Isaiah 42:3 “He will not break a bruised reed and He will not put out a smoldering wick;” (HCSB)
If you could summarize Jesus ministry to sinners in a sentence what would you say? Would you say something like what we have in our passage? Who is Jesus? Well according to our passage He is someone who does not throw away broken pieces of grass and doesn’t put out smoky candles. That is to say he is someone who does not cast aside and despise us in our brokenness. Have you ever seen yourself that way, Christian? Have you seen yourself as a reed which is cracked and is being blown all over the place and would break if any weight was put on it? Do you see yourself as a smoky smelly candle that is smelling up and clouding up the whole room? Brothers and sisters, Christians are not squeaky clean, super strong, victorious people; no we are busted blades of grass and smelly, smoky candles.
But what is most amazing about this is the way Jesus deals with us in our stench and brokenness. Beloved Christian, Jesus will never toss you aside no matter how dysfunctional and broken you are, even if every believer on the earth were to. He does not despise you in your weakness and how you are being blown around all the time by your circumstances. He will not break a bruised reed. The text does not say that He will make a broken reed strong but the text simply says he does not despise us in our brokenness. You may say, “Beloved Christian, Jesus will never toss you aside no matter how dysfunctional and broken you are, even if every believer on the earth were to.Yes, but He fixes us and expects us to do well and then He will deal with us harshly.” No, dear brother, you—in all of your growth and change for the Lord—are still always a broken reed in need of mercy and Christ will never ever break you or despise you in your broken state. You see Christ will never break a bruised reed because He was broken for you. He became weak, He set aside all of His privileges as God and took on a real humanity on your behalf. On the cross of Calvary the Son of God was broken and crushed by the wrath of God for your sins. If this is so why would He ever break you for your brokenness when He was broken for you? Do you think the crushing of Jesus for your brokenness and sinfulness a small thing and your ongoing brokenness a bigger thing? Do you really think your sins and weaknesses are greater than the Son of God’s sufferings for you? Christ will never break you and set you aside in your ongoing weakness and sins simply because His body broken for you is more than enough for Him to love you eternally in spite of yourself. To the garbage with all these preachers who think it is how well and mighty we become by grace which makes us stand before God; let us exalt in being broken reeds who are not despised by our tender and loving Savior who loves us and delights in us not in our performances but loves us in our most unimpressive moments still.
The other illustration about not putting out smoldering wicks needs to be addressed as well. You may be disgusted with the smell of your remaining sins and feel like putting yourself out, but this precious truth remains: He will not put you out no matter how smelly you remain! Why you ask? Two thousand years ago the Son of God became sin and was put out by His Father for you. The holy wrath of God for your sins was poured out on Christ, His blood drained and His human life put out under judgment. And now even though your sins have a stench the sweet aroma of the Christ offering is sweeter still. You may be a smoldering wick smelling up rooms with your ongoing sins but the aroma of Christ's offering will always be more potent and more pleasing to God then how displeasing the stench of your sins are. Christ will never put you out brother or sister, As our Priest in heaven, He merely waves the sweet aroma of His sacrifice over you so that you would find comfort in how much more glorious His saving love is than your sins. Take courage Beloved, Christ will not break you as a broken vessel and will not put you out as a smoking one but will be glorious to you in tender love and mercy.