Hope Is Found in His Name
"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. In his name the nations will put their hope.'” -- Matthew 12:15-21
As coaches and athletes, we have all lived through tryouts ahead of a new season, the air full of energy and uncertainty. Many of us can recall the feeling when “that athlete” walks in. There is a swagger of confidence about her, a certain stride that announces his arrival, a skill that they’re above the rest. The possibility of his dominating presence on our team is enough to bring hope for a transcendent season of obliterating opponents... and the news that she committed elsewhere is enough to take that hope away.
In the twelfth chapter of Matthew, the clashes between Jesus and the religious leaders have intensified. It feels like the preseason has come to an end, and the real games are about to begin. Among the people, Jesus’ presence brought hope on a national scale. Matthew reaches back to the first of the prophet Isaiah’s “Suffering Servant Songs” to capture the moment (Isaiah 42:1-7). This man of immense power does not loudly proclaim his presence. He does not walk with a swagger as if to say, “Look at me” or, “I will destroy you.” And he certainly did not arrive to ensure that lesser players were cut from the team. But he carried the hope of the entire world, that justice would ultimately win. And He could do it without harming His teammates or the opposition.
Jesus is a light to the nations and it is “In His Name” that we have hope, as we await His return.
- How does it make you feel knowing that God sent His son not to crush the weak, but to provide hope for all?
- Write down the names of a few people that you know who could use hope.
Isaiah 42:1-25; 1 Peter 1:3-6; John 4:13-14; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
"Jesus, thank You for walking onto our field as a servant. Thank You for not looking at us and deciding to go to a different club. Thank You for putting Your name on our jersey and providing hope. Help me to share that hope with the world so that they might have the opportunity to be called Your friends and join the team."