Matthew 12:
20A bruised reed he will not break,
      and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out,
   till he leads justice to victory.
    21In his name the nations will put their hope."

He won’t break a bruised reed or snuff out a smouldering wick.  Jesus is aware of the fragility of life and the ease with which it is ended.  The One who created life has a mission of restoration.  It is in this heart that the Messiah approaches broken, damaged people.

In English, the term bruise usually refers to a contusion with no break in the skin surface, identifiable by discoloration.  Sometimes the term is used metaphorically to speak of hurt feelings or spirit.  Whereas in modern parlance a bruise is viewed as a minor injury and is almost a positive image (e.g., ‘he escaped with only a few bruises’), in the Bible the image is stark and powerful, with connotations of serious and repeated injury that is virtually a death blow.  No single biblical term names the image; instead a number of words encompass the semantic idea of bruise, all of them denoting injury, pain and wound.[i]

How have you been bruised?  In what ways have you been dealt death blows and experienced repeated injury?  Jesus has great empathy for you.  He was wounded and bruised in greater measure in order to bring healing to us.  The presence of Jesus affects that part of you which has been victimized.  He is the healer of the broken-hearted and bandager of wounds.

Can we who follow Jesus not follow His lead?  In this way of tender mercy we go into the world proclaiming justice. 

[i] Dictionary of Biblical Imagery (Inter-Varsity Press), pp.127,128