Suffering and Glory
Invite God to remind you of your sin and give you a right assessment of your worth as a human.
Read Isaiah 52:13-53:12
 See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.  Just as there were many who were appalled at him- his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness-  so he will sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand.  Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?  He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.  He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.  Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.  But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.  We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.  He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.  By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished.  He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.  Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.  After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.  Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat "pre-echoes" of Jesus do you see here?
This extraordinary passage is the heart of Isaiah’s prophecy. It describes the awesome mystery of God’s intervention in our dark and cruel world. The identity of the mysterious Servant, about whom Isaiah has told us so much, is here revealed. He was an ordinary man (2), treated with scorn (3), slaughtered like a lamb (7), though he had done nothing wrong (9). Can you see who it is? Of course you can. The Servant is Jesus. The path he takes from glory through voluntary suffering and back to glory is described beautifully by Paul in Philippians 2:5-11. Why did the Servant do this? He did it for you and me (5). Was I worth it? I don’t know how that equation works. And yet–here is the most remarkable transaction ever completed–after the Servant has suffered, God is satisfied (11). Thankfully our job is not to solve it like a puzzle, but to respond with humility and worship. It makes me want to sing: “Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were an offering far too small. Love so amazing, so divine demands my soul, my life, my all” (Isaac Watts, “When I Survey“).
Read Philippians 2:5-11. Picture in your mind all that Jesus gave up and endured for you. Worship him.
Lord Jesus, You gave up so much; You endured so very much for me. In gratitude, I want to give whatever I can to You.
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