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Jesus is praying for you – Part 10

Jesus IS praying for us! 

Isaiah 53:12

“Therefore, I will give Him a portion among the great, and He will divide the spoils with the strong, because He poured out His life to death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For He bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors.”

This is the last verse in Isaiah 53, and the last one before we look more closely at Jesus’ prayer for us, recorded in John 17.  So far in Isaiah 53, we’ve learned that:

~God revealed the suffering of His Son over 750 years before Christ was born
~Jesus grew up before the Father, to become our mediator and intercessor
~He was despised and rejected
~He was made like us and experienced suffering beyond understanding
~Jesus took God’s wrath on Himself, giving us Grace and Peace in it’s place
~He was a picture of divine submission and humility
~He was misunderstood, perceived as a criminal
~No deceit was found in Jesus
~It was the Father’s will to cause Him to suffer as a sacrifice for our sins
~Jesus completely satisfied the Father and the requirements for our Salvation.

~Now, Jesus receives a reward, “a portion among the great, and He will divide the spoil with the strong.”  The Father has said to Jesus,'”Well done!'” In Psalms 2:7, 8 NIV:

“I will proclaim the decree of the Lord: he said to Me, ‘You are my Son, today I have become your Father.  Ask of Me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth Your possession.'”

~The Father has blessed the Son, saying, “Ask,” intercede, pray, and I will make the nations as Your inheritance.  Jesus has obeyed, completely, and wholly everything that the Father wills. 

~”He was numbered with the transgressors.”  He appeals for us, because He has become sin who knew no sin, so we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor.5:21).  We are drawn to the One who made this exchange on our behalf, and can trust Him with everything, because He lives to pray and mediate for us!

“But because Jesus lives forever, He has a permanent priesthood. Therefore, He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them.” Hebrews 7:24,25

“For there is one God and One Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all men–the testimony given in its proper time.” I Timothy 2:5,6 NIV

“How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!  For this reason Christ is the Mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance–now that He has died as a  ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.”  Hebrews 9:14,15 NIV

Jesus poured out His life, bore our sins, became our ransom, and now intercedes for us according to the will of God.  As He prays, He anticipates and rejoices in the day when He may divide the “spoils” of  joy, peace, and eternal life with all those who believe in Him.  Thank you Lord! 

 Next:  Beginning John 17, His Prayer

Jesus is praying for you – Part 9

SATISFIED!!

Isaiah 53:11
“After the suffering of His soul, He will see the light of life and be satisfied; by His knowledge My righteous servant will justify many and He will bear their iniquities.”

I see the key to Isaiah 53, as well as the gospel message itself, in the word “Satisfied.”  God the Father, the creator of Life says, “I am satisfied with what was accomplished through My Son Jesus! ”  So far in our discussion of Isaiah 53, we’ve noted that the entire plan of salvation originated from the Father;  it was the Fathers’ creation, the Father’s plan, the Fathers’ purpose, the Father’s pleasure, the Father’s will, and the Father’s Son–so He can rightly say, I am satisfied!  In agreement, Jesus said on the cross,

 It is finished!” 

Satisfy/Satisfaction Defined:
“1. (a) Anything that brings gratification, pleasure, or contentment, (b) settlement of debt, payment of discharge of obligation, (c) reparation of injury or insult, (d) atonement for sin.
2. to fulfill the needs, expectations, wishes or desires of, to fulfill or answer the requirements or conditions of..”  New World Dictionary

In the Hebrew, saba, usually expresses God’s ability to  “satisfy or supply man with material needs”  (Vines Dictionary), as in  “Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things, so that they youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Ps 103:5 KJV

The word pleased expresses the same meaning, as we see in the words of the Father,
 “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Matt.3:17 NIV
“As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied when I awake, with Thy likeness.”  Psalm 17:15 KJV
“They shall be abundantly satisfied with the abundance of Thy House; and Thou shall make them drink of the river of Thy pleasures.” Psalm 36:8 KJV

It is mankind who can never be satisfied.  Contrast Proverbs 27:20,

“Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.”

with Psalm 63:4,5,

My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise Thee with joyful lips.”

