Our nation and the world have been shaken by the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis. Yet, we were still reeling from the killing of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia while he was jogging. There is a pattern. There is a history. There does not seem to be change. My college students of color do not feel safe. They do not feel free in this country that proclaims “Freedom.” The already dangerous divides in our country seem even greater now as we also see divisions in our churches. For all of us who name Jesus as Lord, we must search our hearts and study the Word of God to apply it. A passage I’ve been sharing to clearly show that Jesus is committed to justice on earth is a prophecy of the coming Messiah from Isaiah 42. It’s quoted in Matthew 12 with Jesus as the fulfillment.
“Here is 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. He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be crushed until he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his teaching” Isaiah 42: 1-4 (NRSV).
Three times in these four verses we see the word ‘justice’; clearly Christ is committed to bringing and establishing justice here. Dr. John Oswalt notes that the Hebrew word here for justice is “mishpat.” Here is how he defines “mishpat:” “The life-giving order which exists when the creation is functioning in accordance with the design of its LORD.” So, “thy Kingdom come, thy will be done here on earth as it is in heaven” is a cry for God’s justice, God’s “misphat.” So, if you say you follow Christ, but are not concerned about earthly justice, you've been deceived. When non-Christians see “Christians” who dismiss calls for justice, they want nothing to do with our faith – all because we’ve misrepresented Christ. Clearly, we all have a part to play in bringing justice and mercy into the world.