CALLED IN RIGHTEOUSNESS

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Epiphany- Day 26

Isaiah 42:1-9 NIV

“Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him
and he will bring justice to the nations.

He will not shout or cry out,
or raise his voice in the streets.

A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;

He will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
In his law the islands will put their hope.”

This is what God the LORD says—
he who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it,
who gives breath to its people,
and life to those who walk on it:

“I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the Gentiles,

to open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.

“I am the LORD; that is my name!
I will not give my glory to another
or my praise to idols.

See, the former things have taken place,
and new things I declare;
before they spring into being
I announce them to you.”

CONSIDER THIS. . .

Fast forward to the New Testament and the ministry of Jesus. These days after Epiphany are days in which we behold the Son of God as he made his way from the manger in Bethlehem to the presentation in the Temple in Jerusalem to the astonishing account of him counseling with the Rabbi’s as a pre-adolescent boy to the mysterious baptism at the Jordan to the mysterious water and the miraculous wine to unfathomable hauls of fish and on we go all the way up to the translucent experience of the Transfiguration Mountain. His life is literally a thirty-three year continuously unfolding epiphany for those with eyes to see and ears to hear. It’s why we come back around to these texts every  year. There’s always more to see and hear. His life is an unending spring, an inexhaustible well of revelation, always ready to break in on his followers who are ready to receive.

But it’s so easy to miss them, to be blinded by our own presuppositions, expectations, ideologies and idolatries. Consider this text from the prophet. Isaiah prophecy offers a field guide of sorts for those who would come centuries later and await a Messiah. It’s plain as day: release for the captives, sight for the blind, freedom for the oppressed and a light for the Gentiles. But even Jesus’ forerunner failed to see the signs as he sat in prison wondering if he had gotten it wrong. “Are you the one to come, or should we expect another?” Remember Jesus response? Not yes. Not no. “Go and tell John, what you hear and see (emphasis mine) the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up and the poor have good news preached to them.” Matthew 11:4-5.

Was John was blinded by his own ideas of “justice for the nations?” Might we need to sweep our lives clean of our own tired expectations so that we might hear and see the “new things” He is declaring? A thousand epiphanies await the humble. (jdw)

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