Exposure That Can Heal John 4:5-42

Exposure is the topic for this week.  I’m not writing about being exposed to Covid-19 and precautions.  I am writing about how it has exposed our humanity and fear.  Covid-19 has reminded us once again of our mortality and our lack of invincibility.  High school sports are cancelled.  College sports are cancelled.  Professional sports are cancelled.  Church services are cancelled.  Store shelves are empty.  Scammers are selling their secret cure.  Sales of Corona beer are down as people fear getting the virus from drinking it.  Covid-19 has more than exposed us to a virus.  It has also exposed our humanity and fear.

Today’s reading has Jesus talking to a Samaritan woman at the community well and much was exposed about humanity in that day.  Namely, biases and fear and insecurity.  A God fearing Jew would avoid Samaritan land or find the fastest way through it.  They would not have held a conversation with a Samaritan nor drank water from the same cup.  A man would not have had a conversation with a woman in public.  What Jesus was doing would have raised the anxiety levels of the righteous in those days.  What he was doing also exposed our bias and fear.

There is more.  Jesus asked her to get her husband but she had no husband.  Then Jesus exposed her as having had five husbands.  She wasn’t unlucky in love.  Jesus exposed the insecurity of a woman in a society where wives were easily divorced (discarded) but needed men for protection.

While much was exposed, Jesus offered water but not water that came from the community well.  He offered water that bubbled up like a fountain rising up to eternal life.  He was the source of that water.  Eternal life is a quality and way of life lived out under Christ as Lord in the reign of God.  Jesus brought eternal life to a woman society had built walls around and raised up her dignity in a cast aside culture.  She went off to town to tell others and the Samaritan town believed and welcomed Jesus to stay.  They saw in him the Savior of the world.

The disciples showed up and were aghast that Jesus was talking to a Samaritan woman.  Jesus had come to do the work of bringing eternal life to this world and many others were needed both Jew and Samaritan to be a part of this work.  The eternal life that Jesus brings is a life where biases and fears of others are removed and those cast aside are raised up to dignity as children of God.  For this to happen, a lot of workers are needed.  The disciples needed to understand this.

Covid-19 is a reality that has brought much of the world to a stop.  It needs to be taken seriously.  The prayer is for all infected to quickly recover and know again the goodness of health.  At the same time, our humanity has been exposed with all its fears and insecurities.  This needs healing as well.  The invitation is to join in as one of the workers bringing the water that bubbles over to eternal life.  Jesus is that water.


Born Again John 3:1-17

John 3:16 is one of those verses from the Bible that transcends many barriers.  The verse has been called the Gospel in miniature.  It is one of those verses that little children learn in their Sunday school classes.  At an arena or sporting event, you can see the verse on a t-shirt or poster held by a spectator.  The verse does the amazing task of describing God’s endless love for his creation/universe/world that he would send his Son to redeem it back from its darkness and death.

The verse is preceded by a ruler of the Jewish council, Nicodemus, coming to Jesus in the darkness of night most likely to avoid being discovered by others.  Nicodemus had seen and heard in Jesus a quality of life that set him apart as being from God.  Jesus responded that to see the kingdom of God a person needed to be born again which can get really confusing.

Nicodemus was obviously right in that we can’t once again undergo the physical birth process as adults.  So what does being born again mean?  Does it mean an altar call or confession?  Not really, but a confession of faith is the result of this rebirth.  So what is born again?

Jesus went on to describe how this world already stands judged and comes up wanting.  The reality of this is shown in our love of darkness and our effects to hide what we do because deep down we know it is evil.  Simply look at the false information, manipulation of the truth and direct lies being told these days to put our love of darkness on display.

So what are we saying by being born again?  It means we stop our allegiance to the darkness and grab hold of the light which exposes the truth.  The hold that darkness has over us we can’t break; this is the Holy Spirit’s work.  Only the Spirit can make us able to see the truth.  Only the Spirit can allow us to see the reign of God and give us a rebirth from this world into God’s kingdom.

Jesus spoke of his being lifted up (crucifixion).  It was also his exultation.  There the darkness of the world challenged the reign of God.  Jesus’ resurrection (exultation) showed that the light and truth of God’s grace and love are what reign and give life.  John 3:16 tells us that to believe in Jesus is to have eternal life.  Eternal life is more than an endless number of days to live.  Eternal life is a quality of life…a way of life…a life in relationship with the resurrected Lord that is now and continues on forever.  Believing in Jesus is to trust that in him God was saving the world, so deeply loved, from darkness into light.