Often I struggle with resting in His Word when it states that the Father is completely Satisfied.  Yet, He is..and because of His satisfaction, I am accepted in the Beloved–Jesus! 

The fruit of GOD’s Satisfaction is Our Satisfaction:

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters, and you who have no money, come buy and eat!  Come, buy wine and milk without money, without cost.  Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labour on what does not satisfy?

Listen, listen to Me, and eat what is good and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.  Give ear and come to Me; hear Me that you soul may live.  I will make and everlasting covenant with you, My unfailing kindness promised to David.”  Isaiah 55:1-3 NIV

Jesus comforts us with His call:

Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart and ye shall find rest (satisfaction), unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matt. 11:28-30 KJV

And quoting the Lord, the prophet says in Jeremiah 31:13,14:

“‘I will turn your mourning into joy and will comfort you and make you rejoice from your sorrow.  And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness and My people shall be satisfied with My goodness,’ saith the Lord.” (KJV) 

Ultimately, the Lord has both set and met (satisfied)the Standard–all for us!

Next time–He intercedes for us

Jesus is praying for you – Part 8

Over the centuries, there’s been a lot of accusations made regarding who actually killed Jesus Christ.  In 2004, when the “Passion” movie, directed by Mel Gibson, was nearing release, the media and numerous religious groups were worried that the film would anger audiences and target Jewish people with the blame of Christ’s death, to the point of micromanaging some of Mr. Gibson’ screenplay.  But our passage out of Isaiah clarifies Who set the stage for the death of Jesus.

 Isaiah 53:10

“Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer, and though the Lord makes His life a guilt offering, He will see His offspring and prolong His days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in His hand.”

It was the Father’s will.  Not out of cruelty for His Son, but out of love us!  God wanted to redeem mankind, and bring them into restored relationship with Himself–through Jesus Christ.  His ultimate goal is forgiveness and adoption into God’s family through Jesus’ death on the Cross and His resurrection.  So if we look at the suffering apart from the Lord’s goal, we miss the point.

 “We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honour, because He suffered death, so that by the grace of God, He might taste death for everyone.  In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for Whom and through Whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering.”  Hebrews 2:9, 10 NIV

Why the need for Christ’s suffering, death, the cross, the blood of the innocent One?  Could there not have been a better way?  Creation around us declares the wonder and glory of God, but doesn’t explain His holiness, sense of justice, judgment of sin, wrath toward sin, and His inability to associate intimately with unrighteousness. All that we know of God, His thoughts, His ways, is revealed in Scriptures. Through them we see that God alone is the One who determines the conditions of redemption, restoration and fellowship. 

God’s gift of His Son was planned before time began. Jesus Himself said,

‘Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory? ‘Then he started at the beginning with the Books of Moses, and went on through all the Prophets, pointing out everything in the Scriptures that referred to Him.” Luke 24:26, 27

Every book throughout the Bible tells the same story–that Christ’s life, death and resurrection was planned by God, for our ultimate redemption. 

“Since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death–that is the devil–and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death….For this reason, He had to be made like His brothers in every way, in order that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that He might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.”  Hebrews 2:14-18

“..this grace was given me to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone my administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, Who created all things.  His intent was that now, through the Church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rules and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to His eternal purpose, which was accomplished through Jesus Christ our Lord.”     Ephesians 3:9-11 NIV

The mystery of redemption was hidden in God and revealed through Jesus.

“My [Apostle Paul’s] purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full richness of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasure of wisdom and knowledge.”   Col. 2:2-3

WHY???

 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes on Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”     John 3:16

~~It was God who crushed the Son.

~~For US–our sin and rebellion–the Son endured unknown suffering and agony and death.  Through His obedience, we receive forgiveness, peace, joy, grace, hope, a new life and a renewed and restored relationship with the Father!

“Therefore, He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him because He always lives to intercede for them.”  Hebrews 7:25 (NIV)

 

 Next–Satisfied!

