Here we have a wonderful opportunity to preach on Isaiah’s second Servant Song (the others are 42:1-7; 50:4-9; 52:13-53:12) for Epiphany 2. The image we are going to use for this homiletical help will focus on the womb and on the birth of the Messiah (Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 7:14; Micah 5:2; Psalm 22:10). Homiletically we can set up the Gospel by first speaking about our experience in the world as a womb-like experience, and then we will connect this to how Christ is the One who came into the world, from a womb, to safely bring us to Heaven (Colossian 1:15,18; Romans 8:29).
Notice how our experience of the world is much like that of a baby in the womb. Think about it. A baby in the womb reasons its entire world is the womb. It does not even comprehend, nor could it fathom what the outside world is. You could even tell the baby while it is in the womb about everything that is out in the world, but it would sound like the noise the parents make on the old Charlie Brown Christmas Special (‘Mwa-Mwa-Mwa’). But have you also considered this: A baby in the womb has not yet begun to live and move in the way God designed them to be. Their eyes are not yet seeing in the manner for which they were designed. Their lungs are not yet breathing the air they were created to breathe. They have not yet begun to move in the way they were made to. But there is a day, a difficult day, a dark day, a scary day, when doctors and nurses are gathered around. On that day, the baby moves from the womb to the world and then they really get to live as God intended.
Our spiritual experience of this life is also much like that of a baby in the womb. Before Christ, we live in the world, and we think this is all there is. But God’s Word tells us there is this whole other place called Heaven. We cannot understand what that means, and we cannot begin to fathom what it will look like. Again, God’s Word sounds as confused and garbled as Charlie Brown’s mom (‘Mwa-Mwa-Mwa’), just noise and not very clear. Before Christ, we were pretty comfortable in the womb, and that would have been enough for us. But then the time comes, and we hear about that day, the difficult day, the dark day, the scary day, when soldiers and mockers gathered around Jesus. The day Jesus died on the cross. When the Holy Spirit works by creating faith in our hearts we begin to move from this world of death and sin to the new life of a Christian by faith. Then, when we hear that three days later Jesus was delivered through the tomb, we move into the light of the world of faith, and we believe. All that used to sound like garbled confusion from the Word of God is now made clear, by faith alone, in Christ alone. Our eyes by faith now see the world as God made it. Our lips can now sing the praise they were designed to sing. We begin to move in acts of service toward our neighbor as God intended. What a glorious thing to be born of God by faith on account of Christ.
What a glorious thing to be born of God by faith on account of Christ.
But that is not all, is it? No, we still live in this world, as a child of God, but much like a womb still, because there is Heaven to wait for. We see the world as God intended, but we are still waiting to enter Heaven. So, our experience of being born-again in Christ by faith will also experience another birth by being born into Heaven forever with God and the whole family of God which we long to see. Because, you see, there will be another day for us, a scary day, a dark day where, yes, doctors and nurses will be gathered around. On that day, we will pass from this world into eternity. But on that day, we do not need to be afraid. Why? Because Christ is our midwife! He will safely birth us from this world, which is like a womb, into Heaven itself. On that day we will truly see the creation as it was made to be, restored and perfect in eternity forever. There we will meet our family of faith and we will see Christ face to face. He is such a good deliverer!
The reason He is such a good deliverer is He has already gone the way we have to go, from death to life. He has already gone from the womb, to the grave, and alive again in Heaven forever. He is a good deliverer because He knows the way. In fact, He is the Way (John 14:6). There is no other deliverer who can safely bring you into Heaven.
Isaiah 49, the second Servant Song, uses the experience of being in the womb to talk about Israel’s life with God, but then it takes a turn in verse 5 to add a dimension which changes everything. The One, called Israel in verse 3, is to bring Israel back to the Lord, which means the Servant is not the nation of Israel, but one who is representing the nation for the restoration. In much the same way, Adam, though one man, is also representative of the whole human race (Romans 5:12; 1 Corinthians 15:45). So, Jesus is the same Israel/Adam reduced down to one man. In Baptism we are born again (John 3:5-7) but only through His death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6:1-10). Jesus has made the way for us because the prophet Isaiah has made it clear “the Lord called Me from the womb, from the body of My mother He named My name (49:1)” and His name is Jesus (Matthew 1:21-23).
If we would have tried to deliver ourselves, we would agree with Isaiah that we “have labored in vain; we have spent our strength for nothing and vanity” (49:4). So, God in mercy and in the fullness of time... sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the Law, to redeem those who were under the Law, so we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” (Galatians 4:4-6) and with that we can say with Isaiah, “Surely my right is with the Lord, and my recompense with my God” (49:4). It was not “too light a thing” (49:6) for Jesus to bring forth this great salvation, this great deliverance for us. In fact, Jesus says, “I am the Light of the world” (John 8:12), because His whole mission was to bring this new life to light by His incarnation, ministry, death, and resurrection. He is the only qualified deliverer who was promised, sent, delivered, and stands forever for you.
Craft of Preaching-Check out our previous articles on Isaiah 49:1-7.
Concordia Theology-Various helps from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO to assist you in preaching Isaiah 49:1-7.
Text Week-A treasury of resources from various traditions to help you preach Isaiah 49:1-7.