So, I spent this week preparing to preach at Croxley Green Baptist Church on Isaiah 42v1-4. However, it turn out 5 minutes before I was due to preach that I should have be preparing to preach from Isaiah 49v1-6. Whoops! And double whoops because Isaiah 42 was used last week! However God was awesome and gave us a new take this passage. These are the notes I preached from although I didn’t stick to them! There is an audio file link here if you want to listen.
Have you ever really wanted to do something?
Have you ever had a dream in life that you really wanted to fulfil?
A place you wanted to visit?
I’ve had a couple.
As you know I occasionally run and as a child growing up I was always amazed at the London Marathon and really wanted to one day run it. And I’ve now done that 6 – nearly 7 times now!
I also dreamed of one day writing a novel. I have this idea for a story that I’ve had bouncing around my head since I was about 16 and have a box with scraps of paper with characters, maps, ideas, and a few 1000 words of the story. But its no more than that and has been that way for probably about 15 or even 20 years!
One of my dreams is a reality (even if I am slow!) while the other has never been realised. In both cases I can say that I dream about achieving these, and in both cases I can say that I have done something towards this. But only with one can I truly say that I talked the talk and walked (well run) the walk. Marathon running is a reality for me, writing a novel isn’t.
When have you talked the talk but failed to live it out?
When have you had a conviction or dream that you have not only spoken about but then lived out in full?
Jesus was full of believe and conviction. Driven by purpose and seeking to transform us. He fully talked the talk and walked the walk in terms of living out what God had called the people of Israel to do when He blessed Abram in Genesis 12. God wanted a people who became what he always intended them to be – servants. Paul writes in Philippians 2 that Jesus because a servant because he was made in human likeness. When I was prepare it struck me that perhaps God always intended true humanity to be servant hearted and so it was only natural that when Jesus came as fully human he was a servant in nature.
Justice, Justice, Justice:
Did you notice that in these 4 verses from Isaiah the word justice is mentioned 3 times. Out of 88 words 3 of them are justice. To me that says this word must have been important to God and therefore important to us as we seek to follow Him.
This passage is a prophecy about Jesus – about the chosen one who God delights in. The one that everyone hoped would come, but many did not recognised when he did. It speaks of one who doesn’t come with violence or force, but with love. It speaks of one who will be faithful to the call of God to live differently and its speaks of one that will bring hope.
So for a brief moment I want to explore some of the injustices that Jesus not only challenged but turned upside down before moving on to what this means for us.
Exploring the Gospels you will probably discover lots of ways Jesus fulfilled this prophesy and I’ve grouped them into 4 headings
Let me show you how Jesus did this
Jesus showed compassion towards those who everyone else pushed away, the social outsiders. In Matthew 8v1-3 Jesus healed a man with Leprosy by TOUCHING him! (also see Luke 17:11-19 and Mark 1:40-44
Jesus stood agains gender inequality in the way he treated women. In Matthew 9:19-26 Jesus showed that women mattered and should not be excluded because of the nature order of things. (also see Luke 10:38-42 and John 20:11-18)
Jesus embraced those who were excluded when he welcomed the children that everyone else was pushing away Luke 18:15-17 and Matthew 18:1-7
At the time of Jesus, just as it is today – Racism was rife. Jesus completely rejects this with the way he treated the samaritan woman in John 4:1-42
So often in life we group people into sections of society and place a value you them and so some become “second class citizens”. Jesus rejects this idea and raise a “second class” citizen to the highest honour when he tells the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-27
Sometimes we are so concerned with what people might think of us we fail to help those in greatest need. Jesus risked his reputation time again meeting with Drunkards and Prostitutes (see Matthew 9:9-13, Luke 7:36-50 or Matthew 21:28-32)
Jesus was not afraid to challenge or oppose those considered powerful in our world –
Unjust behaviour or Tax Collector: Luke 19:1-10
Spiritually arrogant Pharisees: Luke 6:1-11; Matthew 23:1-3, 23-28
Political power abusers Governments Mark 12:13-17; Matthew 20:20-28
Jesus spent much of his time helping those with the greatest need. And he said that he came to save the lost not those who were already in. This meant that the justice he sort was for the oppressed and he advocated for them in many ways:
For the poor – (hungry, sick, imprisoned) Luke 14:12-14; Matthew 25:31-46
For the privileged- (Rich ruler and Nicodemus) Luke 18:18-27, John 3:1-16
And releasing the oppressed (Demons of the soul) Mark 1:21-34; Luke 4:16-21
Words and Deeds:
We can talk about justice until we are blue in the face, and some people make a living off talking about this kind of stuff. But unless we do something about it then what good is it?
You may be thinking that I am saying that in order to be saved you need to “do” something. And one way of reading this could be that.