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Former Things, New Things, Our Response

It is Holy week. Palms are behind us and Good Friday is in front of us. Today in the lectionary, we have a servant song, some theology from Hebrews, and Mary annointing Jesus' feet. I like how these line up in time.

Isaiah has a description of God's servant, and what the servant will do with a lot of future tense verbs (in the NRSV). The past tense verbs from verse 5 to 7 are about what God has done for God's people. God has created and given breath and spirit. God has called us and kept us. God has given the servant as a covenant to God's people. We Christians cannot help but see Jesus in this servant. God says: "The former thing shave come to pass and new things I now declare." The former things are those good things God has done. The new thing is the servant bringing forth justice to the nations, given to make a new covenant between God and God's people.

In Hebrews the new things declared in Isaiah have been accomplished. The old things sanctified the flesh of those who were defiled, but the new thing is Christ self-sacrifice purifying our conscience for worship. Christ's death redeems us. Christ has died and become the mediator of the new covenant. Christ has entered once for all in to the Holy Place.

What's left? Isaiah said it would happen, Hebrews said it did happen; now what? Mary shows us. Love and worship our savior. Hebrews says our conscience was purified for the purpose of worship. Mary worships. Isaiah says "I am the Lord, that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to idols." Mary gives the expensive nard to worship the Lord she loves. The Psalm sums it up: "How precious is your steadfast love, O God!" Mary shows us our response.


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