Slow your breathing and become aware of the taking in and letting out of your breath. Focus on putting things aside so you will be open to what God is saying to you today.
Isaiah 52:13–53:12 (NRSV)
See, my servant shall prosper;
he shall be exalted and lifted up,
and shall be very high.
Just as there were many who were astonished at him
—so marred was his appearance, beyond human semblance,
and his form beyond that of mortals—
so he shall startle many nations;
kings shall shut their mouths because of him;
for that which had not been told them they shall see,
and that which they had not heard they shall contemplate.
Who has believed what we have heard?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by others;
a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity;
and as one from whom others hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him of no account.
Surely he has borne our infirmities
and carried our diseases;
yet we accounted him stricken,
struck down by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions,
crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the punishment that made us whole,
and by his bruises we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have all turned to our own way,
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
By a perversion of justice he was taken away.
Who could have imagined his future?
For he was cut off from the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people.
They made his grave with the wicked
and his tomb with the rich,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him with pain.
When you make his life an offering for sin,
he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days;
through him the will of the LORD shall prosper.
Out of his anguish he shall see light;
he shall find satisfaction through his knowledge.
The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;
because he poured out himself to death,
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.
Some seven centuries before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah seems to have predicted Jesus’ life. He describes someone marred of appearance, with no form or majesty, a man of suffering, despised and rejected, but someone who would shut the mouths of kings and be “wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole….”
It is easy and tempting to get caught up in the “magic” of prophecy, the evidence of the fourth dimensional nature of the heavenly realm, where time is not the one way street it is to me. In my opinion, however, prophecy is of more importance as evidence of the necessity of Jesus. There are times when I wonder why an all-powerful God could not find a better way to redeem humankind. It seems so unfair that an innocent one should receive the punishment that has been earned by the guilty. But prophecy is more than just evidence that Jesus is who he claims to be, it is evidence, at least in my mind, that he had to be, that there was no other way. Do you ever wonder what could possibly make humankind worth such a sacrifice? I do. But prophecy indicates that what was, and is, and is to come, will happen, happens, and has happened, reassuring me that the sacrifice was necessary. Prophecy bolsters my faith, because from any logical weighing of the evidence, humankind was not worth Jesus. I certainly wasn’t.
Lord, we thank you and praise you and stand taken aback in amazement that you loved, will love, and love us enough to give your son. What a wonderful thing it is to get a glimpse of your kingdom. We can only ask that you would help love reign in us. Amen.
Go with God.