Updated: Feb 6
Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By a perversion of justice he was taken away. Who could have imagined his future? For he was cut off from the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people. They made his grave with the wicked and his tomb with the rich, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain. When you make his life an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days; through him the will of the Lord shall prosper. Out of his anguish he shall see light; he shall find satisfaction through his knowledge. The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
This is an optional Old Testament selection from the Episcopal Lectionary for the Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost, Year B 2018. In the numbering system that lists each Sunday in an ordinal fashion, this Sunday is referred to as Proper 24. If chosen, it will next be read aloud in an Episcopal church by a reader on Sunday October 21, 2018. It is important because Isaiah spoke of how weak all human beings are, but the ones who hold true to God are upheld.
Not read in this selection is verse one, which says this song of praise was written with a theme that asks, “To whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” The “arm of the Lord” is known today as Jesus Christ, as the Christ Mind brought within those to whom that “arm” has been “revealed.” Therefore, the verses in this reading are addressing (as a prophecy, but also as a truth that is always) characteristics that would later become identifiable as the Son of Man, Jesus of Nazareth.
Because God was speaking through the prophet Isaiah, who was a human being of faith (an Israelite of Judah), Isaiah spoke the words sent by God to his Holy Spirit companion that was the Christ Mind. Before there was a physical Jesus of Nazareth, there always existed the arm of God, with God, as God. John called that presence “the Word” (“Logos”). As such, Isaiah knew Jesus Christ as his high priest, without knowing him by that name. All Prophets, Apostles and Saints have this reach of God within them, so all become the arm of God in the earthly realm.
This manifestation of the Holy Spirit that is Jesus Christ then heals those of their worldly maladies. Jesus Christ comes to increase the faith of others, passing them the torch of fire for God, so sins become a failure of the past. Those who are lost and seeking God’s help will be found.
Still, because the earth is the realm of Satan, who tries to always lead mankind away from the true God, all who carry the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ will face oppression. Silence and obedience comes from the strength of God, not fear of Man. Humans abort the Law of God and pervert justice. Because of that lack of a firm cornerstone to build trust upon, the future for godless Man is always in doubt. However, Jesus Christ offers the reward of eternal life, by his presence in the righteous.
Those who sell their souls for worldly gains will find them all short-lived. Their deaths will be when their souls pay the price of retribution, for having tried to harm the flesh of God’s perfect servants. In this way, Jesus Christ bore the transgression of many, not once flinching from fear of his own flesh being harmed. Those who are reborn as Jesus Christ have the same strength given to them; all they have to do to earn that strength is go out and be a beacon of light to all seekers of faith.
As an optional Old Testament reading for the twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost, when one’s own personal ministry for the LORD should be underway – one should have become the arm of the Lord reborn – the message here is to expect persecution without fear. When Jesus Christ has been resurrected within one’s being, then the only fear one should have is failing to serve God with all one’s heart.
This alternative reading restates the unjust punishment Satan laid upon Job. The reading from Job that is the option that parallels this reading from Isaiah says that Job, like Isaiah, was a righteous man, with both filled with God’s Holy Spirit that allowed them to be righteous. That presence brings a most holy presence into one’s soul, joining the soul to its Maker. The Son of God is then reborn in both Job and Isaiah, allowing them to speak to God and speak for God.
The sufferings stated by Isaiah that prophesy the coming of Jesus of Nazareth, which paralleled the sufferings of Job, project the expectations of all minister for the LORD. The easy way out is the way of sin, as Satan takes it easy on those who turn away from God. The lessons of Job and Isaiah are the same, as no ordinary human being can remain righteous by self-will alone. This is where sufferings come from the sacrifice of self-ego, while accompanied by a smile, knowing all worldly pains are fleeting. The reward of eternal life is lasting.
For those who are too weak of spirit to find love in their hearts for God, they will become married to the material, which can only exist on the physical plane. For those who cannot pay the dowry required for marriage to God (the change of lifestyle that comes with commitment to only one), then there will be no offspring coming that will be called the Son of God. For all the comforts a soul can be sold for, the life expectancy of an American is merely 75 years. That time pales in comparison to eternity, as it is only a dewy thought of one drop in a bucket of time.
Isaiah should be read based on one’s commitment to God. Without a commitment, Isaiah wrote of some imaginary figure in the clouds of Heaven – pie in the sky that is unseen, and not proved. With a commitment to God, one feels the reality of Jesus of Nazareth, as if one lived through all his pains and sufferings.