Good References

Isaiah 42:1 “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight. I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations.”

Before I let someone work on my house, my car, or my body, I like to get some good references first. I don’t let just anyone mess with the most valuable things I have. Before you can get a job somewhere, they may ask to see a list of references. Even the most menial tasks can have a profound effect on the business. Do you want a person with questionable integrity running the cash register? Would you want someone with a habit of making offensive comments interacting with your customers? That sounds like a recipe for disaster.

Should we let just anyone be responsible for the care and maintenance of our eternal souls? I know that the politically correct position today is to put all religions and all their takes on God on more or less the same footing. Actor Morgan Freeman hosted a six-week series for National Geographic Channel called The Story of God. It explored the answers that major world religions and several different Christian denominations give to searching spiritual questions. The take away seems to be, according to Freeman, that “all religions and beliefs share remarkable similarities.” “We should celebrate them rather than let them cause rifts between us.”

I think we can agree with Mr. Freeman that there are large areas of similar beliefs about morals within the various religions. If only the followers of those religions, including our own, would take putting them into practice more seriously. We can also agree that people of every faith, or no faith at all, should be treated with dignity and kindness. Different beliefs do not justify violence. Jesus went so far as to tell us, “Love your enemies.”

But we would be sadly mistaken to conclude that we can thus pick out a faith with our eyes blindfolded, and it won’t make any meaningful difference–they are all essentially the same. The pediatricians my wife and I fired and the one we kept may have been 90 percent, 95 percent, 98 percent the same in their training, medical knowledge, and skills. But we didn’t think for a moment that anything less than the good health, even the life, of our children hung in the balance in seeking to make the right choice. Infinitely more is at stake with the care of our souls.

Here is a good reference. You may want to pay close attention. “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations.” Does the first line sound vaguely familiar? Remember these words from Jesus’ baptism? “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” The first set of words, the ones from Isaiah, were spoken by God the Father about 700 B.C. The second set, from the book of Matthew, were spoken by God the Father 730 years later at Jesus’ baptism.

It is an outstanding reference from the highest and most trustworthy source. In each case the Lord and God of heaven is claiming this person as his very own, “my servant,” “my chosen one,” “my Son.” Anyone can recommend a guy. I’m less interested in the person someone heard about, “I hear that so-and-so is pretty good.” I am more interested in the person you know and use yourself. Jesus is the Servant, the Chosen One, the Son of God the Father claims as his very own.            

He gives him a five star rating: “My chosen one in whom I delight.” “My Son whom I love, with him I am well pleased.” The reviews from heaven are in. Jesus satisfies his Father’s demands in every way. He is his Father’s delight. That’s the Leader whose faith I want to follow. That’s the Savior I want to take care of my soul.

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