Read His Words Before Ours!
It is easy to misunderstand the personality of Jesus when we view His life on earth from a human perspective.
Though God, He came in human form and was born as any other child. His birth was the lowliest, born in a manger, where animals were kept. (Luke 2:1-7) He grew up as any other child, running errands for His earthly parents in the streets of Galilee. Scripture simply referred to Him as the “boy Jesus.” (Luke 2:43) After losing track of young Jesus for several days while traveling, his mother talked to Him as any frightened mother would speak to her child, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” (Luke 2:48)
For today’s Journey Study, we continue to move backward in time, centuries before Jesus’ birth, to learn how the prophet Isaiah foretold His character and mission. Isaiah described Him as a young plant growing up in dry ground (Isaiah 53:2), symbolizing His humble life in a corrupt and sinful world.
The fallen world is a seemingly impossible place to thrive in righteousness for Satan tempted Christ with the allure of sin just as he does any human being. (Hebrews 4:15)
Jewish religious leaders continually sought ways to find fault in Him, to justify
their plan of killing Him. (Luke 20:20-26)
He was despised, relegated, and treated with contempt.
Offended by Jesus’ teaching and seeking to discredit Him, His own people said, “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother called Mary?” (Matthew 13:55)
Despite the corruption of sin around Him, Scripture testifies how Jesus “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with people.” (Luke 2:52) His environment did not deter His physical, emotional growth or His divine righteousness. In the face of adversity, He found favor with God and people.
How did it happen?
God the Father said of God the Son, Jesus,
“This is my servant; I strengthen him, this is my chosen one; I delight in him. I have put my Spirit on him; he will bring justice to the nations.” (Isaiah 42:1)
Jesus Himself also testified, speaking of His divine unity with the Father, “Truly I tell you, the Son is not able to do anything on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son likewise does these things.” (John 5:19)
The “stony ground” of the human heart condition that naturally rebels against God, did not stop Jesus from thriving, because He drew His nourishment from the Father.
Scripture makes it clear that Jesus is fully God, but He chose to be born as human in order to fulfil the mission of God the Father for mankind. He humbled Himself to a servant’s position by submitting to the will of His Father through suffering.
Death became His portion, so that we might have life in Him.
In his prophecy, Isaiah relayed clearly the suffering Jesus would undergo. Isaiah 53:4-6 describes the nature of His sufferings and the benefits to us. He bore our sicknesses and carried our pains, was pierced and crushed because of our rebellion and iniquities, was punished for our peace, and by His wounds we are healed.
But we did not identify with Him in His suffering;
we “regarded him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted.” (Isaiah 53:4)
What seemed as a harsh punishment turned out to be gracious, for through the Servant’s suffering came the justification of many. The Servant’s pain, suffering, and death serve as a restitution offering, covering our sins and bringing us back into relationship with God.
We believe, from the Scriptures, Jesus underwent such suffering for us.
But how does this redemption echo in our lives?
Jesus redeemed us so our relationship with God might be restored;
how committed are we to that relationship?
He sacrificed His life for us.
What have we sacrificed for His sake?
Our faith in Him should not be limited to His blessings only,
but must also cost us our comfort.
Are we identifying with Him in His suffering as the Apostle Paul,
confidently agreeing, “For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain”? (Philippians 1:21)
If we have repented of our sins and sought the forgiveness, grace, and mercy of God, we have been redeemed through the Servant’s suffering;
now, we are called to “produce fruit consistent with repentance.” (Matthew 3:8)
We must make holiness our end goal; He said, “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16)
Do not misunderstand, sisters–this is NOT a legalistic directive to muster up perfection or put on a “good Christian performance.” Rather, true pursuit of the Holy involves total surrender of every part of us to the Spirit; we give Him unfettered access to every corner of ourselves . . . even when it involves sacrifice, or suffering. Anything less is compromise, the lie of pretty words, the hallmark of hypocrisy; as Jesus warned,
“‘Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.’” (Matthew 7:21)
In gratitude for our redemption brought by the Servant’s suffering, in total surrender to our Father’s will, I believe we will find the Kingdom is worth our sacrifice.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!