Summary: In the midst of our "throw away" society, Jesus restores broken lives. Let Jesus give you a "before and after" story of restoration, renewal and hope.
You have probably heard the story about the preacher who would put a breath mint in his mouth as he would step to the pulpit to begin to preach. Not only did this keep the preacher from having bad breath to offend his congregation as he would greet them at the conclusion of the mornings service, but it also prevented him form being long winded—when the mint was gone he would conclude. One Sunday, however, he popped a button on his shirt and when it came time for the message he inadvertently placed the button into his mouth by mistake. Now I didn’t bring any breath mints with me this morning, and no one offered me one, but I do have this button~!
Let’s keep our focus in mind—let’s hear the Word of God and make an honest response to it.
>> Matthew 12:20 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he leads justice to victory.
Make this your prayer: Holy Spirit, You are welcome here. Give me ears to hear what You would say to me today, and give me a willing heart to respond honestly to You. Amen.
Bruised Reeds and Smoldering Wicks illustrate how Jesus would minister in the lives of people—it is a kind of before and after story. Each one comes to Jesus bruised--smoldering, BUT WE DON’T HAVE TO STAY THAT WAY!
What are the bruised reeds and smoldering wicks?
What is Jesus’ response to them?
Are you here today as a bruised reed or smoldering wick—Remember our focus: let’s hear the Word of God and respond honestly to it.
THE BRUISED REED
People are like these Bruised Reeds. We can stand strong and confident until something happens, you’re bruised. . .
* harsh words / a friends anger.
* a spouse’s betrayal.
* personal illness / child’s sickness.
* disappointment / death of a loved one.
Can you picture the reeds standing along the river; these slender yet sturdy blades of river grass, growing—healthy. And yet there is nothing as frail as the bruised reed now bowed and bent over.
Jesus encounters with “bruised reeds.”
Consider the bruised reeds found in Matthew 12
Jesus disciples (verse 1-2) accused of breaking the Sabbath.
* A man with the shriveled hand (verse 9-10). Why was he at the synagogue on the Sabbath? He was “looking for a hand out.” Pharisees had no compassion.
* The crowd who followed Jesus (verse 15) and the man possessed by demons being blind and mute (verse 22).
Jesus had many other encounters with bruised reeds. Consider these three:
* Zacheaus alone in a sycamore tree straining to see Jesus.
* The woman caught in the act of adultery.
* Mary and Martha after the death of their brother Lazarus. Now even Jesus had disappointed them!
When Jesus encountered the “bruised reed,” He reached out showing love and mercy. “And now the rest of the story!” Look how Jesus responded:
* Jesus did not join the Pharisees and rebuke His disciples, instead He showed that He is the Lord of the Sabbath.
* Jesus did not just give the man a coin, but He told him to stretch out his hand and it was healed.
* Jesus healed those who were sick; he restored the demon possessed man so he could see and speak.
* Jesus had lunch with Zacchaeus and brought salvation to Zacchaeus’ home.
* Jesus did not cast the first stone, but he offered forgiveness telling her to “go and sin no more.”
* Jesus felt Mary and Martha’s sorrow and wept with them, and then He brought Lazarus back from the grave!
Jesus has not changed! The world may wan to cast the “bruised reeds” aside. The world may not see your pain, but Jesus does! ——Jesus still says. . .
>> Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
>> John 7:37 If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.
But Jesus is not all year “Santa Claus.” Bruised reeds, and smoldering wicks can only receive from Him when they come with humble hearts—— We must have a willingness to repent, or the faith to express our need.
>> Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
THE SMOLDERING WICK
We can all imagine the smoldering wick of birthday candles that had once burned brightly over the birthday cake. Is anything else closer to death than a smoldering wick? It once was ablaze, but now the embers grow cold. And you need not blow out the candle—given enough time fire will eventually be but coals turning to black.
“Smoldering Wicks” are much like bruised reeds—perhaps they are more desperate.