“Who has believed what we have heard?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
~Isaiah 53:1 (NRSV)
Comprehensively the most important revelation of life is that of God—of the Divine Being making himself known, in and through the Holy Spirit through salvation by Jesus of Nazareth—the path to the Father.
The difference between those that God makes himself known to, by their openness to truth and Spirituality, and those whom he doesn’t is a great mystery. Certainly those who expect something miraculously magnificent in God, as an everyday experience, are looking for the wrong things. God works miracles all the time, but the Lord’s not revealed that way, mostly. But the matter of revelation does appear miraculous as we’re personally concerned—once it’s happened; because it transforms us.
This is why Isaiah’s suffering servant takes much of the world by surprise. Even those who would later believe did not expect such a humble Saviour. Can saviours be humble? Well, God’s Saviour of the world was, and is.
Belief Relies On Revelation
We could not believe unless something had previously been revealed to us.
Even if we were to take our curiosity and invest it upon some search, a line of intrigued ethereal enquiry, regarding the Divine Being, we’d have to have had something insert that curiosity into us. Beyond any notions of predestination, belief does rely on Revelation. We do need some reason, something rational to us, to believe.
In many ways this makes the subject of God rather academic. If a hunger for God’s truth hasn’t filled us, we might ask why. If someone’s been hounding us about the Gospel for months or years and there’s been no additional reason to believe installed within our inner values and reflections then, chances are, God’s left himself as a secret for us to be discovered—but only if we pursue it. And most don’t. Perhaps it’s apathy. Maybe there’s no felt reason.
Scrutinising A Secret
Almost nobody perceptibly opens themselves to belief in a ‘strange’ thing—and the Gospel is strange to a non-believer—without having some cogent logic leading them to follow.
As believers, we take the facts of our belief too much for granted, thinking that it’s a simple thing to believe in everything Gospel-related. We forget the incredible human urge of independence; to not be dependent on anything or anyone. We forget how different the Gospel way of living is from normal life; our jargon changes, as do our practices, speech, and living arrangements. We change. What we think was easy only became easy upon the heights of Revelation.
We forget that none of us scrutinises anything without reason. This explains why we marvel at the things others do, as if, ‘How could he or she do something so boring, nonsensical, unprovable, or submissive?’
For someone to scrutinise a secret, which in this case is the Gospel message, requires some semblance of interest. Sometimes the interest may result from a longer-term investment of curiosity, but mostly it occurs beyond personal explanation—the revelation of God.
The Revelation of God in image form—a humble Saviour—Isaiah’s suffering servant—is far from what we initially expect. God is revealed in surprising ways and we can only respond to what is made known to us. Pray that the Lord will be revealed today.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.