Isaiah 53-55; Psalm 128; 1 Corinthians 15

“I took on your emptiness so you can be whole.”

When He sees all that is accomplished by His anquish, He will be satisfied. Isaiah 53:11

Oswald Chambers, an early twentieth-century Scottish Baptist and Holiness Movement evangelist and teacher, best known for the devotional My Utmost for His Highest, was quoted as saying…

The cross did not happen to Jesus… He came on purpose for it… The cross is the point where God and sinful man merge with a crash and the way to life is opened… but the crash is on the heart of God.

Chambers quote had a similar effect on me as the movie The Passion of the Christ did... at times, almost too much to process. But… the facts are the facts… Jesus came to this world to be sacrificed for the world. So do my actions reflect an attitude of gratitude for this completely sacrificial love? If I am true to myself, the answer is no… not to the level it should be… perhaps that’s why lately I’ve been feeling alone… spiritually isolated… not able to feel God’s presence or hear His voice, and I’m questioning why? Have I done something wrong? Is God not pleased with me? Has He turned His back on me? Crazy questions? Perhaps… but it’s the go-to place when I don’t have answers to connect to unexplained feelings. So it is interesting that I’ve been tasked to reflect on Isaiah 53 in this season of deep reflection.

In order to save me, to save us, was Jesus’ death worth it? Isaiah 53 starts with us considering “Why? Why did You do it?” The question is real and I’ve been seeking an answer for some time… not from a lack of gratitude, but out of complete amazement and awe that our Lord and Savior would endure so much for me… for us. The harassment, excruciating pain from torture, ridicule, rejection, beatings, whippings, humiliation, grief, and separation from God the Father…

How many of us would suffer as Jesus did? How many of us would suffer what Jesus did for a people who were responsible for the terrible afflictions that He endured out of pure love for us and obedience from His Father?

The feeling surrounding Isaiah 53 is that of heartbreak and rejection, like a tragedy, but finishes with amazing hope and optimism for us as a people. God’s plan to crush His Son in our place will have triumphant effects in our spiritual and physical lives. In one scene in the recent movie Risen, Jesus returns to the disciples and smiles when He shows them the wounds He endured in His preparation for the cross. It was as though He was revealing that those holes were not really empty, but that those holes made it possible for Him to fill up our emptiness with His wholeness through His unconditional love!

Is our existence worth His death? Some 2000 years ago, He thought so… He died to give us life and hope for this day and every day until we are called home to be with Him when we will more fully understand this unconditional and sacrificial love. After reading and reflecting on Isaiah, there is hope in this spiritual quietness… perhaps the silence I’m feeling is God’s way of teaching me to be still, and to know that He is who He says He is… God of the universe!

Amazing Savior… there is no way that we can ever thank You enough for what You endured for us There is no way we could ever understand all You went through for us. And to think You did it all, knowing our simple humanness could never fully comprehend Your full suffering. Thank you… with all that I am… thank you!

Greg (gstefanelli)

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