Day 24: Isaiah 40-55

‘Comfort my people’ the prophet proclaims: comfort they surely need for these words are written for Israelites in exile in Babylon after the destruction of Jerusalem. This is a message for people whose lives have been ruined by the machinations of nations more powerful than theirs, for Jews now living among idol worshippers.

When those idolaters are cultured and successful, how tempting it must be to believe that the Israelites’ God is powerless – or uncaring. Yet Isaiah is insistent that God is neither and that ultimately he will save his people. Indeed, so far reaching is God’s power, so much is he the Lord of the nations, that he has anointed the pagan Emperor Cyrus to set the exiles free and to rebuild Jerusalem.

It is not just physical freedom that the prophet announces; within the first few verses the Israelites are told that their sins have been paid for. As we read on, slowly a new figure emerges: the servant. At first this is a name for Israel, but gradually it becomes clear that it refers also to an individual, to a person who embodies all that Israel ought to be.

Then in chapter 53, we hear how this servant is wounded for our transgressions, is bruised for our iniquities, and has made us whole. Comfort indeed: no wonder our reading ends with singing and joy.

Kathy English

Read the Bible on line at Bible Study Tools. Today’s passage (NRSV) is here:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: