Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Fast God Has Chosen

Sunday's [3-year] appointed Old Testament reading was from Isaiah 58:
Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the heavy burdens,
to let the oppressed go free,
and that you break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out;
when you see the naked, that you cover him,
and hide not yourself from your own flesh?
Then your light shall break forth like the morning,
your healing shall spring forth speedily,
and your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry, and He will say, "Here I am."

We hear this passage and immediately think of what God demands of us, what we are to do. We are to share our food and clothing, to help those who are captives and in need. And that's true.

But this passage is also a picture of the cross of Jesus -- not merely the fast He requires of us, but even more, the fast He chose to undertake. In His death, He loosed His people from bondage to Satan and sin. He gives His body that we might eat the Bread of Life. By His death, He gathers us poor into His mansions. He was not ashamed to be naked on the cross, but covers us with the robe of His righteousness. He cried out to the Father, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" and the Father answered, "Here I am" and raised Him up on the morning of the third day that we might have light and healing.

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