(23 verses, 3:00 to read)
What I am about to READ
The Lord promises comfort and redemption for his people, Zi0n.
MARK and LEARN
The prophet Isaiah was the consummate preacher of Law and Gospel. He announced God’s wrath on unbelief, and called Israel to repentance and faith in his promises. In the previous chapter God brought Israel’s sin before their eyes, and declared that it was for their “iniquities you were sold” (vs. 1).
Now in Chapter 51 we hear nothing else but wonderful gospel. Through various images God comforts his people with the promise that their sins will be removed and that his “righteousness draws near, my salvation has gone out” (vs. 5). In the light of this coming salvation, Zion is compared to Eden, a beautiful garden, whereas before they were “waste places.” (vs. 3). God’s mighty deeds of old are brought to the reader’s eye as evidence of God’s graciousness and power to deliver.
Neither is this salvation restricted to Israel, for the light of God’s righteousness will be a “light for all peoples” which is also reflected in Simeon’s song the Nunc Dimittis (Lk. 2:29-32). This righteousness and light is nothing else that the Christ whom Isaiah had already proclaimed in chapter 49.
In this chapter God continually calls for faith in his word. He does not do so once, or even twice, but four times he tries to get Israel’s attention – “Listen to me!” (vs. 7) is uttered four times in this chapter. He knows how slow we are to hear his word and believe his promises. Even now, God sends forth preachers of his Word to continually bring God’s light of Law and Gospel to the eyes of sinners, just as he sent Isaiah.
Lord God, through your Son you have secured an eternal redemption for your people. Build up your Zion, your holy Church through the proclamation of your word that all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved, through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.