So we return to John 3:16 and its message.  “For God so loved the world (you) that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  The Gospel in one sentence.


It Is Tempting Matthew 4:1-11

The season of Lent is now here which means that many of us will be giving something up.  At least, for a few weeks.  So we’ll give up social media:  Facebook, Instagram, etc.  We’ll deny ourselves the “vices” like alcohol, fast food or cigarettes.  In the past my big denial was chocolate.  The positive was the effect of losing a couple pounds.  The negative was on Easter morning gorging on the chocolate covered marshmallow bunnies and eggs.  The result was gaining the weight back and sometimes a pound or two more.  The great denial of Lent starts out with good intentions but the lure to return to former ways is strong.  This is how temptation works.  It just keeps pulling and pulling and pulling at our weakness like the taste for sweets, the excitement of how many likes are on Facebook or the social connection at the bar.  Temptation feeds off our fears, anxieties, desires until it has caught us in its trap.

The readings from the first Sunday in Lent are about two great scenes of temptation:  Jesus in the the wilderness, Adam and Eve in the garden.  The temptations were much more that eating an apple from the forbidden tree or turning rocks into bread to fill an empty tummy.  The temptations were really about our relationship with God.

The Old Testament reading is from Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7.  The serpent tempts Eve to eat the forbidden fruit while Adam seems to be silent in the background.  The serpent’s challenge is to the goodness of God who denied them the chance to be like God and know good from evil.  Eve and Adam both took a bite; so do we.  Yes we do know what good is because we have come to know evil so well.  The desire to be like God has brought us war, poverty, division, ecological damage to creation. In the end, death comes.

The temptation of Jesus in the wilderness by the devil seems to focus on the devil getting Jesus to do what he shouldn’t but the temptation goes much deeper.  “If you are the Son of God…” is how each temptation begins.  Lets be straight forward.  Jesus knew who he was and the devil knew who Jesus was as well.  What was at stake wasn’t Jesus’ ability to do what the devil tempted but his identity.  Jesus came as God incarnate to save a fallen world.  Would he surrender that identity to fill his empty stomach, force the hand of God to serve him or worship what is evil for the world’s power?  Jesus refused to give in and take a bite from that forbidden fruit.

The first Sunday in Lent seems to be about temptation but really it is about identity.  The verses just prior to Jesus in the wilderness were on his baptism.  The Spirit’s presence and the voice from heaven affirmed his identity, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”  Baptized into Christ, we are marked with his cross and declared to be a child of God.  While we think temptation is about eating chocolate, the real temptation is to deny our new identity.  Will we deny this identity to claim the place of God?  Will we give up our identity to serve ourselves…get God to serve us…or, serve what is evil for power?  Giving up our identity is temptation’s real goal.

Whether you decide to give up chocolate or Facebook or fast food for Lent is up to you but hold firm to who you are in Christ – a child of God.


Are You Hungry? Matthew 17:1-9

[Taken from a sermon to be preached this coming Sunday]

I start out with this opening question, “Are you hungry?”  Right away our minds turn to breakfast, lunch or maybe a quick raid on the leftovers in the refrigerator.  Yet, there are different kinds of hunger beyond food.  If we are sick, the hunger is for healing and health.  The hunger inside might be for peace or justice or truth.  While the word ‘hunger’ can be used to describe the yearning that is inside each of us, this coming Sunday I’ll turn to what can be called the hunger for God.

I am going to ask you the question again but this time it isn’t about food. “Are you hungry?” This time we are looking at a different kind of hunger. The kind of hunger that reaches down into the soul.

Are you hungry to look upon the face of Jesus, the risen Lord?

Are you hungry for the presence of God to be as sure and as obvious as a tent pitched in your backyard?

Are you hungry for the divisions that hurt so deep in society to be removed as the kingdom of heaven brings healing to the nations?

Are you hungry for heaven’s feast…when death has been swallowed up in victory…when you will lift the cup of victory with the ones you have loved…and lost…and miss?

So are you hungry this morning? If the question is about looking upon the face of Christ in glory and for the coming of God’s reign, then the hunger is real and begs to be satisfied. The older you get, the hunger pangs get all the stronger.

This Sunday is Transfiguration Sunday and Lent begins with Ash Wednesday in a couple days. Preaching on this text is really hard because how do you with words tell of a vision that words can’t adequately explain? How do you describe what it would be like to stand next to the likes of Moses and Elijah from the Old Testament? How do you describe with words Christ suddenly glowing with the glory reserved for God alone? How do you describe the voice which said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” How do you make tangible the touch of Jesus saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” You can’t. You simply have to be there and experience the moment first hand. What we can do is express the hunger that we share with Peter and James and John. In the end, description isn’t good enough, we want fulfillment.

So this morning we are given a description of a vision that Peter, James and John were blessed to experience. Lets begin by engaging in what the Gospel of Matthew is trying to tell us.

Just prior to this amazing vision on the mountain top, Jesus tells the disciples that he was going to Jerusalem. What was about to happen in Jerusalem was not what they expected, he would be rejected and killed, but in three days he would rise. Peter pulled him aside with the message to stop such talk. Jesus responded with “Get behind me Satan.” He went on to say that if you wanted to have life and be considered a follower of his, you take a cross and die to this world.

We tend to be really tough on Peter then and in the reading today when he wanted to build three booths for Jesus, Moses and Elijah to stay. Shouldn’t he have known better but in reality he was just like the rest of us. He had a hunger that needed to be filled that was instilled as a boy hearing the stories of the glorious past and of a redeemed future brought by the Messiah. Unfortunately he had a hunger but didn’t know fully what the hunger was for. The problem is that we aren’t always sure what we are hungry for either. Haven’t each of us stood in front of an open refrigerator door not knowing what we are hungry for? So it is with faith.

We think the hunger is for political power and exert our will over others. Or, we think it is about celebrity and the biggest church, or how we remember or think life was like fifty years ago. And so we try to fill the hunger but to do so we lie, deceive, con each other, con ourselves and sell our souls. In the end we have nothing, not even life. The hunger instilled in us is not a re-branding or shuffling of the deck in terms of who is in power. The hunger is to look upon the face of God…to feel the touch of Christ and to hear his call to rise and not be afraid…to live in a world pulsating with God’s justice and peace.

Matthew then moves to the voice which speaks from the cloud saying, “This is my Son, the Beloved listen to him!” The voice from the cloud announced, “this is my Son, the Beloved” which is much like what was announced at his baptism. This time the voice said something more, “listen to him.” Just after the amazing vision on the mountain top, Jesus was going down the mountain and gave the three disciples a stern warning to keep this quiet until he was raised from death. The very presence of God for which we hunger the most is sandwiched between Jesus’ announcement that he was going to die and rise from the dead.

The hunger that runs so deep in the soul is satisfied only by the love of God in Christ who emptied himself out on the cross for us…satisfied only by the resurrection where the power of death is no more.

So we return to the opening question about being hungry.  There is a meal for the people hungry for God.  It is called Holy Communion.  We are fed looking forward to the day when all hunger is gone.

Do not be afraid, this is the body of Christ given for you.

Do not be afraid, this is the blood of Christ shed for you.

A foretaste of the feast to come when we raise the cup of victory with those we have loved and lost and miss.

A day when all the lies and deceit and division and abuse will have come to their end in the cross of Christ. A new creation will be free in the resurrection.

So are you hungry? Then come, come to God’s Holy Table this coming Sunday in anticipation of the day when the hunger is no more.




You Have Heard It Said…Matthew 5:21-37

These days I find myself stunned by the things that are said.  I am not thinking about cursing, the four letter word kind.  I am thinking about the disinformation, lying, deception, spin and so on that are being used to justify what is wrong…make corrupt appear honest…take the things we were taught to be a sin and make them seem noble instead.  Since this is an election year, I will likely be spending much of the coming year stunned by what is said.  As is the case, humanity hasn’t changed from two thousand years ago.  We have simply refined our techniques and with social media become more devious and stunning.

Jesus was still giving the Sermon on the Mount in the reading.  He tackled the prickly topics of murder, adultery, divorce and oath taking.  His listeners would have likely been stunned.  Not because of how he was able to diminish these topics and how he rationalized a way around them, rather how he intensified them and left no room for spin.  We need to remember that Jesus told of the need to be more righteous than the Pharisees and teachers of the law to enter into the kingdom of heaven.  He also said that he came not to abolish the Law and prophets but to fulfill the words spoken through them.  Righteousness was so central to the importance of relationships.

