Coming with a Vengeance

Readings: Psalm 126; Isaiah 35:3-7; Luke 7:18-20

Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees.

Say to those who are of a fearful heart,

“Be strong, do not fear!

Here is your God. He will come with a vengeance,

with terrible recompense.

He will come and save you.”

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,

and the ears of the deaf unstopped;

then the lame shall leap like a deer,

and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.

For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert;

the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water;

the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp, the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

Isaiah 35:3-7, NRSV

The disciples of John reported all these things to him.

So John summoned two of his disciples and sent them

to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who is to come,

or are we to wait for another?”

When the men had come to him , they said, “John the

Baptist has sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who

is to come, or are we to wait for another?’? Jesus had just

then cured many people of diseases, plagues, and evil

spirits, and had given sight to many who were blind.  And

he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen

and heard – the blind receive their sight, the lame walk,

the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised,

and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed

is anyone who takes no offense at me.”

Luke  7:18-23, NRSV

The coming of the Lord, even the coming with a vengeance, isn’t marked by destruction or injury. Instead, it will be recognized by the good it does to those who need it most. We are cured of our blindness and our inability to hear the voices of those around us. The fear that paralyzes us is taken away, and we leap for joy. What was dry and incapable of supporting life offers refreshing water. Our world becomes hospitable.

John sends two of his own to Jesus, asking if he is the one. Jesus doesn’t try to impress them with pyrotechnics and loud noises. Instead, he tells them to use their eyes to see the life he restores for those who need it most – because the true vengeance of the Lord creates a hospitable world.

Good Lord, restore my sight and unstop my ears that I might see your face and hear your voice. Amen.

Published by

Johnna

I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

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