“Jesus is Our Servant”

Matthew 12:15-21

We are continuing in chapter 12 of the Book of Matthew. We left off last week where Jesus had healed a man’s crippled hand on the Sabbath, in the synagogue. A major No, No from the religious leaders’ point of view and they left to discuss how to kill Jesus. 

Today, we pick the story back up, with Jesus quite aware of what the religious leaders were doing and He too decided to leave the synagogue. He didn’t leave alone, His miracle did not go unnoticed. We read in verse 15 that many followed Him. We also read that Jesus healed ALL their sick and then warned them not to tell who He was. 

This is one of the few references in the gospels where it is mentioned that Jesus healed ALL those in His presence. 

Matthew was stressing the point of Jesus healing those who had put their faith in Him. But also notice, Jesus was not ready to be “recognized” for His miracles. It wasn’t time yet. 

In verse 17, we read that Jesus was yet fulfilling another prophecy. Verses 18-21 are a direct quote from Isaiah 42:1-4. Isaiah was presenting the gentle character of the Messiah, who is the Servant of Yahweh. Jesus will describe Himself as a servant in chapters 20 & 23 later on in the Book of Matthew. In Acts 3, Peter gave a sermon and offered our Savior the title, “His Servant Jesus.” In Acts 4, the praying people of God spoke of “Your holy Servant Jesus.” 

Jesus is indeed the Servant of the Most High and provides for us an example of what we should be. But He is much more than that. He is also our Servant. 

Let’s take a moment and ponder that statement. 

“Jesus is our Servant.” The upside-down kingdom reappears. Kings are generally served, not servants. The creator of the universe and everything in it served us on the cross. He served us through His resurrection. Even still, He serves us as an interceder from heaven. 

Isaiah states that God had put His Spirit on Him and in the Spirit, Jesus proclaims justice to the nations. With God’s Spirit, Isaiah goes on to describe how this servant acts, verse 19, 

He will not quarrel or cry out;

    no one will hear his voice in the streets. 

It’s not that Jesus didn’t speak loudly. 

This describes how Jesus used His gentle, lowly heart to guide His actions. 

Jesus did not make His way with an overpowering personality and charismatic talk. Instead, the impression Jesus made upon others was from the Spirit of God upon Him, gentle and sincere. 

The next verse needs to be remembered, verse 20, 

A bruised reed he will not break,

    and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,

Another reference to the gentle character of Jesus. A reed is a fragile plant. Notice if it is bruised, the Servant will handle it so that He will not break it. And if the flax, which was used for an oil lamp, does not flame but rather smokes, Jesus will not extinguish it but rather nourish it and fan it into flame again. 

How often have we felt like a bruised reed or a smoldering wick? 

Either we have been hit by something and although not broken we are bruised, weak and wondering whether we will ever get our strength again. 

Or we are “burned out,” we have burned the candle from both ends and there is no more wax to feed the flame. We are smoldering. 

Often we may feel that God deals roughly with our weaknesses and failures. Isaiah and Matthew remind us that is not true. He deals with us gently and tenderly. 

He also expects us to do the same for those around us. Jesus sees the value in a bruised reed or a smoking flax. One needs strength, the other needs refreshment. 

Paul tells us in Ephesians 3:16 to pray…

“…that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being,”

We should pray Ephesians 3:16 for ourselves and for others. 

Let’s do so right now, turn to Ephesians 3:16, take a moment and read that verse to yourself, instead of the word “you” place your name or the name of someone you know needs power through the Holy Spirit. 

And when we are smoldering, we can burn brightly for the Lord again when we have been drenched with a constant supply from the Holy Spirit, through prayer and the reading of His Word. 

Isaiah then speaks of the ultimate ministry of the Messiah to the Gentiles, verse 21,

 “In His name the nations will put their hope.”

This would have been surprising if not even offensive to the Jewish listeners of Matthew. However, the reference to the Messiah reaching out to all nations, not just the Israelites, was established in His prophecies.

“Whoever has ears, let them hear.” [Matthew 11:15]

Time to check in. 

Any bruised reeds or smoldering wicks in the room? 

If not yourself, what about those in your life circle? Family? Friends? 

Oh that we would be like the Suffering Servant and reach out to those in need, with tenderness and mercy. 

No judgment, just hope. 

Can’t you picture the narrow minded Pharisee’s, who thought they knew everything but when Jesus appears, 

He demonstrated otherwise. 

First human response – defensiveness. 

First servant response – no quarrel, no cry out.

The Gospels tell us how Jesus, the Messiah, came to be a servant, for God and for us. 

“…till He leads justice to victory.” v.20

As we come to the Lord’s Table and remember what Jesus did to set us free from our bruises and our burnout let’s take the words of Isaiah and pray them for those in need. 

Let’s pray….. DEAR GOD


JESUS IS OUR servant whom YOU CHOSE,

    the one YOU love, in whom YOU delight;

YOU put YOUR Spirit on him,

    and He PROCLAIMED justice to the nations.

He DID not quarrel or cry out;

    no one HEARD 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.

    In His name the nations will put their hope.”

God, we put our hope in Jesus and thank You for the gift of life, given to us through Your sacrifice of Your servant Jesus. 

Help us to reach out and be servants to those around us.


[Lord’s Supper]