Inspired by Isaiah 42:1-9
“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.” Isaiah 42:1 (NRSV)
What does God want most from his people in the world? Not rigid adherence to antiquated laws or customs. Not a personal piety that focuses entirely on oneself and ignores the suffering of others. When God was preparing to send his Son to save the world, he put his own spirit upon him, and that spirit was a spirit of justice. God is a God of justice, and he sent his Son to bring salvation through holy justice to the nations.
What is justice? It’s fairness, equity, legitimacy. To be just is to be honorable and fair in one’s dealings and actions, and consistent with moral right. And because it is consistent with moral right, it’s not cold and legalistic, but considers all the facts and circumstances in any given situation, and is tempered with mercy. When God envisions justice in the nations of the world, he envisions a world in which everyone acts honorably and treats everyone else fairly and equitably. He envisions a world that is committed to moral right, not in an impersonal, legalistic, arbitrary way, but in a gentle, empowering, dignified way. Being committed to moral right is not the same as being judged according to a specific moral code; being committed to moral right means being committed to the wellbeing and dignity of all people, over and above one’s personal gain.
We have been offered God’s salvation, and we have been shown how to live according to his justice. How much better would this world be if more people took God’s vision of justice to heart as the guiding principle in their lives?
Let us pray. God of justice, you desire all nations to live with fairness, dignity, and legitimacy. Enable your people to embody these principles, that we may proclaim your justice, love, and mercy to all the world. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.