Lessons from Isaiah 53 v 3

3 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.

I love the way John Gill puts this:

The Vulgate Latin version renders it, “the last of men”, the most abject and contemptible of mankind; despised, because of the meanness of his birth, and parentage, and education, and of his outward appearance in public life; because of his apostles and audience; because of his doctrines, not agreeably to carnal reason, and his works, some of them being done on the sabbath day, and, as they maliciously suggested, by the help of Satan; and especially because of his ignominious sufferings and death.

It is quite amazing that Jesus, the son of the living God would become know as the most abject and contemptible of mankind. Jesus came to a nation that rejected him, a human race that rejected him and finally His father rejected him. In death, Jesus was hated, and apart from his disciples and followers, many see him as a fake. But we know that He is the risen Lord, full of the power that raised people from the dead. Gill continues:

He was known by his troubles, notorious for them; these were his constant companions, his familiar acquaintance, with whom he was always conversant; his life was one continued series of sorrow, from the cradle to the cross; in his infancy his life was sought for by Herod, and he was obliged to be taken by his parents, and flee into Egypt; he ate his bread in sorrow, and with the sweat of his brow; he met with much sorrow from the hardness and unbelief of men’s hearts, and from the contradiction of sinners against himself, and even much from the frowardness of his own disciples; much from the temptations of Satan, and more from the wrath and justice of God, as the surety of his people; he was exceeding sorrowful in the garden, when his sweat was as it were great drops of blood; and when on the cross, under the hidings of his Father’s face, under a sense of divine displeasure for the sins of his people, and enduring the pains and agonies of a shameful and an accursed death; he was made up of sorrows, and grief was familiar to him.

Then he ends his commentary on this verse as follows:

he was despised, and we esteemed him not;
which is repeated to show the great contempt cast upon him, and the disesteem he was had in by all sorts of persons; professors and profane, high and low, rich poor, rulers and common people, priests, Scribes, and Pharisees; no set or order of men had any value for him; and all this disgrace and dishonour he was to undergo, to repair the loss of honour the Lord sustained by the sin of man, whose surety Christ became.

We do not often see Christ in this way. We usually think of him as the Messiah, triumphant and entering to the cheering crowds, as a master of the universe, blessing food and feeding thousands, turning water into wine and doing a host of miracles. This same Jesus was despised, and continues to be despised. The word says that when we side with Him, we too will be despised by the world. We will endure persecution – there is no avoiding it. Perhaps persecution is a sign that God is with us and in us. For if there is never any persecution in our lives for the sake of Christ, we must be diluting the message of the gospel in our lives. We do not expect to walk in total and constant persecution, but a complete lack of it, should ring some warning bells.

So how persecuted are you?

Lessons from Isaiah 53 v 2

He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

I am continuing to look at God’s love and mercy for us, and why we should not blame God for tragedy and sickness in our lives. Jesus is portrayed in this prophecy as coming to the world with no beauty and no majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. Jesus was the embodiment of the principles that he taught us while on earth. he taught us that we do not walk by sight, but rather by faith. That we need to look at the things which are not seen, rather than the things which we can see.

This idea is a tough one for many Christians. We are naturally conditioned through our western world, and through generations of teaching that we respond to that which we see. One of the things I have been dealing with in the last two days, is the subject of healing. Now this subject is the perfect example of where we have vastly conflicting ideas about whether or not God heals today. I heard Andrew Wommack say that when someone says “I believe God can heal” then that is hope. When you say I know that God will heal, that is faith. Jesus came into the world in a very subdued manner – born in a manger with no pomp and ceremony. Surely for the Son of God no-one would have minded if he had been born in the King’s palace. But God’s way is gentle and unassuming. So Jesus came in a way that did not impress us as people. He was Born as any child would be born and there was nothing special that would have attracted us to him physically. But the star that shone from the east was announcing that this was no ordinary child. Even the stars shone over him.

