Today's Reading: Isaiah 65:17-25
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; For behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing, And her people a joy. ” (Isaiah 65:17-18)
In Isaiah 65, the prophet will deal with a family tree. Isaiah is going to point toward the Israelites as the chosen people, and also as the people who forsook their birthright before the Lord. The Israelites are supposed to have home field advantage and yet, they blow it. In the end they lose their advantage to the visiting team – some Gentiles who seem to have everything going against them. The Gentiles, after all, are the pagans. But, God has a funny way of dealing with winners and losers. He turns such things upside down, making what the world expects to be true to be quite the opposite.
In today’s text, Isaiah points to the Blessed, but they are not those people who have a perfect genealogical track record. The Lord is going to create a new heaven and a new earth, which means a new Jerusalem as well. The new Jerusalem is not one that traces itself back to Father Abraham and his descendants but, rather, to the Lord incarnate through the waters of Holy Baptism. The Blessed are those redeemed by the Lord at the font. In that water with the Word of God, the Cross of Christ becomes your own and Jesus claims you to be His.
The Lord will turn everything upside down. The people once set apart will no longer be so, and the rejected will become the chosen ones. Lowly human flesh will become an agent of grace to deliver humanity from its own sinful flesh. Mere everyday water and some words spoken by a sinful man in a Holy Office will wash sinners like us in righteousness. Ordinary bread and ordinary wine will become vessels for the Lord’s Most Holy and Precious Body and Blood, given and shed for you for the forgiveness of your sins.
Rejoice dear Christian, the Lord has chosen you against all odds and turned the world upside down in order to save you!
In the name of Jesus. Amen.
Jerusalem, O city fair and high, Your tow’rs I yearn to see; My longing heart to you would gladly fly, It will not stay with me. Elijah’s chariot take me Above the lower skies, To heaven’s bliss awake me, Released from earthly ties. (LSB 674.1)