Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Story of Redemption

My reflection on the Daily Texts for Friday, July 21:

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. - Psalm 118:26

God's love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. - 1 John 4:9

Two-year reading texts: Psalm 88:1-5; Isaiah 42:10-43:21; Philippians 2:19-30

I've been saving some notes from last week that I haven't written up until now. The Daily Texts scriptures for July 21 and 22 have stayed with me as examples of how simple and powerful the message of faith in God can be.

From the 21st, the 1 John 4:9 verse echoes John 3:16, and gives a summary of the heart of the gospel message. God loves this world, and wants redemption and freedom, reconciliation and forgiveness, abundant life for everyone - and has accomplished this in Christ.

Following shortly after the first "servant song," Isaiah 42 tells about God's will for the people of Israel:
But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
And a little later, Isaiah speaks about this salvation extending beyond Israel to all the nations of the world. Using images of new life in lifeless places, he writes:
Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
An entire landscape that was barren will now foster life and growth! Christians see this being done for the whole world through Christ, the ultimate fulfillment of the "servant" themes of Isaiah, and other messianic prophecy. There is no place, no condition so far gone that it can't be reached, redeemed, and renewed in Christ.

Thank you, God, for love this enormous, for grace and mercy and forgiveness this all-encompassing. Touch my life, and the lives of others through me and your whole church, that everyone might live through you, know your protection, and have peace with you and one another.

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