Jesus is praying for you – Part 7

The calendar is telling us it’s time to remember Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.  But to many of us, Everyday is the day to reflect on the reality of the Cross, Jesus’ suffering and death, and His ultimate victory over Satan and death.  So, let us continue with our discussion on Jesus, and His qualifications to become the ultimate Advocate.

Belief or trust in the words of another can be difficult.  We’ve all undergone various experiences of being misled, lied to, deceived, let down, and disillusioned by others.  Deception comes in a lot of forms and from many directions–most obviously, from candidates “advertising” their worth so we will vote for them, but more commonly and much more often from those closest to us–family, friends, those in the church, etc.  But no deceit is found in Jesus.  His very life and spoken word is consistent, unwavering, and true, beyond comparison.  

Isaiah 53:9

“He was assigned a grave with the wicked and with the rich in His death, though He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth.”

Jesus was identified as a criminal because He was crucified between two men convicted of actual crimes.  Yet we know Jesus was pure in heart and soul.  He was/is the innocent, sinless, Lamb of God! 

Following this type of death, His body would have been discarded as a common criminal, burned in a dump, or placed in a common grave.  However, Joseph of Arimathea, a rich and respected leader in the Jewish community, asked Pilate to allow him to take Jesus’ body and place Him in his own grave.  So Jesus was “assigned” to a rich man’s tomb just as Isaiah prophesied 750 years earlier.

“..nor was any deceit found in His mouth.”  Anyone who encountered Jesus during His life on earth, knew Him to be a man of truth.  But most of them “couldn’t handle the truth!”

“From this time many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him.  ‘Do you want to leave too?’ Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.  We believe and know that You are the Holy One of God.'” John 6:66-69 NIV

There is no one else in this world who speaks such truth and has never been marred by deceit!  Pilate was awestruck by Jesus, His innocence, and His integrity.

“‘You are a King, then!’ said Pilate.  Jesus answered, ‘You are right in saying I am a King.  In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to Me.’   ‘What is truth?’ Pilate asked.  With this he went out again to the Jews and said, ‘I find no basis for a charge against Him.'” John 18:37, 38 NIV

Pilate was face to face with the truth. But he couldn’t handle it.

“I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but by Me.” John 14:6

Since there is “no deceit in His Mouth”, we can trust Jesus without reservation. And we can trust everything He said without exception.  If we trust in Him, without ever seeing Him, He says we are blessed!  As He told His disciple, Thomas:

“Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”  John 20:29 NIV

Jesus assures us that we are His disciples when we believe His words, and as a result, we are blessed by Him!

Why do we still doubt the one Who died while we were yet sinners and loved us before we were born?

Next–Who killed Jesus?

Jesus is praying for you – Part 6

Have you ever been misjudged? Have you been accused of doing something when you haven’t done it? Maybe you’ve even been punished for an offense you didn’t do, but known who really did it?  We  don’t like to be misunderstood.  Yet, can we even begin to comprehend what it was and is like for God, the Creator of the universe, to be falsely judged as an evil God, One Who doesn’t care about the world’s suffering and death–when, in fact, He took on Himself all the sin, suffering, pain, guilt, and even the misunderstanding of the world, on His own shoulders!?? On the cross!

Isaiah 53:8

“By oppression and judgement, He was taken away, and who can speak of His descendants?  For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people, He was stricken.”

An alternate reading or translation of this verse may be “by oppression and judgement He was taken away,  and as for His generation, who among them considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due? (Amplified Bible)

Jesus was arrested and judged to be a blasphemer (a liar and defiler of deity) by the religious leaders of the day, and proclaimed “King of the Jews”, a Roman edict of treason.  He was regarded by His own Jewish people and the entirety of the Roman government as being tried and punished rightly for such crimes.  Yet this passage in Isaiah 53 clearly reveals that Jesus was crucified for the transgressions (crimes and wrongdoings) of everyone else, including the very ones who sentenced, judged and crucified Him!   They didn’t see it.  Rather, they actually fulfilled prophesy by their false accusations and judgements.  Who among them, who in His generation, understood this at that time?

