Surely he has borne our griefs

and carried our sorrows;

yet we esteemed him stricken,

smitten by God and afflicted.

Isaiah 53: 4

 

Isaiah saw things that were outside of his own time and beyond the scope of the world here he lived. He certainly must have been a man with a powerful imagination, but he was even more a person who listened well to what God had to say. His story points to the fact that he desired to know his God well and that he was willing to submit himself to serving God with all of his being, and God responded to Isaiah’s deep commitment to Him by granting to him the vision of a prophet. Here Isaiah is looking some 700 years into the future to see God’s provision of the Messiah, the one who would come to bring salvation to the people of Israel and to the rest of the world as well. Isaiah tells us of God come into our midst in this world, but he also tells about the humanity of this new form of king as Isaiah’s telling portrays the servant nature that would characterize Jesus.

 

In this section of the prophecy we see something about Jesus, and so, about God, Himself that I think matters greatly. For we get the picture of the way that our sin and the brokenness of this world weigh upon God. He is not immune to feeling and to experiencing the pain and the suffering of the people of this earth. He is close to us so that He is very aware of what is transpiring in this world, and what we think, say, and do matters greatly to our Lord. Thus, when we attack each other, God knows our pain; as people oppress others, He knows great sorrow; in our hours of desperation and loneliness, the Lord knows our tears and longing; and when these bodies fail us, Christ desires to hold us up in our weakness and comfort us in our pain. Jesus lived in the swirling cloud of the suffering of this world, He breathed in its caustic dust, and Christ knew the anger, rejection, and pain that our sinfulness poured out upon Him personally, Jesus experienced the rejection that humanity threw in the face of God, and Christ still granted grace, mercy and the love of eternity to each of us who turn to Him.

 

God’s grace and His intention to lavish it upon His Creation is a truth that comes from far beyond the extent of time as we count it. The grace that redeems and that restores is rooted and grounded in the nature of God, and it finds its expression out of the Lord’s character. This nature and character are extraordinarily relational, for God operates in close proximity to all that His hands have made. Thus, He feels what we do feel, and He responds to all that we experience. Jesus knew in His flesh and in His spirit the full range of all that we encounter in life, and He walks through it all with us. As we live in this world with the sorrow and the pain of sin infused into its twisted fabric, there is no escape from hardship and sorrow; yet, these struggles and their attendant pain and grief can be times of growing significantly more in touch with the presence of Christ in our lives. He is here with us, and His presence is not that of a distant observer. Instead, the Spirit of Christ is within our experience of all that comes our way, and He will grant to us the comfort of an eternal perspective and the mercy of a peace that enfolds the hardship of life in the embrace of the true lover of our souls.

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