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What Did Jesus Suffer? And Why?

Head on cross

About seven hundred years before Jesus died on the cross, Isaiah wrote about it in extraordinary detail…

Who has believed our message? To whom has the LORD revealed his powerful arm? My servant grew up in the LORD’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.

We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.

All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all. He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth.

Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people. He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave. But it was the LORD’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the LORD’s good plan will prosper in his hands.

When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins. I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.

– Isaiah 53:1-12 NLT

Just to re-cap…

  • He was despised
  • Rejected
  • Pierced
  • Crushed
  • Beaten
  • Whipped
  • Oppressed
  • Treated harshly
  • Condemned
  • Struck down
  • Buried like a criminal

And why?

  • Yet it was our weaknesses he carried
  • It was our sorrows that weighed him down
  • Pierced for our rebellion
  • Crushed for our sins?
  • Beaten so we could be whole?
  • Whipped so we could be healed
  • All of us, like sheep, have strayed away
  • The Lord laid on him the sins of us all??

You can debate the meaning of the cross and the nature of the One who gave His life on it. What you can’t do is get around this one, undeniable, life-changing fact. Jesus really, really loves you! He proved it.

Now, it’s up to you. Do you own your weaknesses and sorrows, confess your rebellion and sins, and trust him to forgive you, make you whole, and forgive all of your sins? Or do you continue on your way as though you’re okay, as though his death means nothing, and as though eternity doesn’t hang in the balance.

Need help? Have questions? Reach out. I’d love to help you make the biggest and best decision you could ever possibly make – to put your trust in Jesus as Savior and King! But you don’t have to have my help. Tell God you believe him. You own your sin. You believe Jesus died for you. You trust him to save you. You commit to live the rest of your life for him. And then prepare for everything to change. Forever.

Photo by CreationSwap.

Celebrating the Profound Simplicity of Conversion

Isaiah 45-22When the Philippian jailer asked, “what must I do to be saved?,” Paul didn’t break into a discourse about repudiation of self, cross-bearing, and submission of every aspect of one’s life to the absolute Lordship of Jesus Christ. All of those are vital to a thorough understanding of the Christian life. But Paul’s response was, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.” To the thief on the cross’s simple cry of “remember me…” Jesus replied with deep compassion, “today, you’ll be with me in paradise.”

I was six years old when I trusted Christ. I was penitent, but had no idea what the word “penitent” meant. I repented, but couldn’t define the concept of repentance. I just new, I needed Jesus desperately.

I’m afraid that as Christians looking backward at what happened to us, having grown in the depth of our understanding of salvation, we often take all that we’ve learned since the moment of our conversion and decide that an understanding of it all is necessary for anyone else who wants to be saved. Meanwhile we forget just how helpless, how hopeless we were as we approached the cross. And we forget just how powerful God is to regenerate the hardest of hearts through the simplest of means – faith.

Having wrestled for years with trying to understand all the various facets of redemption, Charles Spurgeon was finally saved when the utter simplicity of God’s plan of salvation dawned on him. It happened during a sermon delivered by a layperson filling in at the last second for an absent Pastor. The man had little education and practically no ability to expound on the depth of the meaning of salvation. But the man knew one single Scripture to share, so he repeated it over and over…

Look to Me, and be saved,
All you ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.
– Isaiah 45:22 NKJV

Stop complicating it. Just look to Jesus, the One and Only, and trust Him. He wants to save you today.

I Shall Arise

“Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me.” -Micah 7:8

When I was rather young, I went sledding down Bowling Green’s “Hospital Hill” one snowy day with my brother and my Dad. I was so excited about taking my first run on my own, but something went terribly wrong. there was a snowdrift covering a stump and I hit it head on. The sled went down, I went up (and what goes up must come down) and I hit the ground and lay flat on my back. My wind was gone, I felt I couldn’t breathe, and I was panicking. In moments my brother and my Dad were there to check on me. But the instant they saw that I would survive, their concern turned to jubilation. They laughed! They laughed hard! And I must admit, it was probably funny.

Others often take our calamity lightly. Our pain and our suffering, to us, is always immense. We see the world from a darkened valley while the masses look on from the cliffs and mountain peaks. Our enemies especially take advantage of every opportunity to rejoice in our tragedies. But for the Christian there is a great promise – our calamities are but for a moment. Micah, the contemporary of Isaiah, knew what would befall Israel in a matter of decades. He knew of their coming captivity and the suffering they would endure under slavery to Babylon.

The nations around Israel could rejoice at her defeat, but Micah, speaking under inspiration of God gave warning to the nations. Rejoice not! We have not been destroyed, we shall rise! Darkness is inevitable, it will consume half of every day. Falling is part of life. But Micah reminds us that for all of the failures of the children of God, there will be a rising in the end. For the darkness we endure here, there is the light of God’s presence and the revelation of His promises. The future is bright, our hope endures. As children of the King, we shall rise and reign! Take courage, be hopeful, the end is not yet!

The High and Holy One

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; His glory fills the whole earth.” -Isaiah 6:3 (HCSB)

God’s holiness cannot be defined in terms of human goodness for “there is none good, no not one.” Instead, we must realize that God’s holiness speaks of His transcendent perfection. To say that God is holy does not merely mean that He is ultimately moral, but rather that He is completely removed from anything imperfect. His holiness is defined by His separateness.

God’s glory cannot be defined in human terms either. His glory is the outward manifestation of His holiness, His infinite worth. His holiness is the shining radiance, the majestic splendor of His ultimate worthiness. Isaiah said that the whole earth was filled with His glory. All of creation screams that God is holy, transcendent, and set apart. All of His creatures testify of His creative power and genius.

Only human beings fail to bring God glory and one day “every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of the Father.” Have you yet caught the vision of Isaiah concerning our holy and majestic Lord? Only when He is the object of your devotion will He receive glory from your life, and only when He receives glory from your life can you fulfill your God-given purpose for existence. Have you called Him Lord yet? Will you call on Him as Lord today?

What’s Your Worldview?

“Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.”—Isaiah 40:15

I was in a conversation recently with a friend in which we were talking about the biggest issues facing humanity. I believe that the biggest issue today is spiritual blindness, that if people don’t hear and receive the gospel, they will spend eternity in hell. My friend gave me a rather funny look.

You don’t hear about “spiritual blindness” on any major news network. We focus on AIDS, poverty, the war in Iraq, stem-cell research, partial-birth abortion, and whatever other hot button issues sell advertising time. We begin to think as though these are the “big” issues. Let’s expand our worldview for a moment.

Most people live life looking through a microscope. They survive every day, seeing only those issues which directly and immediately affect their own lives. Others live life looking through binoculars. They are able to see some of the major issues facing people around the world, such as the issues discussed above. But Bible-believing people ought to live life looking through a telescope from outer-space. We ought to have the highest perspective on the world’s problems.

While everyone else may focus on day-to-day problems, or even problems facing nations, Christians ought to see the world from God’s panoramic perspective, and spiritual blindness is on the very top of His list of issues facing the world. What’s your world view?