You have heard it said…do not murder.  This seems very straight forward or is it?  Murder can be more than the ceasing of physical life.  Do you know of anyone whose career was ruined by personal attacks or vengeance?  Do you know of a reputation destroyed by disinformation?  Jesus warned that even calling someone “Fool” will make you liable for the fire of hell.  Now we all know people who are difficult to get along with in life.  Yet, Jesus advised that before we come to the alter go first and reconcile with our neighbor.  How we live in our relationships is how we live out our righteousness.

You have heard it said…do not commit adultery.  You have heard it said…anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.  These two are lumped together because they arise from the same problem which is the advantages and power of men over women.  Today misogyny is still alive and prominent.  The ‘Me Too’ movement shows how little things have changed over time.  Jesus warned that it would be better to be physically maimed than to continue in such behavior and be liable to the fire of hell.  How we live in our relationships is how we live out our righteousness.

You have heard it said…do not break your oath.  Who hasn’t known the hurt of broken promises?  Who hasn’t known what it is like to have trust destroyed because a promise was never kept?  Have you ever been swindled?  Have you ever been surprised by a person/business keeping their promise?  Finding integrity can be a challenge these days.  Jesus simply stated that our in relationships with others ‘yes’ should mean ‘yes’ and our ‘no’ should mean ‘no’ because anything else comes from the evil one.  How we live in our relationships is how we live out our righteousness.

These days we might be stunned by how disinformation and spin have become normalized in life.  Yet, Jesus will have none of it.  Righteousness is demanded and it is found in how we live out our relationships.


You are Light. You are Salt. Matthew 5:13-20

These days we take salt for granted.  It is cheap.  However, this was not always the case.  In ancient times salt was highly valued.  At times, it was even used by the Romans as currency to pay soldiers and other officials.  Light is also taken for granted.  Flip a switch on the wall and a room is filled with light.  A satellite picture of the world quickly shows how lit up the night has become.  However it wasn’t that long ago when a single lighthouse stood as a beacon between a cargo ship and crashing rocks.  If power is ever lost in a storm, the familiar house now becomes a place of pitfalls and stubbed toes.

Jesus is continuing his Sermon on the Mount and he calls those present ‘Salt’ and ‘Light.’  We may not fully grasp what he was saying because of light and salt being so much a part of modern life.  He was calling them highly valued and important in the kingdom of heaven.  Jesus is also saying the same about us.

The people in Jesus’ audience weren’t what we call celebrities, they weren’t adorned in luxury or religious leaders basking in the flattery of others.  Along with the disciples, the people included the poor, the persecuted (or soon to be), those who dared to speak the truth (put a light) to the world’s darkness and who desperately hoped for God’s righteousness to be known.  The kingdom of heaven belonged to people like these.  Jesus called them ‘blessed.’  He also called them ‘salt’ and ‘light.’  What is important to note is that Jesus was speaking in the plural, not singular.  As a collective whole, they were ‘salt’ and ‘light.’  Today, we call that collective whole the church.

So what happens when the church is no longer pure in heart?  Meaning, it is willing to trade a seat in the kingdom for a place of prominence in the world?  What happens if it is no longer concerned for the poor, the grieving or oppressed?  What if it no longer shines a light on the darkness or perhaps even helps in the coverup?  It becomes like salt that has lost its value.  It has done the absurdity of lighting a candle only to put a lid on it to protect the darkness.

Jesus was very direct.  He didn’t come to abolish the Law or the prophets but to fulfill God’s demand for righteousness spoken through them.  Jesus will go on in the following verses to explain what this involves as his sermon continues.  His teaching, life, death and resurrection has shown the God who comes to take an enslaved world and bring it to freedom.

The verses today conclude with Jesus warning that unless our righteousness exceeds the Pharisees and teachers of the law, we won’t be a part of the kingdom of heaven.  If anyone knew the Law and prophets, it would be the Pharisees and the teachers of the law.  Yet, there is a difference between knowing and being transformed.

