Jesus Came on Purpose
16Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters,
17who brings forth chariot and horse, army and warrior; they lie down, they cannot rise, they are extinguished, quenched like a wick:
18“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.
19Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
20The wild beasts will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches, for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people,
21the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.
One of the great questions that arises for every person is “why am I here?” We seem to be born with an innate knowledge that we are here for a purpose. We must be here for a reason. The easy answer is that yes, you are here for a purpose. But discovering that purpose can be a challenge. I believe most people are not willing to put in the thought that it takes to discover that purpose. For the Christian, we know that our general purpose is to live to the glory of God. But our individual purpose goes even deeper than that. While our studies this week are not specifically designed to help you discern your own purpose, I pray that you will give some thought to that concept if you haven’t already done that hard work.
We know that Jesus was never in doubt of His own purpose. Yes, He too was here to bring glory to God, as He articulates on numerous occasions. But He was also here for a very specific purpose; one that only He could fulfill and that was the salvation of mankind from the bondage of sin. Sin separates us from our Creator and severs our tie to an eternity spent with Him. Jesus’ sacrifice bought us back from the abyss of eternal death. His purpose was indeed terrifying and glorious all at the same time.
The prophet Isaiah helps us realize that God had a plan for our salvation from the very beginning. This plan was not born when Adam and Eve rebelled against God and chose sin over His love. No, God’s plan began even before that, before the foundations of the world. And when Isaiah says Behold, I am doing a new thing, he is serving as God’s voice of prophecy. God had a plan already in action and that was the sending of His Son into the world.
Inside of these verses, we find an admonition. Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. These words are a call for the community to loosen its hold on the way things were and to expect something new.
In 43:14–21, Isaiah invites his audience both to remember the exodus and to forget the exodus, “that is, to remember the story in a new way.” The prophet maintains that Yahweh is about to do it all over again, only this time it will not be Egypt, but Babylon who stands to lose. Isaiah is not the only prophet who employs exodus terminology and theology, but he alone elevates it to its highest point in the OT. The exodus from Egypt is so central to Isaiah 40–55 that “an arch which spans the nation’s entire history has as its one pillar the release from Egypt and as its other the new, imminent release from Babylon.” The exodus was not just a one-time historical event, but it also became a pattern for Yahweh’s future acts of deliverance. His power over the desert during the time of Moses when manna, quail, and water nourished Israel is also repeatable.
Lessing, R. R. ©2011. Isaiah 40–55. (p. 307). Saint Louis, MO: CPH.
In the grand scheme of the Bible, we find that God frees His people from Slavery in Egypt, then from Slavery in Babylon, and finally, Slavery to Sin.
The former things are older prophecies that had been fulfilled already by the time of Isaiah. God is not commanding Israel to have historical amnesia about the exodus redemption through the Red Sea. Rather, “those are among the events from the past that Jacob-Israel must simultaneously forget (because of the importance of the new event that is coming) and remember (because they provide the basis for knowing Yhwh can bring about this new event).”
Lessing, R. R. ©2011. Isaiah 40–55. (p. 301). Saint Louis, MO: CPH.
The testimony of the Old Testament is never about Israel’s faithfulness, but rather about Yahweh’s. Scripture testifies to his love, not his people’s. This breathtaking mercy is articulated in Romans 5:8: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” As we look upon Palm Sunday, we find that the Lord Jesus is resolute in His path to Jerusalem. He knows what will happen when He get there, and He knows exactly why He is doing it. His purpose is solidly before Him.