DAY 15 |

BORN TO SUFFER, SERVE, AND TO SAVE

Scripture Reading: Mathew 20:28; Luke 22:20; Isaiah 52:13-53:12

Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
— Matthew 20:28
In the same way he also took the cup after supper and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”
— Luke 22:20
See, my servant will be successful; he will be raised and lifted up and greatly exalted.
14 Just as many were appalled at you— his appearance was so disfigured that he did not look like a man, and his form did not resemble a human being—
15 so he will sprinkle many nations. Kings will shut their mouths because of him, for they will see what had not been told them, and they will understand what they had not heard.
53 Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a young plant and like a root out of dry ground. He didn’t have an impressive form or majesty that we should look at him, no appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of suffering who knew what sickness was. He was like someone people turned away from; he was despised, and we didn’t value him.
4 Yet he himself bore our sicknesses, and he carried our pains; but we in turn regarded him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced because of our rebellion, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on him, and we are healed by his wounds.
6 We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the Lord has punished him for the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth. Like a lamb led to the slaughter and like a sheep silent before her shearers, he did not open his mouth.
8 He was taken away because of oppression and judgment; and who considered his fate? For he was cut off from the land of the living; he was struck because of my people’s rebellion.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, but he was with a rich man at his death, because he had done no violence and had not spoken deceitfully.
10 Yet the Lord was pleased to crush him severely. When you make him a guilt offering, he will see his seed, he will prolong his days, and by his hand, the Lord’s pleasure will be accomplished.
11 After his anguish, he will see light and be satisfied. By his knowledge, my righteous servant will justify many, and he will carry their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him the many as a portion, and he will receive the mighty as spoil, because he willingly submitted to death, and was counted among the rebels; yet he bore the sin of many and interceded for the rebels.
— Isaiah 52:13-53:12

As we reflect on and celebrate Christ’s coming on this side of the cross, it is helpful to remember that Israel was expectantly longing for the Messiah to come, not knowing when he might appear. They were watching, waiting, for a man of royal birth with prestige, position, and power. What they didn’t expect was a Christ born in humble conditions, to common parents, growing up to work as a carpenter. They expected a popular king, not a suffering servant, to save them.

These words resonate with me as I write them. I think that if some two thousand years ago I was looking for the Messiah, I wouldn’t start that search in a manger. It seems illogical to us that the Savior of the world would come to suffer and to serve us. That is counter to everything the world tells us to look for in a savior.

However, those are the words God spoke through the prophet Isaiah. The servant coming to save would not have an “impressive form...no appearance that we should desire him.” That he would be “despised and rejected by men, a man of suffering who knew what sickness was.”  We see that the coming Christ would be a man acquainted with grief, and pain, who had a heart to serve those whom he came to redeem through his death. This was all prophesied hundreds of years before Jesus was born!

Christ reinforced this prophecy when he declared, that “he came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” And that he would establish the New Covenant with his blood. Baby Jesus would grow up to ultimately reconcile sinful humanity with our holy God; thus saving us from the punishment we deserved.

Jesus saves, but not in the way most expected Him to. He came to serve, ultimately through his death on the cross, and as followers of Jesus, we are to serve as well. He came to suffer on our behalf, and we are reminded that this life may not be easy, or comfortable, but because of Jesus we will not have to suffer for eternity. We have a hope being reconciled through his death, for a future where the King will reign on His throne, exalted at the right hand of the Father, receiving the praise, honor, and glory in fanfare we expected Him to come with originally.

 

Reflection Questions:

1.     Jesus came to serve. As we desire to model his life, how have you served this last year? How has it brought you joy? What is one new way you could serve regularly at City Church?

2.     Christmas can be a time where you feel very blessed, or may experience much pain. In Isaiah 53:1-12, we see that Christ is well acquainted with pain and suffering. How does Jesus’ experience with pain and suffering comfort you in difficult times? In times of difficulty, how can Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection bring you joy?

 

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