As we have heard before the block of Isaiah 40 - 55 describes a servant, although it is sometimes unclear whether it is talking of the whole of God's people or just one individual. For that individual the Spirit rests on him, anointing to bring justice, to lead people out. It will be a wide-ranging ministry, bringing in and including others, brought through this one person. Yet in chapter 53 this one servant suffers, is led out to die, is cut off, punished, and killed.
Monday, 15 April 2019
Sunday, 7 April 2019
God sings a love song! Isaiah captures it in Isaiah 5, about the one He loved and His vineyard. Note that vineyards are long term investments, they take much work, time and resources. It involves clearing stones, planting, building a watch-tower and so on. It is therefore not cheap love - the lover invests those resources and looks after the vineyard. But quickly the love song turns sour. By verse 3 it is no longer a power ballad but more like Blues music!
Challenge: Let the Son meet with you
Sunday, 31 March 2019
Arrive at an airport like Heathrow and passport control confronts you with a series of barriers channelling you into lanes. Jesus also told a story of a great hall where the people where channelled and separated out. A booming voice is heard declaring the criteria by which they are distinguished - a criteria that confuses them. "When did we see you hungry, thirsty, needing clothing or shelter?" they ask. See that in the Isaiah 58 passage the people are also confused: "Why have we fasted, yet you have not seen it?" was their question.
Sunday, 24 March 2019
Listen - a noise on the mountains, a great multitude, an uproar of kingdoms, nations amassing, God mustering an army for war! From faraway lands they come as the Lord's weapons to destroy, to lay the whole country waste. Wail, for the day of the Lord is near, a cruel day with wrath and fierce anger. The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light, the sun darkened, the moon not giving its light. Come near nations, pay attention. The Lord is angry. The stars in the sky will be dissolved, heavens rolled up like a scroll. This is God's verdict.
Sunday, 10 March 2019
Video games are immersive experiences - even without the VR headsets! People have been known to game for hours and hours before re-emerging from their game. Yet we should remember that whilst the game might be compelling it is not the real world, it is a false reality, it is not actually living.
Sunday, 24 February 2019
The whole block of Isaiah 40 - 55 conveys God's desire: that people are restored, picked back up and set right. God literally sings over His people and His servant, using poetic language to express His deeply held intent. Chapter 42 is the first of four 'servant songs', conveying emotional language: 'a bruised reed he will not break, a smouldering wick he will not snuff out'.
Challenge: Ask God 'who do you say I am?'
Sunday, 10 February 2019
Isaiah 53 is one of the richest passages in the Bible to preach from - so here we will only scratch the surface. It conveys the notion of a servant, stemming from chapter 40 through to 55, which can be taken as a complete block. But note the servant does not match super-hero expectations. He does not look the part. Through the chapters the servant at first appears to be the people/nation of Israel, but later it seems to narrow to a single person - the anointed one sent by God, the one we know as Jesus.
Sunday, 3 February 2019
A couple of weeks ago we saw how John the Baptist was excited to meet Jesus. 'Behold the lamb of God' he called out, and on baptising Jesus saw the Spirit rest on him. It was a great moment. But now, some time later, Jesus is out ministering but John is confused. Thats because John is now in prison.