When Jesus was first brought to my attention as a college student, at Miami University (OH), in 1972, it was through a late-night conversation with John, who lived down the hall, who constantly studied, and who eventually married Connie, became a doctor, they had three children (like us) and moved to Arizona (like us). Like you, John reads these letters and prays.
Another friend who intrigued me in that turnaround year of 1972 was a hippie, who, I think, didn’t study at all, may have dropped out of college, and if he ever became a doctor and had a family, it was by the grace of God. But hippies were still around in 1972, and this one was vintage counter-culture; factor in Jesus, who had saved him from a life of drugs. I remember that he vaguely wanted to “change the world,” as was the cry of many at the time. He was a crusader for social justice. So, I still think of him, in times like these.
Lately, I’ve been teaching my discipleship group of 4 men (one Chinese, one Japanese, and two Korean) about the Messianic prophecies that were written about Jesus. Some of them connect Messiah and social justice. Taken as a whole, the prophecies are quite remarkable: Old Testament motifs; patterns in the lives of mysterious characters like Melchizedek, Jonah and Boaz; and some just dead-on predictions that match up with Jesus of Nazareth, descendant of David, born in Bethlehem, the Righteous Branch, according to Jeremiah; destined to “put an end to sin and to atone for iniquity,” right around 30 AD, according to Daniel. Isaiah is called “the Christ-prophet” because of his many foretellings of the Messiah, especially those that depict the Suffering Servant (Isa. 52:14-53:12). During the recent social unrest, I gave the guys these words from Isaiah about “the Chosen Servant:”
Behold my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen one, in whom my soul delights;
I will endow him with my Spirit;
He will bring forth justice to the nations.
He will not shout or strain his voice,
Or make it heard in the street.
A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness, he will bring forth justice.
He will not grow faint or be discouraged
Till he leads justice to victory;
In his name, the nations will put their hope.
(Isaiah 42:1-5 / Matt. 12:18-21)
The Bible’s prophecies comfort me – and they excite me. I’m trying to show Haeyong, “Andy,” Jinbin and Motomu these threads that tie together not only Old and New Testaments, but also fill out our picture of Jesus. Ultimately, the same Bible, in both Testaments, tells that this Jesus who came … will come again, in glory. Thus, we invest in the present day, with hope unshakeable!
Family News: The virus keeps us zoom-chatting more than hugging grandchildren. This is no fun. But all are well. … Arizona is blazing hot this time of year. No good scenarios. Wildfires might be quenched by a cloudburst – but then we have floods. “Dry” heat is small comfort.
Ministry Prayer: Virus, politics and economics all conspire to reduce the number of foreign students coming to the U.S. to study this fall. We need wisdom, creativity and faith as we plan.
Bob and Barb Thompson