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Palm-Passion Sunday A, April 2, 2023

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Palm-Passion Sunday A, April 2, 2023

“He who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me?” Vs. 8

His tongue… his ear… his humility… The prophet names these things that the Lord has provided him (vs. 4-6).  Isaiah has received a tongue that speaks a sustaining word to the weary.  Isaiah has received an awakened ear.  Isaiah has received a humility, a humility for enduring the disgrace of being spit upon.  Having received this work of the Lord upon him, Isaiah bursts into confession:  the Lord helps me!  The prophet’s confidence in the Lord’s help means he’s not disgraced, he’s determined, unashamed, and confident that he will prevail against his adversary (vs. 8).

The prophet’s confident boast, “Who will contend with me?” suggests another confident boast, one made by the Apostle Paul, “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies?” (Ro. 8:33).  Both prophet and apostle boast because of what the Lord has done.  Paul boasts of God’s love given him in Jesus Christ.  Isaiah boasts because of what the Lord has given him:  a tongue, an ear, and his humility.  These, perhaps, prefigure the work of the Lord’s love in Christ Jesus.

The same Lord who vindicated the prophet Isaiah… the same Lord who justified the Apostle Paul… that same Lord is your Lord… vindicating you… justifying you… electing you.  The same Lord, the one who loves you in Jesus Christ, has given a tongue to sustain.  He has given an ear to hear.  And, he has given a gospel for which no one need be ashamed (Ro. 1:16).  All these he has given, first to your preacher and then, through that preacher, to you.  This tongue, this ear, this unashamedness of the gospel is delivered to you for your confession… so that you would stand in the same company as the prophet and the apostle… so that you would stand up together (vs. 8) … stand together, no matter the adversaries, in the company inseparable from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (cf. Ro. 8:39).

Table Talk:  Discuss the consequence of standing with those making this confident boast.
Pray:  Heavenly Father, give me such a tongue to speak what my ear has heard that I, too, would stand in the company of prophets and apostles held by God’s love in Christ Jesus.  Amen

Isaiah 50:4-9a English Standard Version

The Lord God has given me

    the tongue of those who are taught,

that I may know how to sustain with a word

    him who is weary.

Morning by morning he awakens;

    he awakens my ear

    to hear as those who are taught.

5 The Lord God has opened my ear,

    and I was not rebellious;

    I turned not backward.

6 I gave my back to those who strike,

    and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard;

I hid not my face

    from disgrace and spitting.

7 But the Lord God helps me;

    therefore I have not been disgraced;

therefore I have set my face like a flint,

    and I know that I shall not be put to shame.

8     He who vindicates me is near.

Who will contend with me?

    Let us stand up together.

Who is my adversary?

    Let him come near to me.

9 Behold, the Lord God helps me;

    who will declare me guilty?

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