15 But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew from there. And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all. 16 Yet He warned them not to make Him known, 17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:
18 “Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen,
My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased!
I will put My Spirit upon Him,
And He will declare justice to the Gentiles.
19 He will not quarrel nor cry out,
Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench,
Till He sends forth justice to victory;
21 And in His name Gentiles will trust.” — Matthew 12:15-21.
Smarting from Jesus refuting their customs and traditions, the Pharisees leave the synagogue and plot how to kill Him (12:14). Being aware of their plans, Jesus leaves that place and moves on. As usual, a great multitude follow Him. This was one of the reasons for Jewish religious leaders’ hatred of Jesus – His increasing popularity. As usual, Jesus heals all of them. However, He warns them not to proclaim Him.
Matthew quotes from Isaiah 42:1–4 as an explanation of why Jesus commanded people not to tell who He was. He came to proclaim and establish justice, but not by a showy display of power, and not by leading a political or military movement. Since the role of the Messiah was so misunderstood among the people, Jesus had to dampen the misguided enthusiasm that was bound to spring up.
Isaiah’s prophesy regarding the Messiah (Isaiah 42:1-4).
Jesus was presented as the Lord’s Servant chosen by God Himself. “Servant” was the position assumed by the Son of God throughout His life of humble submission to the Father (see Philippians 2:7). Jesus was God’s Beloved in whom He was very pleased (see Matthew 3:17;17:5; Mark 1:11; 2 Peter 1:17). God placed His Spirit without measure or limit upon Jesus (John 3:34). Jesus would reveal the will of God concerning the salvation of the whole of humanity.
Jesus would not be loud or raucous. He would sympathize with the bruised and would not hurt such a one. He would not put out a smoldering flame. He would see that justice triumphed! All nations would trust in Him — He would be the author of their salvation.
The Gentiles or the world/nations were always in God’s plan of salvation (see John 3:16). However, the promised salvation was first offered to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel”. When nation Israel rejected their Messiah and crucified Him as a blasphemer, the door was open for God to offer salvation to the Gentiles/nations. In this act, God’s justice towards the whole of humanity was effected. In other words, God always wanted to save us through The Anointed Savior!“…according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:11).
This prophecy was fulfilled in Christ, Matthew 12:17. Let our souls rely on him, and rejoice in him; then, for his sake, the Father will be well-pleased with us. The Holy Spirit not only came, but rested upon him, and without measure. He patiently bore the contradiction of sinners. His kingdom is spiritual; he was not to appear with earthly honours. He is tender of those oppressed with doubts and fears, as a bruised reed; those who are as smoking flax, as the wick of a lamp newly lighted, which is ready to go out again. He will not despise them, nor lay upon them more work or more suffering than they can bear. By a long course of miracles and his resurrection, he fully showed the truth of his holy religion. By the power of his gospel and grace he fixes principles in the minds of men, which tend to make them wise and just. The most distant nations wait for his law, wait for his gospel, and shall welcome it. If we would make our calling and election sure, and have the Father delight over us for good, we must behold, hear, believe in, and obey Christ (from Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary of Isaiah 42:1-4).
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.