By: Carole L. Haines
Most of us are familiar with the Description of Christ as the Suffering Servant as described in Isaiah 53. This Holy Week, we are going to take a deeper look into His sufferings and what His precious sacrifice accomplished for us, His followers, on the Cross.
Before there was the Description of The Suffering Servant, Isaiah 52 paints a picture of The Exalted One.
The Exalted Servant
13 Behold, My servant will prosper,
He will be high and lifted up and greatly exalted.
14 Just as many were astonished at you, My people,
So His appearance was marred more than any man
And His form more than the sons of men.
15 Thus He will sprinkle many nations,
Kings will shut their mouths on account of Him;
For what had not been told them they will see,
And what they had not heard they will understand.
Jesus, Messiah, the Exalted Servant. He prospers in the hands of His Father. He is High and Lifted up and greatly exalted. I love how God reveals the end of the story here before the disillusionment of the Suffering and Crucifixion. Hope is saturated into our hearts before we witness that long night of Suffering which begins in the Garden of Gethsemane and ends at Calvary. Our Precious Savior had two things in mind when He took His first steps on that fateful night. One was Glorifying His Father through fulfilling His destiny, the other was us. Let’s travel with Him to Gethsemane.
Picture with me a moonlit night. The disciples have just enjoyed their least meal with Jesus. They are not aware that it is their last meal yet. Judas Iscariot goes out into the night to alert the betrayers, unbeknownst to the other disciples. They sing a Hymn together after the meal and make their way to a place quite familiar to them. Jesus has gone here before. A place sheltered in Olive Trees. Christ’s fate is sealed, His destiny approaches. He comes here to die. Jesus spoke of his death and suffering often. But we didn’t hear him, we, His disciples.
14 I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me,
15 even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father;
and I lay down My life for the sheep.
16 I have other sheep, which are not of this fold;
I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice;
and they will become one flock with one shepherd.
17 For this reason the Father loves Me,
because I lay down My life so that I may take it again.
18 No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative.
I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.
This commandment I received from My Father.”
Notice what I emboldened here. Christ had the authority to lay his own life down and the authority to take it up again. Jesus was no victim of some lame plot by men of power. He had a predetermined Destiny that He was to fulfill. These men of power were a part of Christ’s story, not the other way around.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world,
that we would be holy and blameless before Him.
In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ
to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,
6 to the praise of the glory of His grace,
which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1, vs 3-6)
Before the foundations of the world the stage was set. Christ knew we would cost Him his life before He even created us. Yet, His love was such, that He created us anyway. The Bible tells us:
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
We are “the joy set before Him.” It is our faces He sees as He endures that Suffering.
Such is the Love of God.