52:13 “Just watch my servant blossom! Exalted, tall, head and shoulders above the crowd! But he didn’t begin that way. At first everyone was appalled. He didn’t even look human—a ruined face, disfigured past recognition. Nations all over the world will be in awe, taken aback, kings shocked into silence when they see him. For what was unheard of they’ll see with their own eyes, what was unthinkable they’ll have right before them.”
53 Who believes what we’ve heard and seen? Who would have thought God’s saving power would look like this? The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling, a scrubby plant in a parched field. There was nothing attractive about him, nothing to cause us to take a second look. He was looked down on and passed over, a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand. One look at him and people turned away. We looked down on him, thought he was scum. But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us. We thought he brought it on himself, that God was punishing him for his own failures. But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins! He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed. We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost. We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way. And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong, on him, on him.
He was beaten, he was tortured, but he didn’t say a word. Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered and like a sheep being sheared, he took it all in silence.
Justice miscarried, and he was led off—and did anyone really know what was happening?
He died without a thought for his own welfare, beaten bloody for the sins of my people.
They buried him with the wicked, threw him in a grave with a rich man,
Even though he’d never hurt a soul or said one word that wasn’t true.
Still, it’s what God had in mind all along, to crush him with pain.
The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin so that he’d see life come from it—life, life, and more life.
And God’s plan will deeply prosper through him.
Out of that terrible travail of soul, he’ll see that it’s worth it and be glad he did it.
Through what he experienced, my righteous one, my servant, will make many “righteous ones,” as he himself carries the burden of their sins.
Therefore I’ll reward him extravagantly—the best of everything, the highest honors—
Because he looked death in the face and didn’t flinch, because he embraced the company of the lowest. He took on his own shoulders the sin of the many, he took up the cause of all the black sheep.
Back in December, we took an entire weeks offering and chose to give it away to ministries right here in Castle Rock. None of it was used to pay the church bills, we gave it all away!
It was such a joy for us to be able to hand over a check to each of these wonderful ministries in our town! Pastor Mark took some video when he went around delivering the checks, view it here:
Giving to our Community
Are there two words that mean more than these two in our vocabulary?
They are like a wrecking ball, a 2×4 upside the noggin, or a tsunami about to hit shore. Or conversely it can be the touch of a loving hand at just the right time, a gentle word that turns away wrath, an ordinance specialist dismantling a highly explosive bomb, a heralded arrival of Father’s Glory, or a soothing balm. They both show a side of things often forgotten. They reveal a nature outside our own. They highlight a sovereign, loving Father whose ways are far above our ways.
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 1 Cor 1:27 NIV
Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. Phil 2:27 NIV
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, Eph 2:4 NASB
So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. Gal 4:7 NIV
I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. 1 Cor 3:6 NASB
Sometimes when a thing is over used it becomes less significant.
Sometimes when a saying is repeated too often it becomes pithy.
I have thought the latter about the saying above. There was a time when it was reiterated so often that it lost its punch. ”you are blessed to be a blessing.” I didn’t resent it, but it did become diluted to the point of it meaning less.
The reality of it is still true. When each of us walks in the blessing of the Lord, that blessing is not supposed to be bottled up and kept. Instead, that blessing is to be shared with others. And, not sparingly, but generously. If we glory in our blessing and don’t share it, then it becomes an idol. It can become a golden calf. We do things to worship the blessing and think it has everything to do with us and leave Father out of it. This is not kingdom-thinking.
Instead, we need to recognize that EVERYTHING under the sun, including the sun, is a gift from Father. All our strength, health, jobs, finances, gifts, talents, time, family, outpouring of love, prayers– everything emanates from the heart of Father. Our kindness towards others is a reflection and seed in our hearts is from Him. We have the choice to listen and obey or not.
I’d rather obey. I’d rather not build a golden calf. I’d rather have true riches. Jesus said, “So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches” (Luke 16:11).
In our travels through the book of Luke, we have made it to the Easter season 2014 at the same time we read and preach the last moments of Jesus life on the cross.
This past Sunday was Luke Part 123 in a series of sermons taking us all the way through the book of Luke. This has taken five years, yet has been met with interludes along the way like Christmas, Easter, B90X, and other short book or series studies.
I don’t think this is by accident that we meet right now with a intersection of these ideas.
The thought I had this morning related both to the sermon last Sunday and the group of men I have the privilege of meeting with every Wednesday morning. I don’t even begin to think that I have the all-inclusive, final answer to every section of scripture which I preach. For this past Sunday, the Holy Spirit lead me to share some particular ideas relating to the four verses surrounding the two thieves crucified at the same time as Jesus.
The cool thing which happened this morning at coffee was how much more there is to the story than meets the eye. Nearly all six of us which spoke up about it, had a little different take, inflection, or depth to the story than the others. Granted we all had the same foundational view. However, each of us brought a different light, perspective, or world-view to the passage. It was mighty.
One of the things our time together this morning reminded me was how alive and living the Word of God is. Taking the time to meditate on it can bring to light all sorts of things. Rather than me thinking I have to have all the answers for everyone each and every Sunday, some ideas are spread around like the sower and his seed in Matt. 13, and those seeds fall on different kinds of hearts and lives and grow (or don’t grow) in all sorts of ways.
This was a really rich time for me. Thank you Jim, Chris, Rick, Vince, Nathan, and Bill for sharing your hearts and thoughts on the Living Word of God.