Monday, October 12, 2015, 12:00 noon – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Here is Your God.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 53 (NASB). Who Has Believed? (vv. 1-3) Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Jesus Christ, God the Son, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, left his home in heaven, came to earth, and was born as a baby, conceived of the Holy Spirit within the womb of a human mother. When he walked this earth, he was fully God yet fully man. Although he was God, yet he humbled himself by being made in human likeness and by taking upon himself the very nature of a servant (See: Phil. 2). As a man, he suffered just like we suffer, and he was tempted in like manner as we are also tempted, yet without sin. He healed the sick, raised the dead, comforted the sorrowful, cast out demons, and he performed many other miracles, too. He also preached repentance for the forgiveness of sins and for eternal life with God in heaven. He confronted sin in sinful humans, exposed the hypocrisy of the religious leaders of his day, and called people to turn from their sin and to follow him in obedience. He was not a smooth talker nor a charmer. He didn’t give out feel-good messages to tickle itching ears. Some people loved him and they followed him. The religious leaders hated him fiercely. They were jealous of him and of his popularity, too, and they feared that if many people believed him, and followed him, that it would serve as a threat to their own positions of power and influence over the people. So, they turned many of the people against him. They had him falsely arrested, given a mock trial, had him beaten, scourged, mocked, and spat upon, and then they hung him on a cross to die a painful death, although he had done no wrong. He was so badly beaten, in fact, that his appearance was greatly disfigured. During his earthly ministry, during his last 3+ years on this earth, he called to himself 12 disciples to follow him in ministry. They were his closest companions and friends. Yet, in his final hours on this earth, one of them betrayed him and handed him over to be arrested and killed. The others deserted him when he was arrested, and one of them vehemently denied him 3 times before he was reminded of Jesus’ words to him, and then he wept bitterly. At least one of them, John, stood at the cross with his mother in his final hours, yet Jesus was largely despised, rejected and forsaken by humans to whom he had come to bring salvation. He Himself Bore (vv. 4-6) Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. When Jesus died, our sins died with him. They were buried with him. When he was resurrected from the dead, he rose victorious over sin, hell, Satan and death. By his stripes we are healed! His purpose in dying on the cross for our sins was to set us free from the penalty of sin, which is eternal damnation, and to give us eternal life with God in glory, and the hope of heaven when we die, but that was not all. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave himself up for us. He died that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us who no longer conduct our lives according to our sinful flesh, but who walk after the Spirit. In other words, Jesus died that we might be delivered out of slavery to sin, so that we might become servants of his righteousness. He called us to be holy, i.e. to be set apart (unlike, different) from the world, and to be transformed into His likeness. By God’s grace to us in providing for us such a great salvation, through faith in Jesus Christ, we can be forgiven our sins, set free from bondage to sin, and in the power of the Spirit within us, we can walk in Christ’s righteousness and holiness. Yet, faith in Jesus Christ is more than an acknowledgment that we are sinners in need of a Savior, or a mere belief that Jesus Christ is indeed who he said he is, and that he has provided the way for us to be saved from sin and to have eternal life. When we believe in Jesus Christ, we die with Christ to sin and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24). Our lives are no longer our own to be lived how we want. We were bought with a price – the blood of Jesus shed on the cross for our sins. If we persist in conducting our lives according to our sinful flesh, we will die, but if by the Spirit we put to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live (See: Ro. 8:1-14). So, faith in Jesus is death to sin and living to righteousness, because Jesus paid it all so we could go free! By Oppression and Judgment (vv. 7-9) He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due? His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth. Some people like to quote this to infer that Jesus Christ never defended himself against his accusers, yet he did speak during his trial and he did speak to his own defense (see the Gospel of John’s account of his arrest and crucifixion), yet he knew when to remain silent and not speak, and he also acknowledged that what was happening to him had to take place in order for the scriptures to be fulfilled (See: Matt. 26:54, 56). In other words, he did not try to resist his accusers, which he could have, but he submitted himself to death on a cross, and he willingly died for our sins, because he loves us so much (See: Phil. 2). God’s Will (vv. 10-12) But the Lord was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand. As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities. Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors. It was God the Father’s will that Jesus Christ should go through all this suffering for you and for me, so that we might be saved. Although Jesus had no physical descendants, he has had spiritual descendants probably too numerous to count. Through Jesus’ earthly suffering, he was able to become our compassionate and merciful high priest, for he is able to sympathize with us in our weaknesses, for he also went through such trials and difficulties as what we are going through, yet he never sinned. Because he was without sin, he was able to be our perfect Lamb sacrifice to take away the sins of the world. As our priest, he has made intercession for us to God on our behalf via his blood shed on the cross for our sins. Thus, through faith in Jesus Christ, the righteousness of Christ is credited to our accounts, and through faith in Christ we now have full access to the Father, and have been restored to fellowship with him (a fellowship which was lost via the sin of Adam). As Christ’s followers, he told us that we would also be hated as he was hated, and that we would be rejected, persecuted, abandoned and even killed for our faith in Christ and for our testimonies for his gospel. Some of us or many of us will be falsely accused, given mock trials, be beaten, persecuted, have evil spoken against us, and be put in prison without cause. Some or many of us will be hated, despised, rejected, betrayed, abandoned, and forsaken, even by those who are supposed to love and protect us. And, some or many of us will be put to death because we stand on the testimony of Jesus and we obey Christ’s commandments. Yet, we are to entrust our lives into the hands of God, and trust him to give us the words to say or the wisdom to know when to remain silent. And, we are to submit ourselves to God’s will for our lives, and believe God to work out all things for the good of those who love him, and who have been called according to his purpose (Ro. 8:28). We are to daily put on the armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s evil attacks against us, and we are to continue speaking the truth in love, and keep sharing the truth of the gospel in spite of persecution until Jesus takes us home to be with him. And, we are not to fear what man might do to us, but we are to trust the Lord Jesus with our lives. God will give us all we need to endure and to keep on following him in obedience. Amen! Here is Your God! / An Original Work / July 18, 2012 Based off Isaiah 40:9-31 NIV You who bring good tidings to Zion, Lift up your voice; raise with a shout, And do not be afraid of the people. Say, “Here is your God!” See how the Lord God comes now with power. His arm rules for Him; His reward with Him. He tends His flock just like a shepherd, His lambs in His arms. Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from beginning? Our Lord sits enthroned above all things. None to Him compare. Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens. Who made all of these? Who calls them by name? Because of His great power and strength, All accounted for. Why do you say, “My way is hidden From the Lord, and my cause forgotten”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord, He is your God. He will not weary. He gives us power. Those who trust in Him will renew their strength. They will soar on wings just like eagles; Walk and do faint not.