January 1, 2012

Monday after the First Sunday after Christmas

Lectionary

Morning – Ps. 37:26, Is. 63 7-14, 1 Jn.:3-1-11
Evening – Ps. 2, 100, Is. 63:15-64:1, Heb. 4:1-13

Commentary
Isaiah 63:7-64:1

Today's readings reveal the heart of the prophet Isaiah in his concern for the people of Judah. Though the hearts of the people are hardened in sin, and their minds cannot see the coming judgment of God upon them, Isaiah's heart mourns for them as Christ wept over Jerusalem. He longs to see them repent. He longs for God to have mercy upon them. The chapter is similar to a soliloquy, like Hamlet's "to be, or not to be." But instead of Hamlet's despair, Isaiah shows the hope of a soul stayed upon faith in God. In a small way, these verses also reveal the heart of God. He is not untouched by the troubles and sufferings of His people; "in all their affliction He was afflicted... in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bare them, and carried them all the days of old" (Is. 63:9). And of course, in Christ He bare our sins and carried us to salvation by His cross.

The Jews' rebellion against God (63:10) led to their conquest and captivity by the Babylonians, but also gives a picture of the sin of every person, leading to our captivity to sin and hell. As God looked upon Israel in mercy and delivered them from their captivity, He looks upon us in mercy and delivers us from our prison through the cross of Christ.

Who among us has not wished with Isaiah that our God would rend the heavens and come down (64:1)? Though acutely aware of the terrible sin of himself and his people, the prophet also sees that the oppression of Israel by foreigners is also sin. He looks for the deliverance of the Jews, and sees it as the vindication of God, who both forgives and restores His people, and established His justice by overcoming His and their enemies. One day He will rend the heavens. Christ will return and the earth will see the fulfillment of all the promises of God. It will see justice, peace, and righteousness when all is restored in the New Heavens and Earth.

2 comments:

  1. Well written article on 'Your relationship with Jesus'in the ordinary quiet things of faith and obedience.Thank you Bishop Dennis Campbell.
    May God continue to bless your writings in this New year 2012 as well.

    Elizabeth

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you Dr. Raj. I want to refer readers to your excellent web log, Living Hope. Just click on the words Living Hope in her comment above.

    ReplyDelete