Saturday in the Fourth Week of Ordinary Time

Matthew 12:15-21; Mark 3:7-12

The One Who Conquers Through Humility

Here is a brief summary of the ministry that Jesus performed in Galilee over the several months he was there.  After the Pharisees gathered to conspire against him, Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea; however, great crowds followed him.  Mark gives their locations from: Galilee, Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond (east of) the Jordan, and Tyre and Sidon – in a word, from all over.  They were literally thronging him, begging to be healed in a day when disease, ill-health, and death were a regular part of life.  And he healed them all, preaching and teaching as he went.  Unclean spirits cried out his identity, but Jesus refused those foul demons to speak his holy name, teaching us that those who would use his name must embrace him as Savior and Lord or have nothing to do with him.  By the way, are we as desperate for Jesus as those poor souls were?  Has our age of medical care, excellent health, plenty, and instant gratification made us complacent to our spiritual infirmities, poverty of personal holiness, and slow progress in growth in the grace of our Lord and Savior?  If so, perhaps we need to throng him in our prayers, pleading for healing, begging that we may only touch the hem of his garment that we may be healed of worse diseases than they had in his day.

Then Matthew quotes the prophet Isaiah 42:1-3, a prophecy describing the character of our Lord.  The first lines declare his identity – the chosen One in whom the Father is well-pleased.  He is described as the One who has the Spirit without measure, the holy One of God.  He will proclaim justice to the Gentiles, that is, declare even unto them that divine favor has now fallen upon them.  The kingdom of God has come near to all those the Lord will call unto Himself – the outcast and the dispossessed.  “He will not quarrel or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets,” meaning that in this first coming, he comes in humility, as if riding a donkey rather than a war horse, most refusing to recognize or acknowledge him (John 1:11).  “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench,” referring to his meekness and gentleness, binding up the brokenhearted, with his touch, and healing the souls of multitudes with a word of divine forgiveness.  And he does these things with the unassuming presence of a lamb, but with the tenacity and perseverance of a lion.  He will neither faint nor fail until he brings his people home, “bringing justice to victory,” carrying out his plan, leading his people through their long exile, granting unto them his gracious reward.  And in his name, we hope.  And hope in the Bible is not a mere possibility, but a sure certainty.  We trust our Lord and Savior implicitly.  He is Healer, our Comforter, our Captain, and he will deliver us.

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