Tuesday, December 29, 2009
I'm the one Isaiah wrote about.
The Word for today:
mark this: Isaiah 35:5-6
John the Baptist knew his Bible.
But even John could get some of it mixed together and mixed up. So give yourself a break if images blend together as you read Isaiah.
The Stand in the Rain article which served as an introduction to Isaiah stated that "Isaiah can be challenging to read. Written in the most sublime Hebrew and bursting with shifting kaleidoscopic images, there can be nearly too much for the reader to take it all in."
Consider the challenges: How to present the eternal Word of God within the confines of time? within the limits of the Hebrew language? How to present the Lamb of God --who is the conquering Lion of Judah at the same time?
The mind races and reels and staggers at the linguistic calculus--impossible, but for the Spirit.
We are challenged as readers--and we are this side of the cross. Imagine being over there on that side.
John the Baptist was on the other side of the cross with Jesus. And the same spiritual, political, and religious forces which would crucify Jesus would decapitate John first.
He is representative of all of us as we try to understand all that Jesus was and is and is to be. How to ascertain the infinite through a finite mind, confined by language and time? Impossible, but for the Spirit.
So John did what you and I are going to do some day with many of the Bible questions we have. He sent his followers to ask the Teacher! --
"Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?" (Matthew 11:3)
John had introduced Christ as one who would bring fierce judgment, who would "burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." (Matthew 3:12)
He was confused by the turn of events: he was imprisoned, and Christ was carrying on a ministry of healing, not judgment--in Galilee; not in Jerusalem, the city of the King. John wondered if he had misunderstood Jesus' agenda.
The Teacher told the messengers to remind John of this passage from Isaiah:
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy. (Isaiah 35:5-6)
Jesus employed the Word of God to assure John that, "I'm the one Isaiah wrote about."
That's all John wanted, and needed, to hear.