The Suffering Servant – Advent Day 19

“But He was pierced through for our transgressions.  He was crushed for our iniquities.  The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.  All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way.  But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him” (Isaiah 53:5-6)

The book of Isaiah is the “gospel” of the Old Testament, and Isaiah 53 is the heart of the gospel message.  I encourage you to read the entire chapter.  You will see Jesus all over the page.

Look at these New Testament passages about Christ that echo Isaiah’s prophecy.

  • “He was pierced through for our transgressions.” (Isaiah 53:5)
  • “Christ was delivered up for our transgressions.” (Romans 4:25)
  • “He was crushed for our iniquities.” (Isaiah 53:5)
  • “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross.” (I Peter 2:24)
  • “By His wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)
  • “By His wounds you were healed.” (I Peter 2:24)
  • “The Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.” (Isaiah 53:6)
  • “Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many.” (Hebrews 9:28)

Jesus is the suffering servant of Isaiah 53.  His suffering accomplished our justification.  And His suffering came to an end when His sin offering was completed.

“When His soul makes an offering for guilt [our guilt], He shall see his offspring [those who have gone astray who have believed and returned as His children]; He shall prolong His days [death is not the end, the servant will live forever]; the will of the LORD shall prosper in His hand [all of this will be accomplished according to the will of the Father](Isaiah 53:10).

Jesus is the suffering servant who suffered and died in our place.  And God placed on Him the iniquities of us all.

Jesus is the suffering servant of Isaiah 53, because Jesus was there from the beginning!

The Glory of the Lord – Advent Day 18

“Now when Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the house.  The priests could not enter into the house of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled the Lord’s house.  All the sons of Israel, seeing the fire come down and the glory of the Lord upon the house, bowed down on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave praise to the Lord, saying, ‘Truly He is good, truly His lovingkindness is everlasting’ “ (II Chronicles 7:1-3).

“Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (I Corinthians 3:16).

“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one” (John 17:22).

On the day that Solomon dedicated the newly constructed temple, the glory of the Lord came with power and filled the temple with His presence.  Fast forward 1000 years.  On the day of Pentecost, following Jesus’ ascension, the Holy Spirit came with power and filled God’s new temple, His believers.

In the Old Testament, God dwelt in holy places; the holy land, the holy city, the holy temple, the Holy of Holies in the temple.  God came to live in holy places.

Under the new covenant, God continues to dwell in holy places.  But they are no longer geographic locations.  They are holy people; you and me, children of God.  You are now God’s temple.  If you have studied the New Testament, you are aware of this picture that we are now God’s temple.

But did you know that God is still filling His temple with His glory?  The dedication by Solomon of God’s earthly temple was accompanied by an incredible display of God’s glory.  And as God’s temple today, you are an incredible display of God’s glory.  Jesus said it, “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them” (John 17:22).

It is a false humility to call yourself anything less than glorious.  To do so is to make Jesus a liar.  You are glorious based on the promise of Jesus.  Believe it.  You and I, by the declaration of Jesus, are glorious.  And there is no room for pride in that statement; only gratitude.

The glory of Jesus, now present in you, was present in His holy temple, because Jesus was there from the beginning!

In the Fiery Furnace – Advent Day 17

“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, ‘If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.  But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up’ “ (Daniel 3:16-18).

“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (I Peter 1:6-7).

Around 600 BC, the king of Babylon raised an imposing golden image of himself on the plain of Dura.  King Nebuchadnezzar instructed all his government officials to worship the statue when the music played.  Three Jewish exiles among the group refused to worship.  Nebuchadnezzar offered them a second chance but they did not need one.  Their mind was made up, they would worship God alone.

Look at their incredible statement of faith at the top of this page.  In essence, they were saying, “We have faith to believe that God can deliver us from the furnace, but even if He does not, we are all in.”  Staring at what appears to be certain death in the furnace of blazing fire, this is quite a claim.  Notice that their faith is not tied to their physical rescue, but to the God who is in control.  With or without physical deliverance, their faith is in the one true God alone.  Their faith is not dependent on an outcome.  It is dependent on a person; the character and person of God Himself.

But God did deliver them from the fire.  When the king peered into the furnace, “Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, ‘Look!  I see four men loosed and walking about in the middle of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods!’ ” (Dan 3:25).  I believe the fourth person in the fiery furnace was Jesus Himself coming to their rescue.  And He is coming to your rescue in the fiery trials of life.

His rescue may not be a physical deliverance from your trials.  But His presence and peace are always with us, available to deliver us from the fires of fear, shame, guilt, anxiety, and loss.  “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

Jesus was in the fiery furnace, because Jesus was there from the beginning!

Christ Among the Dry Bones – Advent Day 16

“The hand of the Lord was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones.  He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry” (Ezekiel 37:1-2).

“So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone.  And I looked, and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them.  Then He said to me, ‘Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, “Thus says the Lord God, ‘Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life.’ “ ‘  So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army” (Ezekiel 37:7-10).

” ‘I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land.  Then you will know that I, the LORD, have spoken and done it,’ declares the LORD” (Ezekiel 37:14).

Ezekiel found himself in a valley of exceedingly dry bones.  Ezekiel prophesied as God commanded him and the bones were covered with muscle, tendons, flesh, and skin.  But no life flowed through them.  Ezekiel prophesied again and the four winds blew.  The awakening bones were filled with breath and became a great army.

God follows Ezekiel’s vision with an explanation that this wind of breath is a picture of the new spirit, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ that will come to us as part of the promise and provision of the new covenant (see Ezekiel 37:11-14).

The wind that brought the bones to life was the Spirit of God.  And it is a foreshadowing of the same wind that will bring life to us.  “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8).  “And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent, rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting … And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:2,4).

God’s rushing wind, the Spirit of Christ has brought life to us.  “Since the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you” (Romans 8:11)

Jesus was in the valley of dry bones, because Jesus was there from the beginning!

The Shepherd King – Advent Day 15

“Now therefore, thus you shall say to My servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people Israel … Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever” ‘ “ (II Samuel 7:8,16).

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.  There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this” (Isaiah 9:6-7).

In II Samuel chapter 7, King David makes plans to build a permanent temple to replace the tabernacle as a dwelling place for God.  For His part, God makes a promise to David that his house and kingdom will be established forever.  We know the rest of the immediate story.  King David’s kingdom did not last.  Soon after his son Solomon’s reign, it fell apart.  So what does this promise mean that David’s kingdom will be established forever?

We see the first hint to the answer in Isaiah chapter 9.  In this prophecy of the coming Messiah, the child born to us will sit on the throne of David.  His kingdom will be re-established; this time with Christ Himself on the throne.  Jesus is the promise of II Samuel 7.  Jesus is the promise of a kingdom that lasts forever.

Jesus is not only the spiritual fulfillment of the promise to King David, He is also the physical fulfillment.  Jesus was born in the line of David.  “And when He had removed King Saul, He raised up David to be their king, of whom He testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’  From the descendants of this man, according to promise, God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus” (Acts 13:22-23).

Our savior king, our shepherd king is Jesus!

Jesus sits on the throne of David, because Jesus was there from the beginning!