Saturday 24 February 2018

Bible Book:

"The LORD will be your everlasting light" (v. 20)

Isaiah 60:17-22 Saturday 24 February 2018

Psalm: Psalm 118


Whenever we read the prophecies and promises of the Old Testament, we have to remember two significant realities. The first is that as Christians, we believe that they are fulfilled in Jesus; the second is that Jesus commissioned his followers to continue and complete the work that he came to begin. Mark’s Gospel emphasises this by connecting Jesus with the prophet Isaiah and describing him as “proclaiming the good news” (Mark 1:14) – something that all Christians are commissioned to do at the end of the Gospels.

Imagine how the words of Isaiah must have sounded to the oppressed exiles forced to live as captives in a foreign land. Those who first heard them were all too familiar with taskmasters and overseers, but Isaiah transforms these terms by describing peace and righteousness as the dominating forces in the world that God will bring into being. How do you think you would have responded to Isaiah’s words if you were one of those Jewish exiles? Would they have filled you with hope and expectation, or might you have dismissed them as an empty ideal that was never likely to become reality?

Injustice and oppression can not only deny us of what is rightly ours, but can often rob us of our hope and belief in the future. If we believe in Isaiah’s vision, and believe that through Jesus we have been commissioned to work for it to come about, this may not only involve campaigning for justice, but drawing alongside those who have lost their capacity to hope. To what degree is the Church a sign of hope for those who suffer injustice today?

Imagine how different our world would be if righteousness and peace were the dominating forces instead of economic expediency, nationalistic interest, popularism and personal ambition. For Isaiah it’s a world where people don’t have to make do with second best; iron becomes silver; bronze becomes gold and so on. Is this just an impossible dream or a world we are prepared to work for?

To Ponder

  • When you find things difficult and can become despondent, what keeps you going?
  • How is the Church a sign of hope for those who suffer injustice today?
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