A reflection on Isaiah 35 and Luke 1: 57-80
When a child is born there are always a lot of hopes, dreams and expectations invested in that child. I ‘m sure that some psychiatrists have built whole careers on helping people who never lived up to their parent’s dreams and aspirations for their offspring.
Imagine for a moment being John before he was “the Baptist” growing up in a household where your mum and dad believed that your path was to be the prophet that would pave the way for the messiah.
And there was no blueprint for what that path and life would look like. All you could do was immerse yourself in scripture and let yourself be guided by God., and see where that would lead you.
So it is with us. We are God’s children and God has invested all his hopes and dreams for the world in us.
Are you beginning to feel the weight of responsibility yet?
I’m sure that like John, what can we do except immerse ourselves in scripture and let ourselves be guided by God.
I’m sure that we couldn’t sustain ourselves in that task unless we were also buoyed up by something else, and that something else is joy.
Isaiah 35 is a chapter devoted to the joy that people would feel when the Messiah had come and set us free from our bondage to death and decay. It is that joy, which itself is a gift of the Holy Spirit, which together with the strength and guidance of the Holy Spirit that guides us and keeps us on the way that leads to God.
“The way” is a way of life. Now of course Jesus says in John’s gospel “I am the way, the truth and the life”. If you are looking for direction in life – follow the way of Christ, which was primarily a life lived in a permanent conscious relationship with the Father which manifested itself in certain traits like Justice, wisdom, insight, humility, sacrificial giving of everything he had, including his life.
“The way” is how the church was originally known. Followers of the way of Jesus were first called “Christians” or “little Christs” in Antioch some considerable time after the resurrection but up until then they were known simply as “the way”.
They like us were sustained by the joy they felt at being saved, immersed in scripture and walking the way in the power of the Spirit.
That is how we are going to fulfil the expectations of our heavenly Father. We have a great responsibility but we have been given the tools to fulfil that role.