“He was in the world and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him.  He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him.  Yet to ALL who received Him, to those who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God–children not born of natural descent, nor of human decision, or a husband’s will, but born of God.” John 1:10-13

Next Time–Truth encounters deceit.

Jesus is praying for you – Part 5

Jesus is a picture of divine submission and humility.  He demonstrated obedience to His Father’s will perfectly.  What a contrast to our own obedience at times.  On those occasions when we do obey the will or promptings of the Lord, it’s easy to feel prideful.  Yet Jesus led the way to obedience, and did so quietly. 

Isaiah 53:7

“He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; He was led like a lamb to the slaughter and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so He did not open His mouth.”

The ultimate humiliation imaginable–naked, nailed to a cross for all to see, falsely judged and condemned by others for treason and blasphemy.  Jesus experienced that–for us!  Jesus took our place, in suffering, shame, and death.  He spoke not a word. 

~We can learn about humility from Jesus as we observe His actions and attitude.   

The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honour.” Prov 15:33 NIV

“Humility and the fear of the Lord brings wealth and honour and life.” Prov.22:4 NIV 

~And we can learn more of humility as we abide in Him, allowing His humble nature to be expressed in and through us.

“Young men, in the same way, be submissive to those who are older. Clothe yourselves in humility toward one another, because ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ [Prov.3:34]  Humble yourselves therefore under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”
I Peter 5:5-7 NIV

God gives grace to the humble.  He cares for us.  May this encourage us to draw nearer to Him for mercy and grace in times of need. He understands and prays for us in our pain, because He experienced a greater pain and shame. He is worthy of our honour and praise because He willingly subjected Himself to the ultimate humiliation, death on the cross, to restore our relationship with the Father, and show us the depth of His love.

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength, and honor and glory and blessing! ”
Rev 5:12 NIV

Next–On being misunderstood…

Jesus is praying for you – Part 4

The common phrase, “actions speak louder than words,” is demonstrated most profoundly in the life of our Lord.  Before He poured out His prayer for His disciples and us, in John 17, and before becoming our Intercessor forever, He prepared to speak love through action.  Punishment to peace.  That’s the exchange Jesus made on our behalf.

Isaiah 53:5

“But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds are we healed.”

The Father placed Jesus, His Son, in our place, and He became our substitute, suffering death for our sins.  Note the exchanges He made:

He was pierced~~for our sin

He was crushed~~for our iniquities

He was punished~~to bring us peace

He was wounded~~to give us healing

In order to bring us forgiveness and reconcile us to God, Jesus, Immanuel, God with us, took on our iniquities and transgressions, and became the sacrifice for them all.  He fully satisfied the Father and brought us healing of spirit and peace.

“For God was pleased to have all of His fullness dwell in Him and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross!”  Colossians 1:19, 20 NIV

Isaiah 53:6

“All we like sheep have gone astray each of us has turned to his own way, and the Lord has laid on HIM, the iniquity of us all.”

The question may be asked, “Astray” from what?  We have been led off course from God’s original intention and purpose for our lives.

What was God’s purpose?

~ To have fellowship with Him and be like Christ–not SELF-centered as every other voice declares.  As in Romans 8:29 (NIV), “…to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that He might be firstborn among many brothers.”  God created us in His image (Gen 1:26,27), but when sin and rebellion entered the human race through Satan and man’s deception, the picture changed. “The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on earth had become and that every inclination of the thoughts of His heart was only evil all the time.  The Lord was grieved that He had made man, and His heart was filled with pain.” Gen. 5:5,6 NIV

~God also created us for His pleasure, to enjoy fellowship with Him.  In the King James Version of Rev. 4:11, it says, “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power; for You have created all things, and for Your pleasure (will) they are and were created.”  The New KJV and NIV version says Will, rather than pleasure.  Because of the will of God we were created. 

 And God has willed to express His grace to us and not His wrath!  He poured out His wrath onto Jesus on the Cross.  That’s quite an exchange.  Wrath on Him, Grace for us.  Punishment for Peace.

Next time–Humility in Shame