I’m really fond of Isaiah 42- the first of the Servant Song passages, for various reasons. One is that it was one of the first passages I ever gave an impromptu ‘thought for the day’ from, over breakfast in my old job (a residential centre: staff would occasionally take turns to give a thought for the day while guests munched their cereal and toast…).
Secondly is that it has this great image of the saviour (Isaiah is talking of the hoped for king/leader of the people that they need in the short term, but also the messiah), which we see enacted in Jesus’ ministry… not break the bruised reed (I’ve understood that as being gentle with those who are weak or hurting- those who’s illnesses made them social outcasts as well as physically suffering)… not snuffing out the smouldering wick (Jesus’ encouragement of those around him when they showed some kind of understanding- Peter amongst others!)
But there’s also this contrasting idea, that the servant will bring justice to the world, but not with raised voices or a big gun… but by gentleness to the weak… it won’t happen all at once, but he will not falter or be discouraged.
You see, I’m quite big on justice, but I’m not so good on patience… and this passage is (as I’ve just been reminded by my wife) quite appropriate for me. This is the nature of Jesus- he is the servant that Isaiah describes, but I hope to follow him and to become more like him… passion and enthusiasm need to be matched by patience and gentleness…