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The Suffering Servant: A Man of Sorrows Part Three

The Suffering Servant: A Man of Sorrows Part Three

“He was looked down on and passed over, a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand. One look at him and people turned away. We looked down on him, thought he was scum. But the fact is, it was our pains he carried— our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us. We thought he brought it on himself, that God was punishing him for his own failures. But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins! He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed.” Isaiah 53:3-6 (MSG)

The Bible is one continuous historical and prophetic story; it is the story of Jesus Christ, the Lord. It begins in Genesis where God has created everything out of nothing, by His powerful spoken word He has made water, and dry ground, the sun, the moon and all the birds, fish and animals and He called it all good. “Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness…’” Genesis 1:26 (NIV) (emphasis mine)

Paul tells us in Colossians 1:16 that Jesus, along with God the Father, is at once the instrument of creation and the recipient, saying:

For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. (NIV)

Being made in the image of God, man was, in the beginning, without sin, like Jesus. Next came the fall of man. Despite being made in the image of God, man was tempted and sinned. The Bible says Jesus was tempted in every way, just like us, and, being fully man and fully God, He could have chosen to sin, but He did not. So He was the perfect remedy to cure sin – the only perfect sacrifice.

Unlike God the Father, who is only Spirit, Jesus became flesh, thus the mention of Jesus as fully man makes Him, in this aspect, an equal to Adam. When Adam fell we all fell, but Jesus, like Adam in his humanity, did not fall, and this is why Jesus is able to ransom mankind because He remained the only pure Son of man, who is able to offer a perfect sacrifice for all of the other fallen sons of man.

But the Jews weren’t looking for deliverance from sin, what they wanted was deliverance from Roman control. Throughout their history back to the beginning, their repeated oppression and captivities caused them to cry out to God for help, and God always sent help in the form of a warrior, a king or an army to save them, so you can’t blame them for looking to the past as a predictor for future events.

This time was different. This time was to be deliverance from the captivity to the power of death which had held sway over mankind for far too long. But were the people ready?

Despite the disagreements between scholars as to the identity of the suffering servant in Isaiah 53, our Lord Jesus fulfilled the prophecy foretold 700 years before He was born with His life and death.

He said He did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it, and among His words we find the phrase “you have heard” over and over, followed by “but I say” to bring the Old Testament into sharper focus, while, at the same time showing that this new order was a continuation, a further revelation, of the one already in existence. Revealing this is the way of your ancestors, and this is the next part of the plan God had made long ago yet waited for the right time to reveal His plan and to send His Son to save His people. “’You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.’” Matthew 5:43-44 (NIV) And He urged humility. In Luke 14:10 he advises “take the lowest place at the table,” (NIV) and spoke of His own, “I am gentle and humble.” Matthew 11:29 (NIV)

His ministry from the outset was controversial and confusing. He was a “lover, not a fighter” who preached not intolerance, but over-tolerance. He advised when struck on one cheek, to present the other as well, when asked to go one mile, go two instead, if you are offended forgive, not 7 times, but 7 times 70.

And while the hearers of this strange advice were still scratching their heads wondering who would do these things, He gave the ultimate example. He went the distance for all of our misdeeds, our sins, both small and great, for the price for each is the same, and He ransomed Himself for us, dying in our places so that we then could live.

A warrior fights to exalt himself to power or to a throne; Jesus lowered Himself so we could be lifted from sin.

The suffering servant chose to suffer for us. In the garden kneeling before God, the Son asked for another solution, but when none was given, He knew what He must do. He could have called down angel warriors to strike the men who sought Him with swords and clubs and lifted Him back into Heaven, but that meant leaving us behind, still in our broken state.

He suffered for our sakes. Because His love for us was so great that He could not bear to spend eternity without us so He left it all to come here, and if suffering was the cost, He was willing to pay it for our sake.

The first coming is about being lowly and meek, calling the sick and sinners to repent and breaking the power of death by rising from the grave. Those who have repented before He comes again will meet Him in the air upon His triumphant second coming that will see Him fulfill the role of warrior and conqueror over the powers of darkness.

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