“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be crushed until he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his teaching.” (Isaiah 42:1-4)
I was reminded of these verses when we were reading the Passion story. Remember I said there were so many things I wanted to say and comment on? One of those things was to point out that Jesus did not say much to Pilate or Herod, that he did not defend himself when mocked. But took all those things upon himself.
“Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it: I am the LORD, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. I am the LORD, that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to idols. See, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth, I tell you of them.” (Verses 5 – 9)
This is the purpose of Jesus Christ, to take on all things for our sake. And Christ then, and our Lord God for evermore is faithful in this.
“Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your judgments are like the great deep; you save humans and animals alike, O LORD. How precious is your steadfast love, O God! All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light. O continue your steadfast love to those who know you, and your salvation to the upright of heart! Do not let the foot of the arrogant tread on me, or the hand of the wicked drive me away. ( Psalm 36:5-11)
From the beginning of God’s relationship to humanity, the Divine has sought to teach and instruct humanity how to live, and how to follow God. God desires above all things to dwell amongst as it was in the beginning. But we, through human flaws and missteps have made gaps between us and the Divine that the Divine has tried to bridge and mend. And to find a new way for humanity to enter into relationship with our Lord.
“But when Christ came as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation), he entered once for all into the Holy Place, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, with the sprinkling of the ashes of a heifer, sanctifies those who have been defiled so that their flesh is purified, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to worship the living God! For this reason he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, because a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant. ( Hebrews 9:11-15)
It is during the days of Holy Work that Christ came ever closer to time that the gap would be bridged and mended – from the Lord’s end. We still need to reach out to God in our spirit and in our hearts. Listen to the two ways, out of many ways, that humanity relates to the Divine.
“Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, since it was on account of him that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus. ( John 12:1-11)
There are those who hate Jesus, and all that he stands for. And seek to destroy that which the Lord does and instructs us to do. And there are those who remain faithful to the Lord, not letting anyone or anything come between the Lord and themselves. And then . . . there are the rest of us . . . who try to do what we should. Failing at times, and succeeding at other times. We continue to try to make wise and God- filled decisions. Oh beloved reader! Let us chose carefully what we do and say. Let us see clearly what our Lord and our God desires of us. Let that be our plan and intent for the first day of Holy Week. Selah!