Today’s First Reading: Isaiah 42:1-7 – HOLY WEEK: Monday, 15 April 2019
Near the end of the Babylonian exile, between 550 and 538 B.C., a student of Isaiah’s prophecies preached a series of messages that now make up the “book of consolation” in the book of Isaiah (chapters 40-55). We know so little about this prophet that we can only call him “Second Isaiah”, so deeply is he shrouded behind Isaiah, who lived two centuries earlier. Woven into these chapters are four astounding passages that speak of a servant of the Lord who would suffer great opposition yet would be called to bring a new glory to the people of Israel (Isaiah 42:1-7; 49:1-6; 50:4-9; 52:13-53:12).
Inspired by the Holy Spirit, each of these suffering servant songs speaks to us today about Jesus, the true suffering servant, whose death brought justice to all the world. During this Holy Week, God invites us to fix our eyes on Jesus, so that we might come to experience the immense love He has for us.
Jesus is the servant of God, His trusted envoy who was sent to put an end to all oppression and establish justice (Isaiah 42:1,4). How unlike our conception of justice is God’s! It came about, not through laws or military force, but as one man suffered unjustly the punishment we all deserved. Chosen by God to mend every broken heart, Jesus is ever gentle with the weak and sinful (Isaiah 42:3). He is slow to anger and quick to forgive. He is also the promised covenant of God for all people (Isaiah 42:6). In Christ, all the promises of the Father are fulfilled. A light to the nations, He takes away our blindness. Jesus sets us free from the imprisonment of sin, fear, and darkness.
This week, as we read the suffering servant songs. let us set aside our interpretations of who Jesus is or how He looks upon us. Jesus can reveal His tender heart to us so that our hearts might be mended. He can reveal to us His covenant love so that we might find justice.
Jakarta, 15 April 2019
A Christian Pilgrim