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The Second Sunday of Epiphany A – January 15, 2023

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The Second Sunday of Epiphany A – January 15, 2023

The prophet Isaiah anticipates Jesus Christ as the Lord’s servant, called while in the womb, named before birth, sent to Israel so that the Lord would be glorified.  Yet, the Lord’s chosen servant (the prophesied Jesus) confesses failure:  labored in vain… spent strength for nothing… only vanity (cf. vs 4).  This is not a confession of hopelessness but of trust, the verse continues:  my right is with the Lord… my recompense with God… (vs. 4).  The Lord hears the confession of failure and the confession of faith and, from that hearing, speaks again.  God’s speech makes the claim that “it is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel.  I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth” (vs. 6).

Jesus, the Lord’s servant, sent specifically to bring Jacob (the deceiver) back to the Lord…  Jesus, the Lord’s servant, sent specifically to bring the preserved of Israel (those who fight with God) back to the Lord… Jesus dies on the cross, failing with even his closest disciples who betrayed, denied, or deserted him… failing with the leadership of both the Temple and the Palace… failing with the people who shouted, “Crucify him!” …  Jesus will be set up, not merely before Israel and Jacob, but will be set up as the light for the nations… as the Lord’s salvation to reach the end of the earth.  Kings will stand up in his honor… princes will fall on their faces in worship of him…  All this so that the Lord will be glorified (vs. 3).  All this because the Lord is faithful (vs. 7).

The Lord’s faithfulness extends to you.  The Lord has made promises to you.  The Lord will be faithful to those promises… faithful, even when you are unfaithful to your promises and to the Lord himself.  The Lord’s faithfulness is your salvation.  You trust it, not your own.  You trust it, because your Lord does not lie, and you… you, like Jacob, have been revealed as a liar, again and again (Ps. 116:11; Ro. 3:4).

Table Talk:  Discuss Isaiah’s prophetic anticipation of Jesus Christ and the Lord’s faithfulness to him, his chosen one, Jesus.
Pray:  Heavenly Father, grant me the confidence of living in your faithfulness, rather than trusting my own.  Amen

Isaiah 49:1-7 English Standard Version

1 Listen to me, O coastlands,

    and give attention, you peoples from afar.

The Lord called me from the womb,

    from the body of my mother he named my name.

2 He made my mouth like a sharp sword;

    in the shadow of his hand he hid me;

he made me a polished arrow;

    in his quiver he hid me away.

3 And he said to me, “You are my servant,

    Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”

4 But I said, “I have labored in vain;

    I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity;

yet surely my right is with the Lord,

    and my recompense with my God.”

5 And now the Lord says,

    he who formed me from the womb to be his servant,

to bring Jacob back to him;

    and that Israel might be gathered to him—

for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord,

    and my God has become my strength—

6 he says:

“It is too light a thing that you should be my servant

    to raise up the tribes of Jacob

    and to bring back the preserved of Israel;

I will make you as a light for the nations,

    that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

7 Thus says the Lord,

    the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One,

to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nation,

    the servant of rulers:

“Kings shall see and arise;

    princes, and they shall prostrate themselves;

because of the Lord, who is faithful,

    the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”

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