. He is my next of kin Who will pay the ransom price to deliver me from my troubles...free me from my captivity to pain and sickness...restore what the devil stole from me...vindicate my character...and free me from the power of the grave.
Job was so confident of this truth that he actually prayed that God would allow him the privilege of having these very words written in a book for all generations to read - "Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!"(Job 19:23-24). Oh! That his words could be inscribed or cut in as a sepulchre in a rock. The method of writing used in those days was with an iron pen - a chisel - by which the letters were deeply cut in stone or a rock. Lead was melted into the cavities in order to make the letters more visible.
He desired that these words which expressed his faith in Christ...the resurrection of the dead...and a future state of happiness and glory - "For I know that my redeemer liveth..." - would be forever remembered. God granted his wish by placing them in His Holy Bible for all to read down through the ages.
"For I know that my redeemer liveth..." - These words continue to bring hope to so many facing bodily affliction...personal attacks against their character... seeming Divine desertion...and other fiery trials of their faith.
Do you feel as though you are "a bruised reed" about to break under the pressure of the winds of adversity or "a smoking flax" about to be quenched by Satan's fierce "gusts" against your faith?
The Lord Jesus declared - "I am the resurrection, and the life..." "...because I live, ye shall live also."
He is at the right hand of the Father in the seat of power - making intercession for you right now. He has the power to restore, impart, and maintain life. You will not die but live and declare His works.
You will be able to say with Job - "For I know that my redeemer liveth..."
"Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him, Who is the health of my countenance, and my God"(Psalm 42:11).
Never forget -
Your Redeemer lives!
May God Bless His Word.