Summary: If we want complete absolution for our sins and full recovery from our failures, then we must bow before Jesus as our Sovereign Lord, believe in Him who was scorned, bank on His substitutionary sacrifice; then we can benefit from his victory and success.
Max Lucado, in his book Facing Your Giants, talks about Rogers Cadenhead, who upon the death of Pope John Paul II, registered www.BenedictXVI.com as a new internet domain name before the new Pope’s name was even announced.
Now, the right domain name can prove pretty lucrative. For example, another name, PopeBenedictXVI.com, surpassed $16,000 on eBay. Cadenhead, however, didn’t want money. A Catholic himself, he was happy for the church to own the name. He would give it to them without asking for any money in return. He quipped, “I’m going to try and avoid angering 1.1 billion Catholics and my grandmother.”
He did want something else in return, though. In exchange for the name, Cadenhead sought: One of those hats; A free stay at the Vatican hotel; Complete absolution, no questions asked, for the third week of March, 1987.
Makes you wonder what happened that week, doesn’t it? It may even remind you of a week in your own life. (Max Lucado, Facing Your Giants, W Publishing Group, 2006, p.131-132; www.PreachingToday.com)
All of us have done some things for which we wish we could receive complete absolution. There are failures that we would like to forget and wish they never happened, because they have brought some damage into our lives, our relationships, and maybe even to our own families.
So what do we do in those cases? What do we do when we’ve messed up so bad that we can’t fix it? What do we do when our failures are too great to overcome? What do we do to take care of the sin that brings irreversible damage to our lives and our relationships?
Well, there’s an Old Testament prophet, who wrote to a group of people whose own sins brought damage not only to them personally, but to their entire nation, the nation of Judah. They were headed for Babylonian captivity as a result, but that prophet gives them hope for complete absolution and recovery from that failure.
That prophet is Isaiah, and his words are relevant not only for the ancient nation of Judah, they are just as relevant for us today. So if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Isaiah 52, Isaiah 52, where Isaiah tells us how we can recover from great failure and sin.
Isaiah 52:13-15 See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. Just as there were many who were appalled at him— his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness— so will he sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand. (NIV)
The answer is found in God’s Servant, who will “sprinkle many nations” clean from their sin. Now, this Servant is none other than Israel’s Messiah, Jesus, who was going to come and save his people from their sins. So if we want complete absolution for our sins and full recovery from our failures, then we must come to God’s Servant, Jesus Christ. We must…
BOW BEFORE HIM AS OUR SOVEREIGN KING.
We must submit to Christ as our Lord and our God. We must surrender to His authority in our lives.
Isaiah makes it very clear (vs.13): God’s Servant will be “lifted up and highly exalted.” These words in the original Hebrew language are used only of YHWH God in the book of Isaiah. In Isaiah 6, Isaiah says, “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, HIGH AND EXALTED (same words we have here), and the train of his robe filled the temple.” Then in Isaiah 33:10, YHWH says of Himself, “Now will I be EXALTED; now will I be LIFTED UP.” Well here in Isaiah 52:13, those same words are applied to God’s Servant, and that can only mean one thing. He is none other than God Himself. Jesus is deity.
He is the Sovereign Lord Himself, even though He was disfigured more than any other man, verse 14 says. You see, “[God] became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14), but we struck Him and whipped Him and spit on Him. Then we nailed Him to a cross.
People were appalled or astonished at his appearance on that cross, but that astonishment will be turned to awe as He dazzles kings and nations with His cleansing power (vs.15). The word, “sprinkle”, in verse 15 was used of the priests in the Old Testament who cleansed objects and people by sprinkling blood on them (Leviticus 14:7; 16:14-15). Well, here God’s Servant is seen sprinkling his own blood, shed at the cross, on many nations to sprinkle them clean from their sins. This is what is so amazing. This is what shuts kings’ mouths: that One so disfigured would have the power to forgive sins. Jesus, as God, is the only one who can forgive sins.