With all the talk about social justice these days, you would think that this verse fits right in. But who do you think the Scripture is talking about here? The original passage is from Isaiah 42:1, and the passage is employed here as a prophecy of Jesus’ ministry. That is to say, Jesus’ ministry included proclaiming justice to the nations. So the natural questions we ask at this point is how Jesus did this? What aspect of His ministry fulfilled this prophecy?
When you dig a little bit, you find that the word translated “justice” is more often translated “judgment.” This puts a little different spin on the text. For the first, justice sounds like social justice, Jesus will right the wrongs of an unfair society. But that is reading much into the text, more than is there. The only wrongs Jesus came to right was the wrong of sin.
On the other hand, if Jesus is proclaiming judgment, that makes more sense, as Jesus often condemned the hypocrisy of the Temple and the practice of the religious elite. He also proclaimed that judgment would fall upon that Temple and those who put their trust in it and not in Him.
Jesus Himself also became the standard by which others are judged, for by His perfect life are we all condemned, but by his atoning death are we all set free.
In a sense, Jesus did proclaim justice, but it was a new definition of what true justice is. Justice is God’s punishment laid upon sinners who reject the perfect Savior.
Well, I guess that means we have some work to do. Happy All Saints Day to all you saints out there!