Friday, December 15, 2017

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Proclamation of Redemption
Isaiah 35: 1-10
VS.4.“Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”
Isaiah 35:1-10 is a strikingly beautiful and powerful passage. We read of a God who is powerful enough to create streams of water in the desert, to grant sight to the blind, and to create a way in the desert for His people. We read of a faithful God that has promised to rescue His people and restore them so that joy may overtake them--away from their present sorrows and sighing. This passage is meant to be comforting and encouraging; it is a declaration of the incredible power and the loving intentions that God has for His people.   
The Proclamation of Redemption Brings Power
The imagery used in this passage is larger than life. God restores the ability to walk to those who were lame—and they leap for joy. God restores the ability to speak to the mute and they shout for joy. Water gushes forth from the parched desert and it bursts into bloom. God’s redemption is not subtle. It brings wholeness where there  is brokenness, turns inability into ability, and replaces that which is lacking with abundance.
The Proclamation of Redemption Brings a Promise
The passage also describes all of this as God’s promise. God will come. Isaiah is declaring a victory that is to be fulfilled generations later through the birth of Jesus. Isaiah encourages us saying, “Be strong, do not fear.” Though our present situation may seem unbearable, the God whom we serve is powerful and He cares for us. He yearns to make our joy complete. This is the promise which the Israelites held onto during their oppression. This is no ordinary promise, rather it will be fulfilled with a “vengeance” and “divine retribution.” Isaiah is shouting a battle cry and declaring God the victor. The spoils of victory are for those whom the Lord is saving. Everlasting joy will be their crown.
In the advent season, we meditate upon the love that compelled God to send His son to earth in human form. We celebrate the fact that our God honored this powerful promise of our redemption.
Almighty God, help us to experience the power of Your redemption and be filled with hope that it promises. Amen.
"Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness." Bishop Desmond Tutu
Jocelyn Chacko, St. Thomas MTC, NY
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church