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Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him.
3 He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
4 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
6 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.
7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
9 And they made His grave with the wicked– But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth.
10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.
Thanksgiving is now behind us and the Christmas season is upon us. I hope that, however this may find you, there are many things you could think of to thank God for. It’s a choice, you know, whether we place our focus on what we lack or what we have. It’s a choice to be negative or positive, and whether we will be a help to others or a hindrance. For all of the difficulties we may rehearse, please keep in mind all of the blessings we can give God praise for, and focus on the good. We can thank God for everything, though, because we know as believers that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Take a moment and think over the verses for today from Isaiah 53. These verses are rife with difficulty, aren’t they? When we celebrate the Christmas season, we generally think of a gentle baby lying in a manger and a soft setting surrounding Him. Jesus Christ came into this world in very humbling circumstances and was put on the cross in absolute humiliation by the crowds surrounding Him. Do you think that He knew the words of Isaiah 53 in reference to Himself before He came? Of course He did, He’s the Son of God, equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Isaiah 53 is powerful, in part, because the Lord knew what He was walking into when He came into this world. He knew how He would be treated, how would be misunderstood and sinned against and the incredible injustices He would suffer, even to the point of death. Yet He also knew Whom He was serving: the Father. He knew why He was here: to proclaim salvation and to provide it through His sacrificial death on the cross. He knew the price He would pay, and yet He came and dwelt among men and suffered at their sinful hands to provide us with life and truth.
In bridging Thanksgiving and Christmas, it’s often our perspectives that can keep us from seeing how good we really have it. We may only focus on what we don’t have, such fleeting desires at times, only to fail to see that the Lord Jesus Christ, the one spoken of in Isaiah 53, has made Himself our Lord upon faith in Him. How would you respond if you went through the things listed above? Would it drain you of your hope? Would it make you cynical and isolated? Would you complain and fight back? Regardless of what we might do, Jesus went through it all and never wavered in His commitment to the Father’s will or in His perfect character. Isaiah 53 speaks both to the character of Jesus and the character of sinners and the stark contrast between the two. God is so, so good to us despite the ways we have treated Him. Despite our failure to be thankful like we should or to give Him praise or top priority in our lives. His faithfulness to us is the most beautiful thing about our relationship to Him. As Christmas draws near, don’t forget the goodness of God in light of the sinfulness of people just like you and me. Grace is never merited, only freely bestowed upon those God chooses to bless.
Please keep my family and others in your prayers as we had been exposed to COVID a couple days ago. Our love goes out to the church and we hope you are all staying well yourselves. Thank you.
God be with you!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.