. . . and heals the wounds he inflicted

The Bible readings for today are Isaiah 30.19–21, 23-26; Psalm 146.4-9; Matthew 9.35 – 10.1, 6-8.

I think perhaps we are less comfortable than is the Bible with the notion that God chastises God’s people. We are distinctly uncomfortable with the idea that God might become angry with human waywardness and act against us (yet, for our own good). The prophets make no bones about it: God strikes and restores, hurts and heals, brings darkness and light. The good news, of course, is that God pays attention to us at all, and that judgement is not God’s final word. As Abraham Heschel has it:

‘The word of God never comes to an end. For this reason, prophetic predictions are seldom final. No word is God’s final word. Judgement, far from being absolute, is conditional. A change in [human] conduct brings about a change in God’s judgement. . . God’s anger must not obscure His redeeming love.’ (Heschel, The Prophets, 194)

In Jesus, God’s redeeming love is supremely revealed. In Jesus, God turns again to lost sheep, heals their wounds and calls them home.

Turning to his disciples, Jesus charges them to do the same.

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