Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her
that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.
3 A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
We are reading significant highlights from the Old Testament, selections from chapters that reveal something of God’s character and work, caring for his people Israel, even disciplining them as a parent seeks to mold a child. God brought them out of Egypt, out of slavery, to become free people living in their own land. God’s only demand was for them to give God their allegiance and obedience. They could or would not, and finally God allowed them to be taken into captivity in Babylon.
But here the prophet Isaiah shares God’s words of comfort and hope. Tell them that they will not remain captives forever. They will be released. But even greater is the coming hope of one who will prepare the way for God’s messiah, God’s only son who would come to offer salvation, freedom from sin, for all of humanity. Then they would be free indeed!
This is a wonderful chapter, as Isaiah proclaims that soon good news would be shouted around Judah, saying, “Here is your God!” He will come with power but he will also come in love as a shepherd gathering his sheep in his arms, leading and protecting them.
For those who heard Isaiah’s words, they could look forward to Christ’s coming in hope, even if they did not experience it themselves. For us, we are privileged to know him and call him savior.
Thank you, dear God, for the blessing of knowing and receiving Jesus Christ as our savior! Thank you that when we falter or fall away from doing your will, we may ask you for forgiveness and know that in Christ, it has been given. He has taken upon himself all our wrongdoing. He did it all on the cross for our sake. We give him all honor and praise, for he is our shepherd and our king. Amen.