“If you had been the only one, Jesus would have gone to the cross for you!”
I know the intention behind that thought, but….
… but what? Well, one of my favourite parts of the writings of the Old Testament are the “Servant Songs” in Isaiah. In a remarkable way we are taken into the innerness of the relationship between God the Father and God the Son, 7 or 8 centuries or thereaabouts before Jesus actually walked on the earth to think the thoughts expressed in these Songs. (You can find them in Chapters 42, 49, 50 and 52-53.)
It is the conversation between the Father and the Son in Chapter 49 that interests me with regard to the oft quoted sentiments in italics mentioned above. In that chapter we read the innermost thoughts of Jesus. He says to His Father, “My work seems so useless.” Have you realised that Jesus could be downcast? Depressed? Presumably He was thinking here of the smallness of the spiritual harvest as the cross approached. So few folowers, little apparent impact. The Father did nnot say, “Son, it would have been worth it all for even one.” He actually gives an assurance to His Son, His Servant, that a world wide harvest is coming! “You will do more than restore the people of Israel to me. I will make you a light to the Gentiles, and you will bring my slavation to the ends of the earth!”
God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are thinking big! They are thinking expansively. Think big with God!
What does that mean in practice? Well it means that we pray for and actively work for the extension of the KIngdom of God in this world, spreading its righteousness, joy and peace, diligently, creatively, relevantly, thoughtfully, with compassion, seeking to show others that God and His Kingdom love and power have come close to us in Jesus.
Think of yourself as an outpost of the KIngdom of God, as the disposal of One whose love has conquererd the territory of your life, whose eye is on the sparrow but also scans the centuries and distant coastlands, always reaching out with His strong arm to save. Jesus said in Isaiah 49, “I am like a sharpened arrow in his quiver.” Every true believer seeks to become like Jesus. Well, let’s be like Him in his self understanding expressed here: we are sharpened arrows prepared by the Father, ready to be fitted to the bow of his saving love and shot with aim and intention into the world. Perhaps you have felt you have not landed on any target. Perhaps the Father has a target in mind that you have not yet seen and could not imagine.
He has prepared you, the arrow, and he has prepared the target. Can you believe that? I hope so: think Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch, if you get my drift.