Practicing our faith through the times of the Coronavirus

Day 24, April 6, 2020
“Here Is My Servant”

Fast on the heels of Palm Sunday we enter Holy Week. The lectionary provides daily readings for each day of Holy Week, Monday (today) through Friday (Good Friday). Each day our devotionals through Holy Week will draw on a theme from one of the passages given in the daily readings. If you want to explore the complete readings for each day they will be listed at the end of the devotional. The first of the four readings given for today is from Isaiah 42:1-9 and it begins with a marvelous introduction. “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight.” (Isaiah 42:1) Matthew’s gospel takes that very verse and claims Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promise to send his servant. (Matthew 12:15-21)

With the echoes of Hosanna still ringing in our ears, on this Monday of Holy Week may we come alongside Jesus as he spends the final days of his earthly life in Jerusalem. Because Jesus is the servant of the Lord, we watch every move he makes, the answers he gives to religious leaders who question him, the teaching he gives his disciples, the hope he brings to the crowds.

What will Jesus accomplish in Jerusalem? The Servant passage from Isaiah 42 makes big and bold promises. “He will open the eyes of the blind…He will free captives from prison…he will release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.” (Isaiah 42:7) These days of self-isolation can feel like being imprisoned, perhaps even like sitting in a dungeon in darkness. Being imprisoned or sitting in a dark dungeon are images that do not have to be taken literally to be true. Countless people throughout the 2,000 years since Jesus entered Jerusalem for the final days of his life have experienced being set free from things that bind them. I don’t know how Jesus will set us free from our current dungeon. I don’t know when Jesus will set us free. But I do know he will set us free. In fact, right now, during the time of self-isolation, we can already find our freedom in Jesus. We are free. We are set free from the chains of sin and dungeons of darkness, released from our failures, no longer captive to our fears, with every mark against us erased through the grace and mercy that God come to us because of what happened in Jerusalem in the final days of Jesus’ life on earth.

But friends, our freedom comes at a great cost. Another of our readings for today comes from Hebrews 9:11-15, a poignant passage that reminds us our redemption (redemption means to be bought back at a great price) comes from the death of Jesus, the shedding of the blood of Jesus. When Jesus suffered and died on the cross, the Servant of the Lord was giving us all a great gift. The dungeons of darkness are pierced with light and the doors of the prison have been ripped from their hinges.

On this Monday of Holy Week Jesus begins the final days of his earthly existence. God is saying to us, “Here is my servant…” Thank you God for sending Jesus to be your Servant. Thank you God for sending Jesus to be the Servant who saves us.

With the love of Christ,

Readings for Monday of Holy Week: Isaiah 42:1-9; Psalm 36:5-11; Hebrews 9:11-15; John 12:1-11