Text: Isaiah 52:13-53:12
13 Behold, my servant shall act wisely;
he shall be high and lifted up,
and shall be exalted.
14 As many were astonished at you—
his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,
and his form beyond that of the children of mankind—
15 so shall he sprinkle many nations.
Kings shall shut their mouths because of him,
for that which has not been told them they see,
and that which they have not heard they understand.
I just don’t know why it happened to me?
When confronted with the whys of our own life, we in many cases turn to despair. So many in our church live with sickness and the knowledge of continued suffering; some lose loving parents and find it hard to go on without them daily in their lives; some just wish to depart this life and to have the suffering they endure … end.
It is with Good Friday and the suffering of Jesus that we too can call out with persistent cries, “why?”
Jesus’ life was service and healing not crime. He turned no one away. He gave sight to those who were blind, raised the dead and told the woman caught in adultery; “Neither do I condemn you … Go and sin no more.” John 8:1-11
As Isaiah says:
… he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows
… was afflicted, pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities;
He was oppressed, he opened not his mouth, he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people and they made his grave with the wicked
Though he had done no violence and no deceit was in his mouth.
Through suffering God declares his love.
Isaiah called the Suffering Servant oppressed, and like a sheep being led to the slaughter he was silent.
Yet, there was a purpose for his suffering. It was for the transgressions the sins of the people. For sin, he would die, he would be cut off and make his grave with the wicked.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities. [sins]
Through suffering God will bring peace to Israel through His servant. God promises good news, peace, happiness and salvation to His people Israel.
It is also made known that God chooses to be the God of all people and that the way he will accomplish this is through his servant. The Lord will be the one who brings salvation to all the earth.
Paul speaks of this in Philippians 2 when he says:
… though [Jesus] was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Jesus was lifted up though many were appalled at his appearance. He was disfigured almost to the point of not being recognized as human. Sin needed an atoning sacrifice that was without blemish and acceptable to appease God’s wrath. God provided the sacrifice himself in His Son – God in the flesh - who was the spotless Lamb of God. The price of the servant’s sinless life and death brought peace for you and for me.
Through suffering we have peace and healing.
he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.
When you suffer you are connected to Christ Jesus the Suffering Servant. By being connected to him, when we too suffer, we can know God’s true love for us as he endured all for you and for me … even death.
Christ’s model is our victory.
14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
Because of Christ’s death we know that death has been conquered by him once and for all. Death has been swallowed up in victory.
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Because of his sinless life and his substitutionary atonement [Christ’s death in our place] we have received what he earned by faith in him … our forgiveness and salvation. He didn’t do it for himself … he did it for you!
16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Because Jesus suffered we can understand suffering as it pertains to sin and brokenness in this world. Not as something from God but as a result of the corrupted world broken by sin.
Christ’s victory is you victory! Christ’s forgiveness is your forgiveness! By his death you receive eternal life in his name!
In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.