In pursuing his calling, Christ will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax, in which more is meant than spoken, for he will not only not break or quench, but he will cherish those with whom he so deals
Christ’s Dealings with the Bruised Reed
Physicians, though they put their patients to much pain, will not destroy nature, but raise it up by degrees. Surgeons will lance and cut, but not dismember. A mother who has a sick and self-willed child will not therefore cast it away. And shall there be more mercy in the stream than in the spring? Shall we think there is more mercy in ourselves than in God, who plants the affection of mercy in us?
But for further declaration of Christ’s mercy to all bruised reeds, consider the comfortable relationships he has taken upon himself of husband, shepherd and brother, which he will discharge to the utmost. Shall others by his grace fulfill what he calls them to, and not he who, out of his love, has taken upon him these relationships, so thoroughly founded upon his Father’s assignment, and his own voluntary undertaking?
Consider the names he has borrowed from the mildest creatures, such as lamb and hen, to show his tender care. Consider his very name Jesus, a Savior, given him by God himself. Consider his office answerable to his name, which is that he should “bind up the broken hearted” (Isa 61:1). At his baptism the Holy Ghost rested on him in the shape of a dove, to show that he should be a dove-like, gentle Mediator.
See the gracious way he executes his offices. As a prophet, he came with blessing in his mouth, “Blessed are the poor in spirit” (Matt. 5:3), and invited those to come to him whose hearts suggested the most exceptions against themselves, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden” (Matt. 11:28). How did his heart yearn when he saw the people “as sheep having no shepherd” (Matt 9:36)!
He never turned any back again that came to him, though some went away of themselves. He came to die as a priest for his enemies. In the days of his flesh he dictated a form of prayer unto his disciples, and put petitions to God in their mouths, and his Spirit to intercede in their hearts. He shed tears for those that shed his blood, and now he makes intercession in heaven for weak Christians, standing between them and God’s anger.
He is a meek king – he will admit mourners into his presence – a king of poor and afflicted persons. As he has beams of majesty, so he has a heart of mercy and compassion. He is the prince of peace (Isa 9:6). Why was he tempted, but that he might “succor them that are tempted” (Heb. 2:18)? What mercy may we not expect from so gracious a Mediator (1 Tim. 2:5) who took our nature upon him that he might be gracious? He is a physician good at all diseases, especially at the binding up of a broken heart. He died that he might heal our souls with a plaster of his own blood, and by that death save us from the broken heart which we acquired for ourselves by our own sins.
And has he not the same heart in heaven? “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” cried the Head in heaven, when the foot on earth was trodden upon (Acts 9:4). His advancement has not made him forget his own flesh. It has freed him from Passion, but not compassion toward us. The lion of the tribe of Judah will only tear in pieces those that “will not have him rule over them” (Luke 19:14). He will not show his strength against those who prostrate themselves before him.