Statement of faith

2 Timothy 3:16-17 "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (NIV)

"The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to make us like the Son of God. To become like Jesus, we must fill our lives with his Word.
- Warren

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Quiet-Time Reflections

Week of: December 12, 2011                         
Sharing by: Pam Crawford

Isaiah 53:6-9
“We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. “

This week I have been reflecting within the Book of Isaiah, chapter 53. In this chapter Isaiah gives us a glimpse into the suffering and glory of a humble servant. As I have been preparing my heart for this Christmas season, I have had my thoughts and prayers upon the Jewish people who continue to wait upon their Messiah. I think about the richness of the Old Testament teachings and I am in awe of the gift of prophecy that the people of those days had before them. However, I can’t help but ask, how did they miss Him? The answer might be that they were not expecting a humble servant.

Some Jews interpret the “suffering servant” described in Isaiah 53 as the Holy Nation of Israel. I personally believe they have missed verses 3-5. I like the KJV translation which by the way aligns beautifully to the Hebrew Old Testament Scripture. Verse 3-5 “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: And we hid as it were our faces from him; He was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our grief’s, and carried our sorrows: Yet we did esteem him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities: The chastisement of our peace was on him; and with his stripes we are healed.” 

Isaiah, once considered to be one of the greatest Prophets, was speaking of the Messiah, long before He would enter the world to suffer for the sins of all people. Through Isaiah, God was pulling aside the curtain of time to give people a foreshadowing into the suffering of the future Savior. More importantly, God wanted them to understand that this suffering and the forgiveness which would be made available through Him was near. I imagine it was very difficult for people of that day to believe that God would choose to save the world through a humble servant over a glorious king. They were looking for something really big. What they missed was the strength of the servant that God would send. They missed it because the description of this Savior was contrary to human expectations.  Who would expect a humble, suffering servant to be selected by God himself to save sinners? I believe what they missed was that God often works in ways we would not expect.

Not much has changed since Isaiah’s day except that his prophecy was fulfilled when God entered history as a baby in a small town just south of JerusalemBethlehem, which means “the house of bread,” became worthy of its name. One lonely, cold winter night a baby changed everything. From that town was born the “Bread of Life,” but not many recognized Him as Savior and sadly, He is still being rejected today. There are many who still argue that Jesus was never born. If you want to be prepared for such an argument yourself, check out the following resource which I personally found helpful as I worked to prepare myself for the opposition. 

My friends, what a gift we have been given through Jesus!  If you have not yet embraced the Savior, may I ask you to do me a favor this Christmas?  I promise it won’t take much of your time. Find yourself a Bible and open it to the Gospel of John, chapter 10. I encourage you not to miss the “Good Sheppard” in this story or the promise He brings. I was once the “lost sheep” within this story, but Praise God; by the grace of my Lord and Savior I have been found! If this is you, let’s celebrate together the ability to “recognize his voice.” (John 10:27).  Let’s not keep this gift to our self as it is way too precious. I am encouraged today to know that the “Good Sheppard” is out there actively pursuing anyone who has missed Him. His Word tells us in 2 Peter 3:9. “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

This Christmas let’s take some time to reflect, repent if necessary and rejoice!  A child has been born and His Name is JESUS. And for our Jewish brothers and sisters, let’s pray that they would allow the veil to be removed.

Merry Christmas!

In Christ by grace,

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