Thursday, December 7, 2017

Fw: The unwelcome rescuer

If you were drowning in the ocean it isn't likely that you'd ignore, despise, or reject the rescue helicopter, as it lowered a hook to save you.  But we see in the prophecy of Isaiah, written about 700 years before the first Christmas, that this is exactly the reaction of most people...consider the beginning of Isaiah, chapter 53:

53 Who has believed what he has heard from us?
    And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
    and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
    and no beauty that we should desire him. 
He was despised and rejected by men,
    a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
    he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him

    the iniquity of us all.

We know from the gospel of John that Jesus had been with the Father from the very beginning and directly participated in the Creation...including the creation of man.  But when He showed up on earth "he was despised and rejected by men".  The very ones he had formed turned their backs on him.  But that didn't deter him from fulfilling his purpose for "Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows".  But what has been the response of many to this: "we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted".  We decided to interpret his death on the Cross as a crushing punishment by God and deny the power of that death.  It was a death that had rescue stamped all over it: "he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace".   Amazingly, "with his wounds we are healed".
But what is our response to this courageous one who was ignored, rejected and denied: "All we like sheep have gone astray;  we have turned-every one-to his own way."
Yet, the end of the 12th verse in this chapter says: "yet he bore the sin of many,
    and makes intercession for the transgressors."
Jesus was prophesied in Isaiah 700 years ahead of His coming and our response to His coming is not entirely a pretty picture.  His faithfulness and God's awesome rescue plan goes beyond is the epitome of grace.

"Death is inevitable.  Life is a choice!"

John 11:25
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live."

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