Today’s Reading: Isaiah 52-57
Today’s Reflection: Isaiah 53:1
Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
Isaiah 53:1 is the beginning of one of the best known, and possibly most controversial Messianic prophesies in the Bible (I’ve heard that some versions of the TaNaKh, the Jewish Bible, actually exclude this chapter altogether). This chapter is incredibly powerful, describing a saviour who suffers for our sake, but its description is so compelling that it causes us to overlook and equally powerful opening verse.
This verse suggests there is something special and unusual about those who believe this report of the Messiah to come, those to whom the truth of the Messiah has been revealed. When you examine the Gospels this truth becomes more clear. Those who you would have expected to recognize Jesus as the Messiah—the royalty and religious leadership of Israel—did not. Those who you would have least expected to recognize Jesus as the Messiah—prostitutes, tax collectors (traitors to the Jews), gentiles like the Roman Centurion, Samaritans like the woman at the well, the thief on the cross—were the ones who did.
Those who recognized Jesus as the Messiah didn’t do so because of their own wisdom or insight. They recognized Jesus because they were willing to surrender their own preconceived notions and treasured beliefs in submission to a truth that was clearly greater and more powerful than anything they had ever known. And in submitting they found freedom from bondage and abundant life.
They didn’t believe because of what they saw; they saw because they were willing to believe.
Matthew 16:16-18 – 16) Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17) And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18) And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.