15 Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill. 16 He warned them not to tell others about him. 17 This was to fulfil what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:
18 “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.
19 He will not quarrel or cry out;
no one will hear his voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he has brought justice through to victory.
21 In his name the nations will put their hope.”
One of the guiding stories of the world is the myth of redemptive violence, the idea that the bad guys can be beaten through brute force, through fighting back. This is the story behind James Bond, the Avengers, Star Wars, the A-Team, Westerns, Popeye and King Arthur. But it’s not just limited to fiction, it can be found throughout human history; think of the Crusades, the World Wars and the response to 9-11. We also see it the office and the playground where whoever shouts loudest wins the argument. But despite the strength and persuasiveness of the myth, does violence ever bring true peace and justice? Contrast this with Jesus’ victory, achieved not through violence or brute force, but through humility and gentleness. Have we got the myth the wrong way around?
Father, help us meet violence, physical, emotional or verbal, with gentleness, knowing that ultimately love wins.