With Missio we have been going through Isaiah. In conclusion we were each given a chapter to look at in more detail and then present back to the group.
I had chapter 42. Somewhat well known.
It was an interesting exercise for a number of reasons. Besides leaving it quite late, it forced me to go check out some commentaries. This is not something I do often. And to be honest they are ridiculously inaccessible. Where is this magic place people learn to use them? I am not uneducated, stupid or slow (although slightly lazy at times) but everything I found was unappealing lists of words/exegeses with no flow or integration into the passage itself, no clearly established background information etc. I have just done another search and have to eat my words as my first result found something quite straightforward. What I am saying however is that studying the Bible in a technical way is not the easiest thing in the world – although rewarding as you do tend to discover things you otherwise wouldn’t have.
Anyway. I have come to the conclusion that Isaiah 42 is about a new thing, a new way, an alternative. Isaiah itself is the story of Jesus before the story of Jesus. And as much as full of war and conflict and despair as it is… like the image of a woman in childbirth the violence (so different from the assumed natural violence/response of humanity to anything that interferes with our own way) brings forth something new. And that something new is quite remarkable.
In Jesus we are presented with the opportunity to join in with this new thing. The Messiah that didn’t make sense to Israel the counter-cultural one, the carpenter the absent warrior.
And when I was thinking about this, it made me wonder what would happen if I were to present myself more consciously with the option of considering an alternative when I am presented with situations that life throws at me.
And somehow things seemed a little more concrete. If only momentarily.