Monday, January 7, 2008

Jesus: God's Pride and Joy Matthew 3:13-17 & Isaiah 42:1-9?

Jesus was God that Father's pride and joy. Just listen to the words in Matthew 3:17 as Jesus came up from the water. Heaven opened as a dove descended upon him,

a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”(NIV)
There's no doubt. The Father made his choice clear, saying from heaven, this one pleases him. The voice from heaven is brief. God is most pleased, but no case is made to explain why. Heaven opened up so that the dove could come down and bring the Good News but we don't know why.

Our brave Lectionary points us back to Isaiah 42:1 and the prophets words from God about one in whom God would delight. Isaiah declared for God, "I gave/put on נָתַתִּי this one my spirit/breath/wind רוּחִי ." As I read Matthew I hear that a dove, a symbol we use for the Spirit descends upon Jesus. Is he the one God gave his רוּח Spirit/Breath to?

I'm finding it very hard to read Isaiah 42:1-9 in the same setting as I read about Jesus' baptism in Matthew 3 and not be convinced that Isaiah is talking about Jesus. Some might say I am too focussed on Jesus and miss the point that Isaiah was trying to make. After all God made a promise to Israel through the prophet long before Jesus. Who says that he would have waited all that time to fulfill it. People with lots of theological training might say this interpretation is too "Christocentric" But, maybe that's the point. Jesus is the hope of the hurting and those who thirst for righteousness. Go on and search for another but I doubt that you'll find one.

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