Matthew 12:15-21

15 But Jesus knew what they were planning. So, he left that area, and many people followed him. He healed all the sick
among them, 16 but he warned them not to reveal who he was.
QUESTION: Picking up from last week, why did Jesus warn the crowd not to reveal who he was?
He was in Pharisee territory, up north.

17 This fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah concerning him: 18 “Look at my Servant, whom I have chosen. He is my Beloved,
who pleases me. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. 19 He will not fight or shout or
raise his voice in public. 20 He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. Finally, he will cause justice
to be victorious. 21 And his name will be the hope of all the world.” (42:1-4)
GOAL: A discussion on justice > biblical justice. But first:
1) V19 What might or has happened to you when you have fought or shouted or raised your voice in public?
This is called being angry – in public. People will stare at you. People will become scared of the situation. You will look
foolish. You most likely won’t get whatever it is you’re wanting. You might get arrested.
QUESTION: What have you learned from anger management? Sum it up in a sentence or two.
The Anger Trap: If you think you’re going to ultimately win by yelling, screaming at the other person, you’re crazy.
2) V20 What does “not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle” mean?
Not abusing someone.
QUESTION: What have you learned about abuse? Sum it up in a sentence or two. It is doing injustice to another person.
Remember Saul and David.
3) V19-20 What will Jesus NOT do as he is administering justice?
Isaiah predicted that Messiah would minister with gentleness and humility (v. 19). He would not present Himself
arrogantly or brashly. He would be very compassionate (v. 20). He would not advance His own program by stepping on
others. He would bring salvation, finally, to the harassed and helpless (9:36), as well as to the weary and burdened
(11:28), without crushing the weak.
QUESTION: Again, not what the Jews were looking for, what did they want? A strong leader that would route the
Romans. Who did this sound good to? The harassed and helpless, the manzers.
4) Read Micah 6:8 to the group. What does it say about justice? "He has shown you, O man, what is good; and
what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God."
Do justice – an act, a verb an outward action Love kindness – an attitude toward others Walking humbly – an
attitude toward ourselves.
5) What is the definition of justice? to make things right.
JUSTICE: What does the U.S. Justice system do when someone commits a crime, what specific things can happen when a
person is found guilty, what are the different rulings/punishments?
Community service, fines, drug court, probation, jail time, prison time.

Before we go on – context – Micah was a prophet with an overall message to Israel: Micah describes God's coming
judgment on Israel, but it also outlines God's promise to be merciful and restore his people to the land.
TABLE QUESTION: Does the Justice system in Garland County or Arkansas show any mercy and provide a means for
FOLLOWUP QUESTION: If you were in GCDC, did you take advantage of any of the classes? Why or why not?

Biblical Justice

In the modern Western world, we view justice as the adherence to the law, obeying laws which are applied universally to
all similar situations. It’s prescriptive. Judges are to make sure statutes are properly interpreted, referee between
attorneys, and rules of evidence are followed. Crime X leads to Court Case Y which leads to a prescription of Sentence
Z. This is new to the world, 15-1600s.
The purpose of ancient judges was to preside over the courtroom and interpret written statutes: the purpose of an ancient
judge was to interpret the concept of justice and apply it to reality. So, each case was not compared to laws per se but to
the concept of justice and apply it into reality.
Western world – lots of statues. (Arkansas legal code has 68 chapters of laws just for alcohol.
Ancients (and the bible) give a Prime Directive and examples of how to apply it, and then let Judges use their wisdom to
apply it differently to different situations.
The bible does not call for attorneys, experts in law, or philosophers: it calls for judges who fear the Lord and are wise in
understanding justice.
Four different types/ways of administering justice: Which answers the question, how are we going to make things
distributive determining who gets what (social justice, Marxism, problem – but who gets to decide?)
How does the government, the provider, distribute goods and set policies, etc., “do justice?” Robin Hood
procedural determining how fairly people are treated (Critical Theory, change the rules to even up and paybacks!)
Same as distributive, but with rules. Robin Hood on steroids
retributive determining punishment for wrong-doing (punishing those for wrong doing)
Taken or John Wicke – payback and giving the bad guys what they deserve
restorative which tries to restore relationships to "rightness." (biblical justice)
QUESTION: Which of these types is the US legal system set up on? Retributive
QUESTION: What does retribution mean? punishment inflicted on someone as vengeance for a wrong or criminal act.
QUESTION: If the judge fines you $300 and requires Anger Management classes, what type(s) of justice is the judge
administering? Retributive (the fine) and Restorative (class) Which is most helpful to you? The offended? Class
What’s our job? 1) Don’t break laws. 2) To move our society’s justice system closer to God’s justice. To bring his
kingdom, including the Justice System, to earth.
Restorative justice is biblical justice. A big difference is that it is victim focused.

Example of fine and anger management, which helps the victim – the A.M. class. The goal is that the victim can again be
safe in the relationship with the offender. How much better is it to be in a relationship with someone that can control their
The ultimate goal is to restore the broken relationships between humans with each other and with God.
The bible consistently says God’s justice is shown to us in the restoration of the Image-Bearers of God and their
relationship with him.
Any tool “we” employee (how we seek justice for ourselves and others) should be subject to the concept of restoration.
It values confession, repentance, forgiveness, and voluntary restitution.
OUR PRIMARY GOAL in justice is to restore relationships: relationships with each other, with God’s creation, and with
God himself.
Like the Ancients, here’s a good Prime Directive for biblical Justice

Justice is the restoration of God’s Image-Bearers (people)
By serving as the prophets of society (talk about it, work in government)

And putting God’s mercy into action (every day)

We’ve talked about justice as restoration
Prophets of Society – speak out against injustice, change the justice system (not enough time tonight)
Mercy – “let’s finish with a discussion on this piece on restorative justice”
QUESTION: Justice – How can you help with restoration? How can you put mercy into action? Be specific.
Don’t fight or raise your voice.
Don’t crush someone or put out their flame – physically or with words. Instead, look for the good in others.
Build close friendships with those that aren’t in your social class and/or of different races. Yes, actually hang out
Give money to the poor.
(Not a hand out but a hand up)
Volunteer at . . . . .
Volunteer to teach at jails and prisons. Support Christian based rehabs financially and in person.
Be a positive influence at Shalom, Potters Gethsemane, & 1 st Baptist, Lake Valley, Garage Church. Lead, participate.
When someone wrongs you, look for opportunities to save face and even help them “save face.”
If you have power at work, seek to empower those below you.
Instead of talking about being pro-life, volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center. Give time, talent, treasure.
There’s another Prime Directive that fits: Love your neighbor as yourself.
Zechariah 7:9
And the word of the LORD came again to Zechariah: “This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Administer true justice;
show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your
hearts do not think evil of each other. (look at people, even prisoners, with a good eye, not a bad eye)
The Garage Church writes prisoners every week. We believe this provides mercy and hope. We receive many letters
back, but we got one that was really special – and here’s what Adam said:

Thanks for the letters.