Mel Gibson: ‘If you play Jesus in the Passion, you’ll never work in this town again.’ Jim Caviezel: ‘We all have to embrace our crosses. Jesus is as controversial now as he has ever been. Not much has changed in 2,000 years.”
As the meaning of the first amendment narrows, we need brave prophets like Isaiah who don’t mind being pummeled by God’s opponents (cf. Isaiah 50:4-9). God’s promise of Psalm 23, doesn’t take place on your couch as you watch Netflix but “in the presence of your enemies”.
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever”. (Psalm 23: 5-6)
God’s promise of Psalm 23, doesn’t take place on your couch as you watch Netflix but “in the presence of your enemies”.
When the enemies of Christ offer you vinegar, God promises to give you living water. Today’s readings offer us five ways:
- Stay Faithful to your Calling. God called Isaiah (cf. 6) and touched his tongue with burning coals. Isaiah was faithful to his calling, “The Lord GOD has given me a well-trained tongue.” (Isaiah 50:4) The best place to be is your calling. Paul said, “Faithful is He who has called you who will also fulfill your calling.” (Philippians 1:6)
- Remember the Weak. Isaiah’s prophecy is majestic and royal. God transports Isaiah into the glories and horrors of the future. Isaiah prophesied to Uzziah (or Azariah), Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah (Isaiah 1:1). However God also used him to “speak to the weary, a word that would rouse them.” (Isaiah 50:5) Psalm 69 adds: “See, you lowly ones, and be glad; you who seek God, may your hearts revive! For the LORD hears the poor, and his own who are in bonds he spurns not.” We fast during Lent to showcase our weakness. It’s a reminder of Paul’s word, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities.”
When the enemies of Christ offer you vinegar, God promises to give you living water
3. Remember God’s Faithfulness. Isaiah was blessed with a daily word, “Morning after morning he opens my ear that I may hear.” Equally important was God’s ready presence in battle. Isaiah writes, “The Lord is my help… Who disputes my right? Let him confront me. See, the Lord GOD is my help; who will prove me wrong?” God’s faithfulness extends to the superstars of the faith, Abraham, King David and the 12 apostles but don’t forget God’s love for “smallness.” God loves the smallness of our hairs. God loves the Nazareth’s of our life even more than our Jerusalem.
4. Know Your Family. Both King David and Jesus experienced the heartbreak of family disapproval. Psalm 69:8-10 states: “I have become an outcast to my brothers, a stranger to my mother’s sons,
because zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who blaspheme you fall on me.” God gave you two families – both are gifts. One is natural and the other becomes the family you will always have.
5. Be Prepared for Betrayal. Like Judas and Peter, all of us will betray Jesus (cf. Matthew 26: 14-25; John 18:13-27). As scripture indicates, abandoning hope is the gravest of sins. Be like Paul and pray, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (cf. Romans 15:13). If you are stuck in the betrayal mode, it would be better if you were never born, but the good news is God never stops being faithful, longing for our return.