Freedom now.

Isaiah was the most treasured prophet of Israel. And probably of Jesus. For Israel because it was hopeful. For Jesus because it was personal.

On Sunday, on the feast of the Baptism of Jesus, we read words that talk about Jesus and offer hope. Isaiah spoke these words from God to his people.

As Peter talked to Cornelius that day (see yesterday’s post), telling the story of Jesus from baptism to resurrection to belief to baptism, these words from Isaiah were in the background for almost everyone in the room. Peter pointed to them when he talked about the prophets. Peter may have realized that he was a light to the gentiles that day.

“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness;
    I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
    to be a covenant for the people
    and a light for the Gentiles,
to open eyes that are blind,
    to free captives from prison
    and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.”

Freedom is a pretty remarkable thing. Freedom from feeling guilty, freedom from captive, freedom from darkness. Three weeks ago, at Christmas, we were talking about the shepherds. The angels appeared to them talked about good news of great joy which would be to all people. Jesus grew up, was baptized and began to preach and teach, to suffer and die and rise again, to be the means of that good news of great joy to all people.

Cornelius and his household were baptized as the beginning of that good news of great joy to all people. The photo album of the family of faith includes that picture.

And then comes to us. We are part of that family. We have that forgiveness. We can know that freedom.

For many of us in the hospital, the freedom we want is to be physically out of the hospital. To be out of our illness, out of our pain, out of our fear.

But what I know from countless conversations is that we want to be better for reasons. So that we can make up for mistakes. So that we can have more time with people to tell them we love them. So that we can finish unfinished business. So that we can make up for lost time.

What I also know from countless conversations is that we are better off is we don’t wait until we are physically well. We can start to live with forgiveness now. We can start to tell people we love them now. We can talk with God now.

So let’s do that.