In the irreverent Monty Python satire Life of Brian, a man named Brian Cohen in 1st century Judea is mistaken for the promised Messiah. Throughout the movie, his ardent followers look to him to save them from Romans oppression.
All the while, he tries to convince the people, “I’m not the Messiah!”
Unfortunately, many of us believe that we are, indeed, the Messiah—or we look to other people to be our Messiah when they’re not.
Join us today in our daily Bible conversation as we explore why we’re not the Messiah.
INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS
Isaiah 12:1-14:32. In the second half of chapter 13, Isaiah prophesies that the Medes will invade Babylon—which they did in 539 B.C. He also prophesies that Babylon will eventually be uninhabited. Since the second century A.D., Babylon (located in Iraq) has indeed been a desolate city.
In the book of Daniel, we can see a marked difference between the Babylonian kings and the Persian/Median kings (this was a combined kingdom of sorts—Persia and the Medes). The Babylonian kings were not nearly as compassionate as the Persian/Median kings. For example, in Ezra and Nehemiah, we read that in the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia’s reign—right after he invaded Babylon—he ordered the reconstruction of the temple in Jerusalem.
Some preachers hearken to Isaiah 14 as a reference to Satan’s fall from heaven, citing Luke 10:18 and 1 Timothy 3:6, but this is only conjecture—and it makes for a rousing sermon. It may be true or it may not. Prophecy is typically highly symbolic, making it difficult to interpret. Such is the case here.
2 Corinthians 13:1-14. Paul intends to return to Corinth to face his accusers but insists that every matter “must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses” (13:1). This practice—which continues to this day in western society—was first established in Deuteronomy 19:15 and affirmed by Jesus in Matthew 18:16.
Also, notice the words of verse 14 in Paul’s farewell: “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” Although the word “Trinity” is never mentioned in the New Testament, this is the clearest reference to the three.
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THE WORD MADE FRESH
David was on the run. Saul was the hunter and David was the hunted. People had betrayed him and let him down nearly every step of the way. While hiding in a cave to avoid being seen, David wrote Psalm 57.
He writes, “I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings” (verse 1). Like a hen who protects her chicks, David relied on God to grant him protection. Furthermore, he writes that “[God] saves me” (verse 2).
In the same way, we read in Isaiah 12:2 that one day Israel will say, “Surely God is my salvation.”
This may seem blatantly obvious, but God is our salvation.
While I know this truth in my head, I don’t know it so well in my heart. Too often I look to people or myself for salvation.
I have a friend who is looking for work, and potential employers and contacts continually let them down. Yet those people aren’t his salvation.
Another friend is living as a single dad while his wife is receiving treatment for a mental illness. But the therapists, as effective as they may be, aren’t his salvation.
But looking to God to be our salvation is hard. We want immediate solutions and tangible answers. We want a God with skin.
Placing our trust in a God we cannot see requires faith. And it means the solution may not be readily visible.
If you’re in a difficult place in your life, remember this truth: God is your salvation.
You can’t save your wayward child.
You can’t overcome that addiction on your own.
You can’t convince that potential employer to hire you.
But God can. He’s your salvation.
- What spoke to you in today’s reading?
- To what extent do you find it difficult trusting God to be your salvation?
- How have you experienced God as your salvation?
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Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church with Eugene Scott in Littleton, Colorado.