One of the options available to final year students on Redcliffe’s applied theology degree is a module called ‘Missional Texts: Isaiah’. As well as getting into contemporary scholarship on the book I encourage them to consider how ‘Bible and Mission’ scholars have engaged with Isaiah over the years.
Here’s an interesting quote from Robert Martin-Achard’s 1962 book, A Light to the Nations (Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd):
‘In preaching consolation to his brethren, Deutero-Isaiah is also declaring that their triumphant return testifies to the incomparable greatness of Yahweh. The miracle by which Israel lives extols its God’s greatness before the whole universe. The ultimate destiny of the world depends on the existence of Israel in the midst of the nations; in living by Yahweh the Chosen People lives for mankind. Such is the missionary outlook that emerges from the oracles of Deutero-Isaiah.‘ (his italics)
What struck me about this quote was the phrase, ‘in living by Yahweh the Chosen People lives for mankind‘. The issue of continuity and discontinuity between OT, NT and now is complex. But I think here we get a glimpse of the connection between the identity of God’s people in relation to the purpose of God’s people. We find our life in God so that we might serve the world by inviting them (implicitly or explicitly) to share in that life.
What do you think?