Isaiah 49:1-7. Isaiah’s second servant song seems to refer to both an individual and to the nation of Israel. Either way the message is clear – the work is hard and leads to mockery and rejection, but God will make God’s servant a light to the nations and will ultimately bring the servant praise and recognition.
Psalm 40:1-14. Praise for God’s grace and rescue, and a commitment to serve God and proclaim God’s justice.
1 Corinthians 1:1-9. God has gifted God’s church with all they need to serve in partnership with God, and to remain strong until the return of Christ.
John 1:29-42. John the Baptist testifies that Jesus is the one who will baptise with the Holy Spirit, and two of John’s disciples follow Jesus. One of them, Andrew, calls his brother Simon to meet Jesus, and Jesus names him Peter.
Rev Tania writes:
Following on from Jesus’ baptism, his mission is now proclaimed and affirmed in the readings this week. The prophetic song of Isaiah’s servant holds challenging foreshadows of Christ’s sacrificial life. The psalmist’s commitment to serve God is echoed in Jesus’ own ministry, as is God’s gifting of followers of Christ in God’s church. Finally, as John testifies, Jesus is the one who leads people into transforming encounters with God (baptism in the Holy Spirit) and who is the “Lamb of God” who will be sacrificed for all people.
The Scriptures this week hold Christ up for us as the example of one who is called, and one who has responded to that call, and is committed enough to make profound sacrifices in service of God’s reign. Like the first disciples, we also find ourselves called, and needing to respond and commit.
Along with the call is God’s equipping – the hope of God’s ultimate glory (as reflected in the Psalm and Isaiah), the Baptism of the Holy Spirit given by Christ and the gifts God has given to God’s church, spoken of by Paul.
If God’s reign of justice and love is to find a place on the earth, it will be through faithful, sacrificial followers of Christ who have responded willingly to God’s call. Sacrifice is not a popular word, but it is one that needs to be rediscovered if we are to address the massive challenges facing our world.
I pray that our worship gives us the courage and the faith to lay down our lives in service of Christ and God’s reign again.
Blessings as we respond to the call of following Jesus! Amen.