Isaiah 65 is the alternate reading for Easter or the pitch hitter for Acts 10. No offense to Luke but given the choice I think even Jesus would choose Isaiah. Granted he never read Acts but he did choose Isaiah 61 as the text for his first sermon in Nazareth, even if it did end badly (they tried to throw him off a cliff). His faithfulness brings forth the justice of Isaiah 42. He is light for the Gentiles as he gathers Israel in Isaiah 49. In Isaiah 50 he has been given the tongue of the teacher to sustain the weary. He is the servant described in Isaiah 53; a man familiar with suffering and aquatinted with grief by whose stripes we are healed. And so given the choice I’m going with Isaiah 65. That’s not only a liturgical decision but a choice of what future informs our present. Is that future a rerun of the old or is it something so new the old cannot even be recalled? All I know is that when I think of the alternate vision where few are taken and the vast majority is left behind, where a personal relationship with Jesus is a password to paradise and everyone else can go to hell it feels a lot like the world I live in today. I want God’s future to be more than that and when I read Isaiah I get a sense that we’ll all be surprised. But how can we say that given all the Biblical evidence to the contrary? We can’t, but we can hope. That’s all. A hope that even though it seemed to end badly for Jesus when God made a choice to do something different on a Friday we call Good it really was a brand new thing.