Summary: A devotion for believers
“I GAVE MY BACK TO THOSE WHO STRIKE ME, AND MY CHEEKS TO THOSE WHO PLUCK OUT THE BEARD; I DID NOT COVER MY FACE FROM HUMILIATION AND SPITTING. 7 FOR THE LORD GOD HELPS ME, THEREFORE, I AM NOT DISGRACED; THEREFORE, I HAVE SET MY FACE LIKE FLINT, AND I KNOW THAT I SHALL NOT BE ASHAMED.”
These words were written hundreds of years before Jesus was born; yet they are prophecies of what would happen to Him, and look how accurate they are!
If you want a more complete picture of His sufferings, also written hundreds of years in advance, read Isaiah 53.
They did whip Jesus. They used a cat-o-ninetails. It had nine leather thongs, at the end of which they would tie small jagged stones or pieces of bone. Each time they whipped the victim, those jagged items would dig into the flesh and slice or tear it open. by the time they were done whipping Jesus His bones were actually showing. They did strike His cheeks with their fists, and they did pull handfuls of His beard out. If you read the Gospel accounts, you’ll see that by the time they were ready to crucify Him He was “hardly recognizable as a man”. They did spit on Him. Imagine. He was the one who gave them life. He could have spoken them out of existence with just a word, but He was there to pay for their sins also, so He stood quietly and let them do these things.
But Isaiah, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, foretells the loyalty and obedience Christ was to have for His heavenly Father. See verse 7?
“For the Lord God helps Me”
The letter to the Hebrews tells us that in the days of His flesh He prayed with loud crying and tears to the One who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His dedication and loyalty. It is not only referring to the time He spent in the garden of Gethsemene prior to His arrest. It is a commentary on a life and ministry marked by obedience and absolute dedication to His work and the Father’s will. His was a life that fleshed out the cry, "Nevertheless, not My will, but Thine be done."
That’s what it means here in Isaiah where it says, “I have set my face like flint”.
He knew He had come to die, and He knew better than any man, the terrible suffering He would endure. More than that, He knew that for the first time in all of eternity He would have to face being separated momentarily from the Father; because He was to become sin for all men, (“...who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree”) and God cannot look on sin. He was experiencing that separation from the Father when He cried, “My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?”
But knowing all that, He “set His face like flint”. In other words, He went deliberately to His death, and would not be hindered or turned aside. He had it to do, and He was confident that the Father would not only help Him, but honor Him later. Which He did. Romans 1:4 tells us that the Father expressed His approval by raising Him from the dead.
That’s the kind of Lord we have. And if we follow His example of obedience and faith, we can also be just as sure in our hearts that the Father will help us, and honor us.