October 13 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“My righteousness draws near speedily, my salvation is on the way, and my arm will bring justice to the nations. The islands will look to me and wait in hope for my arm.”
~Isaiah 51:5

OLD TESTAMENT

We are in a section of Isaiah that many scholars identify as the “Servant Songs” (see Isaiah 42:1, 49:6, 50:4-9; 52:13). Christian and Jewish scholars alike agree that the Servant Songs refer to both Israel and the Messiah. God’s people (ancient Israel) are the conduit through which salvation reaches the world. They are the birth people of the coming Servant, the Messiah. (See the conversation between the woman at the well and Jesus in John 4:19-25.)

The Servant is linked with Israel because Jesus comes from Israel, and it is through Him that all the nations will be saved. The Messiah will restore Israel, but it will not be easy. He will sacrifice everything to save His people, and then He will ensure that every nation shares in His deliverance.

Isaiah’s prophecy regarding the Messiah is not a “once and done” deal. The drama continues to unfold before our eyes. The frequent references to “the islands” in the prophecies are meant to indicate that the good news will reach even the most remote people of the earth. We’ve still got a ways to go. However, every time we share our faith with someone, or send out a missionary, or witness a baptism in our community, this prophecy is being fulfilled. We are part of the drama and helping write the story by proclaiming the good news about the Servant who came to bring peace to each of us and to the nations (Is. 52:7).

NEW TESTAMENT

The church at Thessalonica (in modern-day Greece) became an example for others to follow. “And you became a model to all the believers…” (1 Thes. 1:7). Unfortunately, the word “model” has been hijacked by the fashion industry and now means perfect-looking-person-I-will-never-look-like! (How many of us can live up to airbrushed cover model flawlessness?!) True models, the kind Paul refers to and the kind we should all aim to be, are not perfect people. They are devoted followers of Christ, who allow their lives to be on display flaws and all. They inspire others not because they want people to be like them but because they want others to be like them in their pursuit of Christ-likeness (1 Thes. 1:6). In that sense, we all should be models! We should all be pursuing Christ-likeness and encouraging others to follow the example of the only truly perfect model, Jesus.


Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.