There is the darkness of cynicism, division, manipulation, fearmongering, lies, etc., etc., etc.  At times, this seems so overwhelming.  Remember Jesus’ declaration: you are salt…you are light.


Blessings Matthew 5:1-12

If you ask people what a blessed life looks like, you would get a perspective of life that is going well.  A person will say they are blessed because they enjoy good health.  Another will cite family and speak of them being a blessing.  Still another could describe living in a good neighborhood where they feel safe is a blessing.  So blessings in a way are about the parts of life that work well and bring us joy.  We direct our thankfulness toward God as the giver of such blessings.  So as we read from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, we get a different perspective on blessings.  What Jesus calls a blessing, leaves us scratching our heads because they don’t fit on our list.

Jesus taught that the blessed are: the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the merciful, those hungering and persecuted for righteousness, etc.  How can this be?  Well, we can try to rationalize his words and make them fit our world.  We might say that their suffering will change and become a blessing when they get their act together but Jesus didn’t say this.  Or that God sent this suffering as a way of testing and that blessing will come in the future.  Jesus didn’t say this.  We might pass this off as a future event, as being blessed someday in heaven but Jesus didn’t say this.  He said, “Blessed are…” meaning the blessings are now in the present.  So how do we reconcile Jesus’ view of blessings and our own?  We don’t.

The verses just before this tell of Jesus gathering disciples and preaching the message, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”  His call is for life to be turned around and taken in a different direction.  A new way of understanding the world from God’s perspective has been brought near in Jesus.  So how does this work?  Well, the kingdom of heaven doesn’t belong to those parading the power of faith for all to see.  Instead, the kingdom of heaven belongs to those willing to admit the poverty of their faith.  Those that struggle for peace when ‘might is right’ seems to be the dominate belief, are the ones blessed to be called children of God.  Those insulted and persecuted for speaking truth in the face of power toward the pursuit of justice, walk in the same path as Jesus and the prophets of old.  The kingdom of heaven is also theirs.

So what does it mean to be blessed?  One perspective is to have life go well.  Jesus’ teaching of blessing is to conform our lives to God’s perspective which he lived out for us to see.  The two don’t always mix together well.  So how do we transform our understanding of blessing?  The prophet Micah gives us a start in the companion reading (Micah 6:1-8). “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”


What Does Jesus do Now? Matthew 4:12-23

Jesus’ early years up to now have been surrounded by political turmoil.  Herod tries to eliminate him by having the children of Bethlehem slaughtered.  His family flees to Egypt for refuge.  Following his baptism, Jesus is tempted by the Devil in the wilderness to rely on his self-sufficiency…manipulate God to serve him by the use of Scripture…finally sell his soul for political power.  John the Baptist has been imprisoned for challenging Herod Antipas’ immoral conduct.  In response to this news, Jesus heads off to Galilee.  What is Jesus going to do now?

The political turmoil Jesus faced in many ways is not all that much different from what we face today or that has been faced by countless others through the centuries.  Politics is about power: obtaining and keeping it.  The methods include lies, silencing the opposition’s voice, fear, manipulation, division, etc.  So what does a person or the church do?  Do we look out for ourselves and go with the flow?  Do we alter the church’s message for influence or the power that comes with wealth?  Do we simply sell out?  These options aren’t all that promising or very hopeful.  In fact, they seem rather dreary.  Scripture calls these options darkness.  The way we do politics does seem really dark at times.

The Gospel of Matthew (referring to Isaiah 9:1-4) tells that people living in darkness have seen a great light and that those living in the shadow of death a light has shined upon them.  Jesus is that light.  The message Jesus announced was enough for the brothers Simon (Peter) and Andrew along with the brothers James and John to leave everything behind and take a chance on something new.  Jesus’ message was, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

Repent often has the negative connection of judgment and punishment.  Repent can also be positive.  Repent really is turning around and taking life in a different direction.  Matthew uses ‘kingdom of heaven’ instead of ‘kingdom of God.’  Using ‘kingdom of heaven’ gives the impression not so much of a place but a concept.  So when Jesus said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near,” he was saying, “turn your life around and grab hold of a new idea which is different as light shining in darkness.”

Currently, the political battle rages on with Republican vs. Democrat and conservative vs. liberal.  The resulting division in this land leaves us feeling as though we really are in darkness.  When tempted by the Devil to opt into the world’s ways, Jesus chose to be the light that shines in the darkness: the kingdom of heaven.  His life, death and  resurrection has brought to us this light which will unfold in the following verses of Matthew.  So how did Jesus start out being a light in the darkness?  He brought healing to all who came to him.


