September 27 - The Suffering Servant
God’s revelation is progressive and we can see an example here in the Book of Isaiah. The progression from the three chapters we read is amazing, first setting forth the needs of the people, then a promise of future glory in the form of a good news, and after that the introduction of God’s plan to bring His rule on earth through the Suffering Servant.
God begins with comforting words for His people for they were under the threat of an oppressor and were in constant fear. He promises them restoration of the wilderness into the Garden of Eden with everlasting joy and gladness. In the next chapter, the heralds are brining in the good news of salvation and the rule of God in the world through Zion. Even the watchmen are raising their voices when they see the return of Jehovah to Zion. So the exiles are to leave their places of captivity and God will bring them back to their Promised Land.
Many can envision the defeat of God’s enemies and bring in the rule of God over the world, resulting in everlasting joy and glory. However, the path to glory has to go through suffering and death of the Servant of God, the Messiah. The Messianic 53rd chapter of Isaiah is a detailed prophecy about Christ’s suffering and death on the cross. God is not just dealing with the defeat of His enemy, He is concerned about the problem of sin in the world. He could have easily defeated Satan but He chose to do it through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, removing the sting of death that is sin.
God uses His life, the life of His Son to give life to humankind. He went through every human weakness in order to take our place on the cross. He suffered physically, emotionally and spiritually so He can identify with our human sufferings. He bore our griefs and carried our sorrows. He was wounded for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him and by His stripes we are healed. He poured out His life unto death, He numbered Himself with the transgressors and therefore bore the sin of many. He made intercession for the sinners on the cross and through that, the world can be redeemed.
When Paul exhorts the Ephesians to live their lives, he reminds them of the love of Christ on the cross. Christ’s sacrifice of His life is an example for us. Love is a giving of the self to others who do not deserve it. We do this not because of them but because we are offering ourselves as an offering to God, as an act of worship. Since we are God’s beloved we also have to love others and pass on the love of Christ to others. What do you think when you think of love? It is not a just feeling or a sentiment, it is a life-giving act for the sake of God for the lives of others. Are you ready to give yourself as Christ did? Is the love of Christ changing you today?
Ps 106:40-48 Isa 51:1-53:12 Eph 5:1-33 Prov 24:7