Reading Time: 3 mins

What a feast!

Reading Time: 3 mins

This feast is the Gospel, “the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.”

Isaiah gives us a description of a great feast here. But before we talk about the feast itself, we must ask, “Who’s this feast for? Is Isaiah talking just to Israel here?” At first, it might seem this feast is just for God’s Old Testament people. These verses come right after a section that talks about the defeat of Israel’s enemies, and it’s set on God’s Holy Mountain, the city of Jerusalem.  

But there’s something bigger going on here.  Notice: Four times it says these promises are for all people, not just Israel. Remember also in the Old Testament words like “Jerusalem,” “Zion,” or “God’s Holy Mountain” are often names for the church. So, what’s going on here?  The children of Israel would see the fulfillment of Isaiah’s words … but only in part. The ultimate fulfillment can only come with the Messiah and his work for all people.

Now that we know the Lord is speaking these words of promise to us too, we can take a look at the great feast of blessings in these verses. The Lord tells us about the great banquet he’s preparing. “On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine—the best of meats and the finest of wines.” What almost jumps off the page at you here? God gives the very best. The food is the finest food you could find, the best of the best! These are the choicest cuts of meat, roasted on the bone, full of flavor, dripping juices and marrow. This is wine with age on it, the finest vintage, kept and treasured, saved for a special occasion. And now he brings it out to share with you and me.

God gives the very best.

One other small but significant detail at this feast we don’t want to overlook: the guests don’t contribute a thing. It’s all offered as a gift. For you, it’s all free for nothing! We could certainly talk about physical blessings, but these words are really about the spiritual feast the Lord provides. This feast is the Gospel, “the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.” If God had only given us the daily bread of a few promises, a couple of memorable ones like Romans 1:16-17 or John 3:16, that would have been more than enough to keep us going. But then in his Word, he serves us morsel after choice morsel as promise upon promise, picture upon picture, grace upon grace, pour forth; each one is a feast for the soul. And then, God offers sacraments too. Baptism and Holy Communion each carry the promise of total forgiveness in Jesus, and each one only adds to the certainty of our salvation.

One other small but significant detail at this feast we don’t want to overlook- the guests don’t contribute a thing. It’s all offered as a gift.

The feast the Lord promised here in Isaiah has a very specific purpose and message. It is a feast of victory. It celebrates the defeat of a terrible foe. There’s an enemy that people of every culture, race, and nation have to face. It’s the wage our sin has earned. This enemy is death, and no one can escape the web it weaves around its prey to prevent any from escaping. Its claim on us is sound, and it should have no trouble collecting its prize: you and me!

This feast is the Gospel, “the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes."

But then the cry rings out: “On this mountain [the Lord] will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever.” Victory belongs to the Lord, not death; he utterly destroys death. He completely consumes it and swallows it up. This victory is total, absolute, and eternal. How can that be?  How did he cut the web?  How can he free us from death’s icy sting? 

Victory belongs to the Lord, not death; he utterly destroys death. He completely consumes it and swallows it up. This victory is total, absolute, and eternal.

Paul tells you exactly how when he quotes this verse in 1 Corinthians, “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’” Jesus brings victory over death.  He removed death’s claim by paying its sin-worked wages himself at the cross.  By removing sin, he also destroyed death’s power. He proved it when he rose on Easter. So, the great enemy that has plagued all people since Eden was finally crushed, defanged, and destroyed.

Although we no longer need to fear death, grief and the grave remain. We still see tears and loss in our lives. But the feast of blessings continues in spite of them, maybe it would be better to say it continues TO SPITE them. You noticed what the Lord promises next, right? Tears will not always be your lot; their day will end! “The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth.  The LORD has spoken.”

There will come a day when all such things will pass entirely away. Sorrow and sadness will be gone. Every hardship or ridicule we have faced will end, and the cross we have carried for so long will become a crown of glory. On that day when faith becomes sight and hope reality, we join our Lord Jesus in heaven. But even now, cheeks start to dry when we think of that day and consider those promises and remember it is the LORD who made them, the one who always keeps his promises. Cling to those promises. Hold them up to the LORD, and hold him to it with confidence. Remember: “The LORD has spoken.” Amen.