Jeremiah tends to be a prophet of judgement and punishment; a prophet of lament. In this passage, while still in exile, we hear the voice of hope.
Here is the Easter gospel as sung by Jeremiah hundreds of years before Jesus. “Grace in the desert” and “eternal love”, “building” and “planting” and a return to “Zion”. For a people in exile it must have sounded like resurrection. In the middle of all this hope we find a beautiful description of the resurrection: “I have continued my faithfulness to you”. The Hebrew word for ‘continued’ is mashak, which literally means ‘draw’, you could translate ‘draw out’ or ‘proceed’ or ‘prolong’. Faithfulness (hesed) can also be ‘friendship’ or ‘graciousness’ or ‘loving kindness’. God’s faithfulness crosses all the boundaries. It goes into the desert, it does not retreat in the face of sin and ultimately it proceeds into death. In the resurrection God prolongs his friendship into and through death. It is God’s loving kindness that draws Jesus out of death. God’s friendship does not stop it continues against all the odds, it is eternal love that is stronger than death.
16 April 2017