Message notes on a sermon by Pastor Ewings based on Isaiah 44:1-5
We have been marked by many different things in our lives. For some of us, we’ve had visible, identifying birthmarks on our bodies since the day we made an appearance into this world. For others, it took a little bit more time but, eventually, many marks marred us. Our own bodies have been battered and bruised and some of these incidences, like ink, have left a lasting mark on our flesh. Scrapes and scratches have become scars on our skin. Some try to cover these up with clothes or makeup. Others will undergo surgery to try and make things look better. But some marks simply can’t be removed.
What’s even more frightening is to take a look at the marks that go deeper than the skin. Our souls have been scarred over time as well. Sin has left its mark on our bodies and no clothes or makeup or plastic surgery can cover it up. Like a tattoo boldly emblazoned on a body our souls bear a single, brazen word: SINNER. You are marked and you can’t remove this identity on your own.
The children of Israel found themselves in a similar situation. Marked by shame and scorn as rejects in their world—exiles from their homeland and outcasts in their new land—it seemed that they didn’t have a whole lot going for them. Worse yet, they were marked in the same way with that awful word.; they, too, were sinners with indelible marks left on their souls. That’s why God gave them the titles that He did.
The name “Jeshurun” appears in our text today. This title is linked with the verb “to be straight, upright.” Jeshurun is parallel with Jacob in verse 2 of our text from Isaiah today. “Jacob” means “deceiver,” “liar,” or “trickster.” This suggests that God’s people are, at the same time, both saints (Jeshurun) and sinners (Jacob); we are both upright and crooked. Those marked by sin were likewise marked for salvation.
The Lord took note of this sad situation and got some skin in the game. By sending Jesus, the Son of God, a new identity is forged for us: “belonging to the Lord.” He was marked to be our sacrifice, marked to bear the dreadful load of our sin, marked to become a curse, marked to be our Savior. Jesus has born the stigma of our sin in His body and given us a bold, new identity: we are the Lord’s!
Lesson 1: Isaiah 44:1-5
Lesson 2: Hebrews 4:14-5:6
Gospel: Matthew 9:9-13