Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold…I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations…I will appoint you as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations, to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon and those who dwell in the darkness from the prison.
– Isaiah 42:1, 6-7 (NIV)
It is God’s Spirit that brings justice, and His Spirit entered the world in a never-before-seen way with the birth of Jesus.
In the form of a crying baby, the world moved ever closer to God’s original intentions.
After Jesus’s resurrection, the Holy Spirit entered the world to a greater extent by taking up residence in humans.1 Jesus became the Lord’s new covenant with mankind,2 a covenant that is “not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills but the Spirit gives life.”3
The Abrahamic covenant hinged on obedience to God’s laws and commands, which left not one person righteous. The law brings knowledge of sin and death, whereas the Spirit brings God’s righteousness “through faith in Jesus Christ.”4
The new covenant brings forgiveness and cleansing5 outside of fulfilling the law and being blameless. What is required is choosing and trusting Christ, who already fulfilled the law.
The new covenant turns the world on its head. Jesus proclaims hope and blessedness for those most in need of justice:
“Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh….Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth….Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Luke 6:20-21; Matthew 5:5, 10 – NKJV)
Jesus is living proof of these words. Born into poverty and oppression, beaten, ridiculed, and killed – though having never committed a wrong – He was “robbed of justice by unrighteous humanity.”6
Yet God vindicated “the Righteous One”7 by raising Him from the dead, seating Him at His right hand, crowning Him with glory and honor, and putting all things under His feet.8 “Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.”9
Indeed, “many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.”10 Those despised by the world as Christ was have great reward awaiting them in Heaven.11
Through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, the world moved closer to justice in ways we cannot yet see. By the Holy Spirit within us, God continues to spread justice and grow righteousness throughout the world.
1. 1 John 4:13.
2. Isaiah 42:6.
3. 2 Corinthians 3:6.
4. Romans 3:10, 19-22.
5. Eds. T. Desmond Alexander and Brian S. Rosner, New Dictionary of Biblical Theology (Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity Press, 2000), 427
6. Alexander and Rosner, 744.
7. Acts 22:14 (NIV).
8. Ephesians 1:20, 22; Hebrews 2:9.
9. Philippians 2:8-10.
10. Matthew 19:30