Imagine you are in the doctor’s office. The patient has had your patience tested because it’s now 4:10 and your appointment was scheduled for 3:00. You didn’t really want to be there for your general physical; you feel just fine, but you had no choice. Nevertheless you smile as the doctor finally comes into the room. After a few moments of small talk your doctor looks at your chart and then begins a simple examination. As the doctor gently rubs and pushes on your stomach, he says, “Now tell me if this hurts.” The doctor slowly moves his hand to your left side and unexpectedly you cry out, “Ouch, that hurts!” Your doctor says, “I thought so because you have been bruised.”
In the same way a doctor may uncover a hidden pain, Jesus knows the hurt that you have buried. You may have covered you pain over with your own “pain medicine”–drugs, alcohol, work, friendships, denial–the list could go on and on. Jesus doesn’t just expose your pain to make it hurt again; He shows you your pain to bring healing.
✞ Matthew 12:20-21 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he leads justice to victory. 21In his name the nations will put their hope." (NIV)
Jesus is not a horticulturist or a candle maker. When he refers to bruised reeds and smoldering wicks, he is talking about PEOPLE.
Who are the people Jesus is referring to?
1. Bruised reeds are people who have been hurt.
People can be hurt in many different ways:
>> Disappointment (Not only may you feel like people have let you down–you may even think God has failed you!)
>> Death of friend or family
>> Sickness or injury
>> Routine of life (You don’t have to be hit hard by life to be injured; repeated touches at the same spot will eventually cause a bruise and those small touches will suddenly be painful.)
No matter how you may have been hurt, Jesus can bring healing into your life today! When you let Jesus touch you at your deepest point of pain, His touch will not leave you the same. In His touch is healing and life!
+ Matthew12:21 In his name the nations will put their hope. (NIV)
+ Matthew 8:17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: "He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases." (NIV)
+ Matthew 11:28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (NIV)
2. Smoldering wicks are people who are entangled with sin.
When we think about “smoldering wicks” we may picture the smoking candles on top of a birthday cake–the flame is gone. That is not the picture Jesus had in mind, nor was it the image that those who were listening to Him thought of. We light up our nights with electric light bulbs; they brought light in to a darkened room with oil lamps. When the wick was saturated with oil, it could light up a room, but if it was dry–if the wick had never been put into the oil, or if the oil had run out–then the wick would only smolder and smoke. The wick needs the oil to burn brightly.
Without God’ Spirit as the oil within our lives the best we can do is smolder and smoke. We may try to live a “perfect life”–to please God and everybody, but the our best efforts will never ignite a flame to light the room.
+ Isaiah 64:6 . . . all our righteous acts are like filthy rags. (NIV)
Sin separates you from God. Who are the smoldering wicks trapped by sin?
>> Those who have never come to Christ to be forgiven. They are the wick that has never been touched by the oil.
>> The Christian who has backsliden; their lives had once burned brightly for God, but now the oil has run dry because of sin and disobedience.
If you are a smoldering wick entangled by sin, Jesus can set you free and light your fire!
I would like to tell you that you could wait, that you could ignore the fact that you have been bruised, or that your life is only smoldering.
+ 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. (NIV)
Jesus will one day return to this earth; that is our hope. Each of us can be with Jesus and live in His presence forever. But on the day he come to establish justice, He will no longer extend healing to those who are bruised–those who smolder will never have the life that comes from His flame. It will be too late.