- 40 Days in the Wilderness
- The 3 Temptations of Christ by the Devil
- I Canz Haz Isaiah? Iz Meeeee!
- Jesus Insults the Locals: God blessed a Sidonian and a Syrian
- Jesus Heals in Capernaum: A demon-possessed guy and Simon Peter’s mom
- Jesus On the Road Again
Luke sure packs a lot of action into each of these first few chapters!
Eternal One: See here! My servant will succeed.
He will grow in character and reputation, achieving high standing and status.
Just as people used to be shocked by you,
even so his appearance was disfigured;
His form—once glorious—was marred until it hardly seemed human.
Now many nations will be astonished at his prominence;
world rulers will be speechless in his presence,
For they will see what they’ve never been told;
they will understand what they’ve never heard.
Indeed, who would ever believe it?
Who would possibly accept what we’ve been told?
Who has witnessed the awesome power and plan of the Eternal in action?
Out of emptiness he came, like a tender shoot from rock-hard ground.
He didn’t look like anything or anyone of consequence—
he had no physical beauty to attract our attention.
So he was despised and forsaken by men,
this man of suffering, grief’s patient friend.
As if he was a person to avoid, we looked the other way;
he was despised, forsaken, and we took no notice of him.
Yet it was our suffering he carried,
our pain and distress, our sick-to-the-soul-ness.
We just figured that God had rejected him,
that God was the reason he hurt so badly.
But he was hurt because of us; he suffered so.
Our wrongdoing wounded and crushed him.
He endured the breaking that made us whole.
The injuries he suffered became our healing.
We all have wandered off, like shepherdless sheep,
scattered by our aimless striving and endless pursuits;
The Eternal One laid on him, this silent sufferer,
the sins of us all.
And in the face of such oppression and suffering—silence.
Not a word of protest, not a finger raised to stop it.
Like a sheep to a shearing, like a lamb to be slaughtered,
he went—oh so quietly, oh so willingly.
Oppressed and condemned, he was taken away.
From this generation, who was there to complain?
Who was there to cry “Foul”?
He was, after all, cut off from the land of the living,
Smacked and struck, not on his account,
because of how my people (my people!)
Disregarded the lines between right and wrong.
They snuffed out his life.
And when he was dead, he was buried with the disgraced
in borrowed space (among the rich),
Even though he did no wrong by word or deed.
It is hard to understand why God would crush His innocent Servant. But it is in His suffering for sin that God deals decisively with sin and its harmful effects.
Yet the Eternal One planned to crush him all along,
to bring him to grief, this innocent servant of God.
When he puts his life in sin’s dark place, in the pit of wrongdoing,
this servant of God will see his children and have his days prolonged.
For in His servant’s hand, the Eternal’s deepest desire will come to pass and flourish.
As a result of the trials and troubles that wrack his soul,
God’s servant will see light and be content
Because He knows, really understands, what it’s about; as God says,
“My just servant will justify countless others by taking on their punishment and bearing it away.
Because he exposed his very self—
laid bare his soul to the vicious grasping of death—
And was counted among the worst, I will count him among the best.
I will allot this one, My servant, a share in all that is of any value,
Because he took on himself the sin of many
and acted on behalf of those who broke My law.” (The Voice)
Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me;
listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
my faithful love promised to David.
See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
a ruler and commander of the peoples (NIV).
Finally, in verses 45-50, Stephen reviews hundreds of years of history, from Joshua to David and Solomon. He finishes with a quote from Isaiah.
Reading Isaiah 56:6-8 reminds me of Jesus’ cleansing of the temple.
The Lord’s house is a house of prayer.
So my home can be a house of prayer as well.
The words of the prophets were the words of the Holy Spirit.
The first reference to the Holy Spirit is found in Psalm 51.
The psalm’s heading reads, “For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.” This account is recorded in 2 Samuel 11-12.
It is fascinating that the Bible’s first mention of the Holy Spirit (in isolation from God the Father and Son) is found in a song and prayer of repentance after David’s most grievous sin.
The only other mention of the Holy Spirit by name in the Old Testament is found in Isaiah 63.
In verses 7-14, Isaiah reviews one of Israel’s many rebellions. It is in this context, anguish in sin, that we read about the Holy Spirit.
I am surprised by this pattern.
At least, in verse 12, we read that God gives Jesus the props he deserves for his selfless sacrifice.
Glad that Jesus did this for the “many.”
Verse 10 highlights just how intentional Jesus’ sacrifice was.
God actively allowed Jesus to suffer so that he could be a guilt offering.