14 The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15 In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: “The LORD is our righteousness.”
(The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. 1989 (Je 33:14–16). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.)
The bringing of justice in the land. Our American understanding of justice isn’t quite the same as the Hebrew understanding of justice. We think of judges and juries. We may even think of Superman, Batman, and the “Justice League.” There is a sense of “crime and punishment.”
My study of the Old Testament over the years has led me to a fuller understanding of justice. It is the concept of bringing what is right to those who desperately need it. It is extending grace and mercy toward those who have no opportunity to work it out on their own. It is about bringing “Kingdom rightness” to the margins of our world.
This is what I see in the Sermon on the Mount. It is the coming of grace and mercy to the places in our world that society and religious leaders have ignored to that point.
Jesus has come to bring justice to the world. He has come to bring grace and mercy, extending it to those who didn’t have much of a chance before. He extends it to us. All of us.
Advent is here. Let it be a time again of the Body of Christ revealing Kingdom “rightness” into this world once again.