Advent 2017

Second Monday of Advent - December 11th

Is 35: 1-10 // Ps 85: 9-14 // Lk 5: 17-26

“Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other.”  We read these words in one of Scripture’s most passionate pleas for revival, Psalm 85. But what is revival? It probably sounds synonymous with refreshment—a clearing of the air, a cleansing from distractions. I think Isaiah offers us a vivid image in understanding the psalm.

In Isaiah 35 we read of the ransomed returning home, barren land transformed to fruitfulness, the sick and handicapped receiving full health, and the unclean coming to Zion, the LORD’s holy hill. What was once dead, barren, broken, and unfit becomes living, fertile, whole, and worthy. This is no temporary fix or pretty façade. What takes place here is nothing short of miraculous: an utter reversal of state impossible by human standards.

Thus when Jesus asks the doubting crowd in Luke, “Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk,’ their natural response would be that both are impossible. No mere human can forgive sins or restore a body with nothing more than the authority of their words. Jesus, however, invites us to believe in and seek a revival impossible with men, because He is in the business of miraculous forgiveness and restoration belonging to Him alone. Reflected in this poor man’s healing is the ultimate transformation from death to life—the ultimate revival by which the unworthy sinner is made whole and free to approach The Most High unashamedly. The righteousness of Jesus kisses the peace of God in a glorious union of divine and human. But it gets better—this revival is not particular to people alone. All of creation joins in the restoration, and becomes abundantly fruitful, reversing the work of the Fall, that people and nature might live together in harmony.

As we reflect on these mysterious visions, may we be filled with awe and glorify God for the extraordinary things we have seen today!

Hannah Rao
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences – Class of 2020