Isaiah 66 – After images of ‘new heavens and a new earth’, the end of Isaiah seems a bit ‘untidy’! Or is it just ‘back to reality’? So, our hope lies in the God who made everything but in Jesus entered creation to redeem it.
Asking “God’s mission: does it matter?” deserves more than a brief “yes” or “no” answer. A fuller answer will come as we begin to explore in Isaiah something of the vision for the mission of God amongst his people, being set in place. Then we will be better placed to answer this big question and others connected to it: “Does what matters to God matter here?”. “How are we demonstrating our response in the reality of our being church?”.
During June-July and September-October we’ll be reflecting on Isaiah 55-66. Writing for Scripture Union, Chris Wright* comments:
“Chapters 40-55 of Isaiah clearly address those who were exiles in Babylon after the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BC. They are chapters full of new hope in God’s plans for the future … [including the] return to Judah. They are followed [in chapters 56-66] by words which seem to address the situation after that return.
“The people faced both encouragement (they had returned to Jerusalem and could look forward to a great future of God’s blessing there), and great discouragements (there were tensions and divisions in the community and opposition from outside, as the book of Nehemiah shows). Worst of all, it seemed that many of the age-old failures and sins of the people were still incurring God’s anger. So the flow of these chapters swings from blessing, to judgment, to lamentation.
“One of the major themes is that the restored people of God will become the agents of God’s mission to the nations worldwide.”
As Christians, we see God’s purposes for His people fulfilled in Jesus who calls us to share in that mission empowered by the Holy Spirit. In the light of our verse(s) for the year, we continue to seek the Lord and His ways for us so that we might bring Him glory and be fruitful in His service.
(* Old Testament scholar Rev Dr Chris Wright was Principal of All Nations Christian College. He is currently International Ministries Director of Langham Partnership International.)
Isaiah 65 – A passage put to many uses throughout the ages! There’s a lot to suggest an over-literal interpretation is unwise (e.g. v.26). However, the vision of a new creation is central to the Gospel – cf. Rom. 8, Rev. 21 etc.
Isaiah 64: Isaiah has said a lot about wrong behaviour. It’s often easier to point out others’ faults and apportion blame than embrace their weakness and vulnerability. This passage is a cry for help and a lesson for us.
Isaiah 63: God’s people still long for deliverance. Uncomfortable images of judgement sit alongside reminders of God’s kindness and compassion here. How is judgement good news for everyone? Only through Jesus!
Isaiah 62. These new names are given to God’s people as a body not as individuals. Through intercession, proclamation and service we’re called to share the overflowing compassion of God. So, why ‘Baptist’? Part 1. See attached link for video – here Part 2.
Isaiah 61. God’s beautiful promises to His people are astonishing! Jesus used these words at the beginning of his ministry, claiming to fulfil them (Luke 4). So, how did he do that? And what does it mean for us?
Series based on Isaiah – God’s Mission – Does it matter? Let’s recognise who God really is and be open to the ‘new thing’ He wants to do through us. Let’s not become weary but be renewed by His light and truth. For God’s sake and the sake of a needy world! In the Beginning […]
Isaiah 60 – A vision of what God’s salvation looks like for all the peoples of the world! Darkness and alienation give way to light and reconciliation as God’s glory is displayed. Are we ready to ‘arise and shine’? The sermon has two short clips from Amy Purdy (see link below), so the sound […]
Isaiah 59 – The themes of truth and justice continue, as does the promise of God acting to bring salvation. No situation is beyond God’s saving reach. As people of the new covenant do we really believe this? Part 1 of the sermon Video Link – here Part 2 of the sermon
Isaiah 58. Restoration, rebuilding on ancient foundations, a people on whom God’s light shines. Sounds good! But we need to reckon with His compassion and the needs of others, including those close to home.