September 3rd 

Jesus the Messiah

1 Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2 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. 3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 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 her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. 9 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. 10 Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.

11 After the suffering of his soul, 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. 12 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. Isaiah 53 NIV 

This passage from Isaiah is one of the most vivid descriptions of Jesus and what God accomplished through him.  In reading through this passage during my recent quiet time, I felt that I should share this passage with you.   

Note that Isaiah wrote this prophecy several hundred years before Jesus was born.  Though the details of Jesus’ mission were fully explained here, Satan and his angels were not able to understand them until after Jesus was resurrected and the victory had been won.  At the very least, the prophecy and its fulfillment through Jesus should strengthen our faith in God.   

The Jews in Bible times were not much different than people today. They, like us, often put a premium on appearance.  They expected their deliverer to look and act like a champion among men; a leader and king who would smite all their enemies and rule the world.  Jesus showed up with no stately appearance – he was nothing special as far as his looks.  He didn’t look like a King or mighty conqueror.  He was a carpenter and if he showed up these days, he might resemble your average framing carpenter on the jobsite.  What matters to God is what’s in our hearts, not what we look like, and Jesus proved that through his actions. 

Jesus would bear the punishment we deserved; without arguing or complaining.  Isaiah likened him to a sacrificial lamb that would die for the sins of many.  Lambs were one type of animal that was commonly used in Old Testament times as the sacrifices to atone for people’s sin.  Jesus was God’s lamb given as the sacrifice for our sin.   

As Jesus went about fulfilling his mission, he experienced the depths of hardship and suffering.  He was “despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.”  He can relate to anything we are facing, because he endured every possible evil – rejection, torture, betrayal, mockery, disrespect, hatred, etc.  In addition to all that, he stooped down and shouldered all of our sin, sickness and sorrows.  He literally “took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows.” 

The light of hope shines brightest at the end of the passage.  Isaiah wrote, “After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied” (11). God’s reward to Jesus was the light of life and satisfaction of his soul.  This satisfaction would come through the redemption of the billions of people who would believe and follow Jesus on account of his sacrifice and testimony.  God also rewarded Jesus’ by giving him “a portion among the great” because he humbled himself, surrendered his life and made intercession for the sinners.  He gave him all authority in heaven and earth (Matthew 28:18).   

I’m hoping that the truths in this passage will profoundly impact you as they have me.  I pray that you will realize that you are part of Jesus’ reward!  He loves you and welcomes you into his presence openly.  Your sins have been forgiven.  You can enjoy communion and fellowship with Jesus today through the Holy Spirit.   

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:

“Lord Jesus, I am awed by your love and sacrifice for my sake.  Thank you for enduring such agony, pain and suffering for me.  I embrace you anew today.  I am honored to be part of your reward and I open my heart to commune with you.  I confess any sin that I have continued to practice:__________(specify).  Thank you for your forgiveness. Please wash my conscience with your blood and renew my conviction to walk uprightly.  I yield my body, soul and spirit to you to do your will.  Please help me see where you are working around me so that I may join you throughout the day.  I praise you, Jesus!  In your holy name I pray, Amen.”