“All your sons shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the prosperity of your sons.” Isaiah liv, 13.
The world looks at Christians and at the Church of Jesus Christ in a proud, condescending manner. It’s as if the Church is living at the world’s mercy, occupying much need space, and wasting resources on frivolous unearthly pursuits. In the eyes of God, the Church is glorious and resplendent.
A couple of millennia ago, the nation of Israelites, looked down upon the rest of the world as pagans who did not deserve God’s mercy. When Jesus Christ arrived, He revealed God’s glorious purposes for the entire world. God saved us – believing Gentiles along with believing Jews – to form one glorious body. God looks at the Church with love and exclaims: “In overflowing wrath for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you … my steadfast love shall not depart from you” (v. 8, 10).
And then the LORD declares the glories of His church: “O afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires. I will make your pinnacles of agate, your gates of carbuncles, and all your wall of precious stones.” (v. 11-12). These verses should remind us of Revelation’s heavenly New Jerusalem that descended from heaven to earth. It’s twelve foundations and twelve pearly gates are named after the twelve apostles of Christ. It’s a pity that the world cannot see us as a glorious entity.
The glory of the Church – that includes the glory of each member – is not an imaginary thing such as the “Emperor’s new clothes.” Indeed the world cannot see it. Many a times, church members too can’t perceive it. We need to “go home” to be with the Lord to see the full glory that God shares with us. But during our earthly pilgrimage, these blessings are evident in more than one way. The Lord says, “All your sons shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the prosperity of your sons.” What more can we ask for? These blessings are to be experienced here and now. Prosperity is also rendered as “well-being” and “peace” in variant versions.
As an individual or as a group of Christian disciples, whatever be our material or earthly circumstance, we have a right to experience godly peace and well-being. This prosperity is not the absence of conflict or adversity. On the other hand, it is God’s shalom that reigns in our hearts in the midst of all that we endure on earth for Christ’s sake.