Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Today’s Topic: No Pain
Today’s Text: Isaiah 52:13 “See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.”
The watchmen are lifting up their voices. They are shouting for joy. It is time for us to join them and burst into songs of joy together, for the Lord is coming to reign on the earth. (see Isaiah 52:8-9)
With those words the prophet Isaiah begins the last section of his book, declaring the coming of the Servant of the Lord to redeem the people of the world and reign as their King. I am so excited to study the remaining chapters of Isaiah which reveal the suffering and second coming of the Savior.
From the very beginning of Isaiah’s revelation of the Messiah, he lays the foundation of all redemption – the suffering servant who pays the price for man’s sin. After introducing Him to us as the servant who will act wisely, he declares that He will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. This has two meaning within the context:
- In order to be raised and lifted up, He had to have been subjected to the worst possible human suffering; and
- He will be exalted over all those responsible for His suffering.
Now don’t get distracted because you think this is just another theological devotional. Open your heart to the incredible joy of your salvation, paid for by the suffering servant. We must never grow weary of experiencing the pain of the suffering servant so that we might fully celebrate the redemption of our souls that He purchased.
The very first thing that Isaiah does after introducing us to the Servant of God who will be exalted is to tell us how terribly He suffered. He says, “…His appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness…” I don’t know about you, but those words send a chill up my spine and bring tears to my eyes. Jesus Christ, the King of all eternity, became one of us and then suffered the most inhumane treatment ever given to any man so that He might fully bear the wrath of God against sin in His body. He was so brutally beaten that it disfigured Him. He was marred beyond human recognition. His love for you and me drove Him to willingly endure it all so that we might be saved. He could have called the angels of heaven to destroy all who were treating Him so unjustly, but He had me in mind and His love for me kept Him from seeking an escape from the pain.
Not only am I overwhelmed with thanksgiving and joy for what He did for me, but I am also feeling a little guilty about all the times I seek an escape from the pain of this life. I especially feel ashamed of all the times I have avoided the potential pain of personal rejection by remaining silent about my faith in Jesus Christ, all while saying I love Him.
What kind of love is it if it is embarrassed to be lived out publicly? What kind of love for Jesus do we really have when we can so easily put our own pleasure and well-being ahead of our commitment to living for Jesus every day? How dare we say that we love others the way Christ loved us when we so quickly evaluate every interaction with others and determine whether a statement or action of faith in Christ would bring negative results to our lives? What kind of love for Jesus is that?
We must begin to act wisely in these last days as the return of Jesus draws near. The Servant acted wisely by enduring any and all suffering for the sake of love for God and God’s people. We must act wisely by declaring the love of God to the lost world around us through our actions and our words. We must never be motivated by pain, but always by the principle of love – not love for self, which seeks to avoid pain, but love for God and others, which endures any and all suffering for the sake of God’s glory.
My friends, let us act wisely, for in the end, we too will be raised and lifted up, and be highly exalted with our King. That’s what Jesus paid for.