Texts: John 12:1-8; Isaiah 43:16-21; Psalm 126
Speaker: Mark Rupp
“Do not remember the former things or consider the things of old.”
It is a strange command from a prophet who only moments before had wasted so much breath and spilled so much ink to remind the people about those former things, to recall their story of God liberating them from slavery and bringing them through the sea. This Exodus story looms large within the identity of the Israelite people. It is, in many ways, their founding story; it defines who they are. They remember, and re-remember, and consider, and reconsider this story through rituals and worship, not unlike we do in this space with our founding story of Christ.
The prophet invokes the story of the Exodus, claiming to speak for the God who brought the people through the sea and extinguished their enemies like a wick, so when he suddenly makes a u-turn and tells the people not to remember these former things, it would have come as a surprise. Rather than a denial of the importance of remembering, however, I see this line as a rhetorical device meant to get people’s attention, to make readers perk up...