I had the privilege of preaching at our church again this morning in the absence of our pastor. We delved into Isaiah 43:18-19. Here’s the text:
I’m not going to re-hash the whole sermon (I plan on posting the video to my blog sometime this week), but I do want to explain something a little more in depth than time permitted this morning. Let’s take a deeper look at the language for “a way in the wilderness.”
This past week, we took the boys to see Tron Legacy on Christmas Day. It was a pretty neat movie, and no, I didn’t see “the original one.” Apparently, or so I’m frequently told, I’m missing out. In any case, there is a really intense action scene close to the beginning of the movie. Ethan and Aaron (my boys) were just glued to the screen. The action sequence was building and building, as they often do, and the music was getting louder and louder… Then… BOOM! The action stopped with a bang! And Aaron, 4 years old and never one to keep his thoughts to himself, pierced the silence in the theater as he screamed out, “THAT WAS AWESOME!!!”
Well, that’s how I felt when I was studying for my sermon this past week. At one point, when the proverbial “lightbulb” *dinged* in my head, I just wanted to shout out, “THIS IS AWESOME!!!” In fact, I did immediately tell Vanessa (my wife) what I had just discovered because it was so amazing to me. Either she was interested as well, or she is getting good at faking excitement when I spout out some crazy theological truth I discover… the world may never know.
If you’ve heard the sermon, you can skip this next section.
The Hebrew word Isaiah uses for “way” is derek. Our English word “way” is an abstract, intangible concept. But the Hebrew word derek is very concrete. It literally is translated, “road” or “pathway.” That’s important because a road, when traveled, will get you from Point A to Point B.
Fast-forward 700 years to Jesus in John 14:6. He describes Himself as the “way,” the truth and the life. I made the claim that Jesus uses the same word in John 14:6 that Isaiah uses in Isaiah 43.
Okay, sermon listeners, jump back in here.
The problem is that we all know the New Testament was written in Greek, and the Old Testament in Hebrew. How could Jesus possibly have used the same word as Isaiah? This is where I explain my “lightbulb” experience…
During the Intertestamental Period (the period between the last book of the Old Testament and the story of Jesus, which amounts to some 400-something years), the city of Alexandria and the Greek language/lifestyle greatly influenced the entire world, including the Jewish people. Jewish scribes decided to translate the Hebrew Old Testament into classical Greek, since that was the language most commonly spoken among the people. It was the first Bible translation ever! It is called the “Septuagint” (most likely abbreviated as “LXX” in your bible notes).
Jesus’ word in John 14:6 that we translate “way,” is the Greek word odos. If you looked back into the Septuagint at Isaiah 43:19, you would see that the Hebrew word derek (most likely translated as “way” in your English Bible) is translated as odos in the Greek Septuagint.
WHAT’S THE POINT??? – Jesus was saying to the Israelite people, “Look, God promised you that He was making a way… I’m telling you, I am that way. There is no other.” The challenge in the passage is the difficult question, “Will you not see it?” Will you be so caught up in your past, whether victorious or disastrous, that you won’t see what God is doing in your life right now?
Grace and Peace,