Pointing Out Jesus John 1:29-42

Evangelism is one of those words that strikes a little fear (or maybe a lot) in the heart of Christians.  Maybe the fear arises out of rejection from past attempts.  Maybe the fear comes from possibly not knowing all the answers that could be asked.  Maybe the fear and possibly the biggest reason of all is that we aren’t sure who Jesus is in the first place.  Sure, we know the titles: Lord, Savior, Lamb of God, etc.  However, do we know what the titles mean for life and their consequences?  If we use a politically charged word like “Lord,” how then do we relate to those wanting to push political agendas?  Is Jesus the giver of power and wealth to those managing to get life straightened out?  Is Jesus the One coming with a purifying fire and judgment or with welcome to the sinner and compassion for the outcast?  The church season is Epiphany which is about revealing Jesus and making him known.  The best gift we can give to ourselves in Epiphany might be to take the effort and move beyond simply knowing the titles to understand the impact of the ones we use.  Then, conform to who we say Jesus is in life.

In the reading out of John, John the Baptist sees Jesus passing by and points him out saying, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”  This happened again the next day.  The result was that a few disciples wanted to know where Jesus was staying.  In other words, they were wanting to learn more from Jesus himself.  Jesus’ response was simple, “Come and see.”

When John the Baptist pointed Jesus out from the crowd, he was giving to Jesus more than a title, “Lamb of God.”  He was doing more than showing God’s sacrifice so we don’t have to continue sacrificing lambs.  John the Baptist was pointing out Jesus as the One taking away our rebellion from God and the consequences.  Knowing a title is nice.  Not having to sacrifice lambs is a relief.  Knowing Jesus as the One where our rebellion against God comes to an end is life changing which is why it takes a lifetime to know Jesus by heeding his invitation to “Come and see.”

Epiphany is about making Jesus known to the world.  This is more than having a title to stick on him.  If we are to make Jesus known, we must know him too.  How do we do this?  We take him up on his invitation, “Come and see.”


AHA! Matthew 3:13-17

Every so often we all get those “AHA” moments.  All of a sudden we get it.  What seemed beyond comprehension, we now understand.  What we couldn’t recognize has now become obvious.  These times when the light bulb goes on we call an epiphany.  In the church, this is the season called ‘Epiphany.’  The readings assigned are to help us have one of those “AHA” moments about Jesus.  The reading for this Sunday is the baptism of Jesus.

The first couple chapters of Matthew have given us some background with a genealogy, Joseph’s struggling with the news of Mary’s pregnancy, the Magi, Herod’s desire to kill the baby Jesus and the family fleeing to Egypt for refuge.  Now with the adult Jesus being baptized by John at the Jordan river we read Jesus’ first words, “…it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.”

Righteousness is a relationship word. The word carries with it the understanding of fidelity and promise keeping.  If we call a relationship “right”, it is because falsehood has not found a place.  So when Jesus was baptized by John (a baptism in preparation for welcoming the coming of God’s reign), righteousness was being fulfilled.  God was keeping the promise of establishing his reign over a rebellious world.  God was bringing salvation from darkness.  As Jesus came out of the water, the Holy Spirit descended like a dove with a heavenly voice saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”  These words were for the bystanders and for us to have that “AHA” moment.

The search continues to find the savior bringing us salvation.  We look to business leaders, celebrities and politics but they don’t bring God’s righteousness.  So often we are left with those serving only their own interests or who leave us in the darkness of our greed, animosity, division and struggle for power.  This is not salvation.  Righteousness is not experienced.

The companion verses from Isaiah 42:1-9 has God declaring his servant…in whom God delights…on whom the Spirit will rest.  This chosen servant of God will not be a braggart or crush the life of someone barely holding on to life.  He will bring justice (another relationship word).  He will be a light: for the nations to recognize the darkness…for us in our blindness…to bring freedom to those in the prison of darkness.  Upon this one alone will God’s glory reside.  Upon this chosen one, God’s righteousness toward us is fulfilled.

Jesus was baptized by John and as he came out of the water the Holy Spirit like a dove descended on him.  And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”