John 1:29-34 (ESV)
29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
Isaiah 42:1-9 (ESV)
1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. 2 He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; 3 a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. 4 He will not grow faint or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his law. 5 Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it: 6 “I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, 7 to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. 8 I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols. 9 Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.”
Do you think John was overwhelmed when he spotted Jesus in the crowd walking toward him? Did his heart leap? Did he give out a sigh of relief? “Finally, you are here.” Anticipation had to be high. He spots Jesus and proclaims, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said…” He is finally here. I have been telling you He is coming and some of you didn’t believe me, but He is here. The Son of God is here. Jesus is the one who is being talked about in Isaiah 42. He is the one who will bring forth justice. He receives God’s glory. He opens eyes and sets prisoners free. They can’t do it themselves. John couldn’t do it for them, but only Jesus could declare the new things.
Justice is a scary word. It is a word I am not even sure I want to write. Each one of us comes to the word with our own story and thus our own definition. The act of being just; according to Webster just means,” acting or being in conformity with what is morally upright or good.” I am dead in sin. An enemy of the Creator of the heavens and earth; I am the one who tries to usurp His authority. The penalty is at least the dungeon but even more death. That is justice. And how is this justice meted out toward us? Jesus sets us free. Jesus takes our place. He is the Lamb of God. He takes the death penalty. He, as Isaiah 42:16 says, “And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known. I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do and I do not forsake them.”
Our stories, in essence, our true must be submitted to the Truth. Any call of justice I have must spring from the justice that the Father has given. It must spring from the Truth that I deserved death and was spared. I deserve to be forgotten but was not forsaken. I was lost but have been led by the hand of God. He is the one who makes things new. He is the one who takes away our sins. He is the one who can be faithful to God’s glory. This helps me to not just pursue an end to systemic injustice through ultimately temporary means but to call myself and others to find Christ where everlasting justice is found. We need to work and pursue equity for all people because they are created in God’s image. We need to work to end systems and programs that hinder and harm people. We need to hope and work for an end of oppression in all its manifestations. We should remember that everlasting justice and the desire for justice here on earth is born from our redemption that was paid for by Christ’s, the Lamb of God, sacrifice.
Father , thank you for your justice and mercy. Jesus, thank you for taking our place and our penalty providing a way of salvation. Spirit, thank you for enabling us to see the Father and Son and teaching us to follow as they lead. Remind us that we received a Justice like no other and should pursue justice for those around us. Keep us from taking you off the throne of our heart in pursuit of a cause. Purify our motives and make them worship and devotion toward you. May your peace reign! May your justice prevail! Amen
Seek a place to prayer for those who are in bondage to sin around you. Maybe it is you. Prayer for God’s justice to come and release them; pray for them to be convicted and find Jesus there ready to take the sin away. Pray for their shame to be removed and joy to set upon their hearts. Pray that they have eyes to see that the Lord is good.