When you think of justice, what images or thoughts come to mind? Do you imagine a courtroom with a judge, jurors, defendant and the accused? Or do you think of a march of people or people gathered for a specific cause? Do you think of the fight for justice as a war or an insurrection? Do you imagine a people or a specific way of life? What image comes to mind when we think of justice? The prophesy given to Isaiah deeply challenges our notion of justice. The one who is the messiah, the one who is to bring true justice to the people, comes without any major event: no wars, no fighting, no commands. “Not crying out, not shouting, not making his voice heard in the street. A bruised reed he shall not break, and a smoldering wick he shall not quench, until he establishes justice on the earth.”
Like most of Jesus’ actions and the events of the Old Testament, God does things in ways we would not expect. Justice coming though his Son is one of those. Remember, God is justice. His ways are just. For a vast majority of the Old Testament he was constantly punishing his people for their crimes that they may know what is right and wrong. Yet, when Jesus comes upon the earth, the age of punishment and trial come to a strange halt. Jesus judges fairly and justly. He encourages fidelity to the law and right action by all people. Jesus reiterates the importance of the law as bringing a truly just society.
Where does this leave us? We know that God is just and that his ways are true. Therefore, if we want to live in a just society, we must turn to him for laws and guidance in living justly. Many times we try to turn to our own ideas of justice and live those as though they would bring us peace and tranquility. Rarely do we see true justice come from the works of our hands. Jesus makes that point clear simply by living among us. He didn’t come to break the bruised reed or quench the smoldering wick, he wanted to a form a people who desire God’s laws again and want to live according to his ways. If we want a just society, we must do likewise. We need to call people to acknowledge God’s ways as justice and truth and form ourselves and encourage others to live this way. Only with God as our center point can we live true justice.