September 19, 2020

Justice or Just Us?

Isaiah 42:1-4

“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations.”

—  Isaiah 42:1

Think about our world for a moment. Who could possibly bring justice to the nations?

Isaiah 42 speaks of this person but doesn’t say who it is. Matthew 12:15-21, though, shows that Jesus is the one described here. He is the one who brings justice. In the Bible, seeking justice is the same as peacemaking (see Sept. 13). Shalom, the state in which everything in life goes the way that God intends, is a state of total justice.

Seeking justice is central to understanding Jesus. In his teaching and healing work, Jesus ministered to people who were sick, poor, foreigners, and outcasts. He overturned unjust social structures—between the rich and the poor, the powerful and the weak, the healthy and the sick, and more.

Micah 6:8 puts it this way: “What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

Jesus’ followers did the same. Roman rulers observed Chris­tians feeding the hungry and caring for the sick during epidemics, and declared, “See how they love one another!” Through the centuries, communities of Jesus’ followers have built schools and hospitals, abolished slavery, improved health care, reformed criminal-justice systems, and much, much more.

Justice means dying to “just us” so that everyone may live more fully.

Lord Jesus, help us to serve you faithfully today, bringing justice in your world—at home, in our communities, and beyond. Amen.

About the author — Syd Hielema

Syd Hielema serves the Christian Reformed Church in North America as director of a ministry project called Connections II. He has also served with Faith Formation Ministries, as a professor of theology and youth ministry at Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa, and as a chaplain and professor at Redeemer University in Ancaster, Ontario. Syd has been married to Evelyn for 43 years, and they enjoy bird watching near their home in Ancaster.

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