Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Our Old Testament passage from Isaiah chapter 50 points very clearly to Jesus. He is the one who speaks to our troubles, who listens, who does what is right without rebellion. He is the one who, in verse six, gives his back and his cheeks to those who tore out his beard. He goes willingly into trouble, knowing that God will vindicate him.
There are generally two directions that preaching about this passage can go. Actually, there’s one direction which it normally goes, and another direction in which it should go. The way it normally goes is to reduce Jesus to the level of an example. Now I know that Jesus is an example, but he is not only an example. Unfortunately, this passage is often used to reduce Jesus’ role. We saw how Jesus suffered. We need to be like him in his suffering. We find Jesus uncomplaining when people sin against him. We need to do the same. When we do it well enough, we are shown to be like Jesus.
That’s all well and good. but what of the times we fail? Can we find forgieness? What was Jesus doing when all this transpired? Does it even matter that he was dying in my place for my sin? Thatis the direction this passage actually points. It shows a Saviorwho gives himself for me. All the suffering he is subjected to is suffering I desere. He undergoes it all without complaint because he cares for me. His love and sacrifice are powerful on my behalf.
Make no mistake. Here Jesus is presented in his self-sacrificing power. That is his right role, as the one who can rescue from death itself. My role is now to trust him and faithfully receive his gifts. This is true Gospel.
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