Saints of Old & Saints Today

Matthew 5:17-24

Who’s really Great in God’s Kingdom? – a real Saint!

Jesus: “Change your way of thinking, for the kingdom of heaven has come near!” Thinking about Saint Patrick’s day. Also about the growth of faith in Jesus in Asia, Africa, etc. The distinctive forms of churches, music, organization, architecture.

Is St. Patrick a saint? In what sense? Someone canonized? Someone great in Christianity? What does that mean? The word “saints” is used in many NT translations. What does it mean? “Holy” (hagios)! Is that some special achievement in religion? Martyrdom?

Jesus and the Law and the Prophets

Many in Jesus time wanted to be God’s “holy people.” Most movements wanted to create a purified people. Especially the Pharisees with Teachers of Law, famous for rigorous obedience to Torah. They condemned Jesus’ lack of rigor – “tax collectors & sinners.”

The Lord’s Servant and Light for the World

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Isaiah 42:1-10, 49:1-6, 50:4-9

Isaiah, Exile, and a New Vision for Israel and the World

We’re focusing on Isa 40-55, but in scripture it is part of a large book spanning centuries. Israel as independent kingdom protected by God. Jeremiah, that’s past, God’s judgment by Babylon. Now a people in exile, looking forward to Cyrus of Persia, God’s chosen agent for this moment.

Who are we? What is happening, coming? Son of David bearing God’s Spirit (Is 11:1-2, 61:1-2). Son of Man = saints of the Most High receive kingdom but suffer defeat (Dan 7:13-14, 18-22)

Servant of Yahweh in Isa becomes a central focus for revelation, reflection, anticipation of the new. The Servant is Israel as a whole (Is 41), object of God’s pleasure, receives God’s Spirit. How? No longer a warring nation but healing, caring servant, uncrushed, bringing justice to nations. How?

Vision of God: Creator of earth and all people. Servant is God’s agent for covenant, new creation: Light to the nations. Healing blindness, prisoners in darkness. This is God’s glory, true God, not idols. New Event brings a New Song from ends of the earth. All peoples are called to the One God.

The Servant Sings to the World: Is 49:1-6; 50:4-9