Jesus told us through his life, that God does not look at the outward – God looks at the heart and the motives. God is not impressed by the things that impress humans. We are told to walk by faith and not by sight. So we need to then act on that. When we know that God wants someone to be healed, then we can pray confidently. We know that Jesus has already healed us by his stripes. So I hear you saying that “not everyone gets healed.” That is true. I believe that healing is a tricky subject. We are subject to the curse of the ground on this earth, and Satan rules this earth. As believers we have in us the power of the living God and we are no longer under the power of Satan. So we are told to resist the devil and he will flee from us. Death and disease is a curse that came upon mankind by sin. So we live in a fallen world which subjects us to death and to other laws (like gravity) which we cannot escape from. Within this world, God wants us to be healthy. We can make oursleves sick by eating badly, behaving badly, by holding grduges, getting angry, through unforgiveness and bitterness and more.

Jesus said that the kingdom of God is near. When Jesus was living on this earth, he healed all who were oppressed by the devil. That was a glimpse of the kingdom of God. The kingdom og God is coming. Jesus told us to pray for the kingdom of God to come (you remember from the Lord’s prayer). When the kingdom of God comes, it restores the order and balance back to God’s original intention.

Some people when they pray for the sick, will pray “if it be your will”. There is no prayer in the Bible which tells us to pray like this. Jesus did not say “if it be thy will” when he was in Gethsemane. Jesus knew the will of the father and he said “nevertheless, thy will be done”. The prayer that says “if it is your will” destroys faith. Because then we are praying without power. God wants us to find out his will (which he reveals by his word) and then to walk in faith and do his will, even if we cannot see the immediate evidence. Sometimes we pray and when the person is not immediately and miraculously healed, we think God never heard us. But we will allow antibiotics to take a weke or two to work, so why does all healing have to be instant.

And yet not everyone is healed. I believe when people are not healed it is because of our lack of faith and because of our lack of closeness to God. Jesus never failed to heal anyone. he healed every time. EVERY TIME. And Jesus said we will do at least what he did, and even greater things. But to do that we have toi wakk with him, closer and closer every day, so that we learn the rythms of his grace.

 

Jesus the Messiah is born

Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem. The first thing we see is that Joseph and Mary travel to Bethlehem at the time of the census. God was seeing the fulfilment of His word. But as always God works through events and people. The reason for traveling to Bethlehem was for the census. So God takes advantage of human decisions and events to interweave his plans for us into our choices.

Matthew 2: 1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

Even as his mother was in labour, the word got out that the Messiah was about to be born. The magi knew it, Herod knew it. All of history pointed to this moment. This was the very moment that heaven and earth intersected. Jesus who was and is God, came and lived on earth as a man among men.This was the game changer. Ever since the fall of Adam, this was the only solution to solve the eternal and ongoing problem of man’s sin, and inability to live according to the law.

Jesus solicited worship before he was even a day old. And worship came from the source of the wisest amongst men.

11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

The wise men gave gifts and bowed down to Jesus. We should love him and worship him and bring him the gift of our affection and devotion.

Jesus before he was born on earth – Part One

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. …  14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

The book of John echoes the book of Genesis. It starts with the same words, “in the beginning”. John establishes that before God did anything at the start of creation, he existed. The Word here refers to Jesus Christ. John establishes Jesus as being God and also being with God. if you take this verse together with the verse in Genesis 1:1 then you xan see that God is three parts – father, son and holy spirit. Jesus was with God in the beginning according to verse 2 above. John declares that when God created, it was Jesus who was creating. In fact, John says that Jesus made everything and that without Jesus, nothing would have been made. Jesus had life in him, and as I wrote yesterday, God breathed into man’s nostrils and then man came alive.

John said that “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” – referring to the borth of Jesus.

Before Jesus was born, his mother Mary became pregnant by the holy spirit.

Matthew 1:18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.

Mary was engaged to Joseph, but Jesus was implanted into Mary by the Holy Spirit. This was an answer and fulfilment of the prophecy Isaiah 7:14: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel”.