A Good Friday for the Outcast

“For my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” The Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares, “I will gather yet others to him besides those already gathered.” (Is. 56:7-8)

Today is Good Friday. It’s the day we celebrate Jesus’ death on the cross. It’s the day we remember his sacrifice for our sins. It’s the day we remind ourselves of how Christ made a way to be forgiven and accepted by the Father. These are incredible blessings that we should meditate on and praise God for. However, if all we celebrate on Good Friday is what God has done for us, we fail to see the full scope of Christ’s work on the cross.

Isaiah 56 anticipates the Lord’s salvation of his people. For several chapters, Isaiah has been describing the servant of the Lord who will come and take the sacrifice for God’s people. However, lest God’s people begin to think salvation ends with them, chapter 56 declares that God’s plan is to bring in not just the outcasts of Israel, but the outcasts of the whole world. He wants the “eunuch” and the “foreigner.”

These are people who would not even be allowed to enter the temple where God’s presence dwelt. They were viewed as unclean and unwanted. But, the glorious truth of this passage is that God has given the outcast of the world a, “monument and a name better than sons and daughters…an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.” (Is. 56:5) He will bring them to his mountain and give them joy. The marginalized of the world will be invited in as family of the king.

Jesus didn’t give his life simply to make a way for you and me alone. He gave his life to make a way for the world. He says, “I will gather yet others to him besides those already gathered.” (Is. 56:8) So, throughout this Easter, remember that Easter is not just a celebration. It’s a calling. It’s a calling to adopt God’s vision for those whom the world wants to reject. It is a calling to gather the outcast. It is a calling to invite those who do not look like, act like, or sound like us to come to Jesus because he has made a way for them. He has a name ready for them and a seat at the family table. Good Friday isn’t just good for us. It’s good for the world.

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