Lectionary Year B
February 23, 2003
Isaiah 43:18-25

Step IV: Cross-Section

A. Primitive Christianity

(JFC) The New Thing/Creation is mentioned in the New Testament in II Corinthians 5:17 and Revelation 21:5. The sprouting/springing up of the new thing is pictured by Jesus' own speaking in Mark 4:26ff. The ownership of God's people occurs also in I Peter 2:9, where it is fleshed out into parallel descriptions of "a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of Him who called you out of darkness (of Babylonian captivity?) into His marvelous light" (the newly rebuilt Jerusalem and Temple?). God's chosen-ness of believing peoples is declared in Colossians 3:12 and I Peter 1:2 and 2:4. The forgiveness of sinfulness is mentioned in Mark 2:7, 10:45, which differs from the way the Old Testament and the Scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees saw such forgiveness, as limited and by God alone, rather than universal and by Jesus, as well. Also, in Matthew 11:30, Jesus describes the yoke with which He binds Himself to the believer as less than burdensome, rather is it easy and light. And, Paul writes in Romans 8:15, "You did not receive (in the New Testament, Note Bene) a spirit of slavery to fall back into slavery to fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption." Then I John, where we read of "love's casting out fear," we read further there, "for fear has to do with punishment (which in Isaiah 43:25 ends) . . ." Furthermore, I John 5:3 claims that "God's commandments are not burdensome." Also, Philippians 2:7 compares slavery to Jesus' being a faithful human as does Hebrews 2:15.

B. Old Testament and Judaism

(JFC) God brings water miraculously to thirsting people in Numbers 20:11 and Isaiah 41:17. Jeremiah 16:15 quotes God's promised bringing the people from the land of the north and returning them to their own land God gave to their ancestors. R. E. Clements, in Old Testament Theology, finds a "hope of a return from the Babylonian exile at the centre of the message of Ezekiel (cf. Ezek. 36.8-15; 37.15-23; 40-8),". . . God's chosen-ness of the people is mentioned in Deuteronomy 7:6 and Isaiah 43:1 and 7 and 49:7. People weary God by irresponsible spending funds in Amos 8:5f and Malachi 1:13f. The animal sacrifices are regulated in Exodus 29:38 and Numbers 28:3 and Leviticus 2:1 requires a frankincense offering, too. Also, our text's verse 24's "fragrant calamus is prescribed in Exodus 30:23 and mentioned as well in Jeremiah 6:20. Isaiah 44:22 assures the people, Jacob and Israel, again, that God has obliterated their transgressions and sin. Of course, the classic Jeremiah 31:33ff declare the same salvation.

C. Hellenistic World

(JFC) These thinkers might appreciate encouragement to forget the past in order to focus on the future which this week's Old Testament Lesson begins by calling readers of it to do. The new picturesque natural order might appeal to them, too. They, also, could probably accuse Israel and Jacob of being inattentive at obeying God's calls for offerings and sacrifices, more the former than the latter, perhaps. The broad pardon and redemption in our text's final (25) verse would interest them, as well.

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