Summary: God Entered human suffering in order to transform it with his presence.
Sermon - Healed by His Passion - Sunday March 7, 2004
Last Sunday the Academy Awards were watched as usual by about a billion people worldwide.It’s the biggest and considered by many to be the most important awards event in the entertainment world.
The awards were hosted this year again by comic Billy Crystal. Before the show started he said he was nervous standing up and doing his thing before the whole world, because, he said, a billion people is a tough room. Good line.
And believe it or not, that got me thinking. The world is a tough room. The world is a tough place. Bitterly tough. And life is no picnic for most people in the world. In the past year alone there has been a nightmare of a war in Iraq.
We’ve had terror attacks, we’ve had deadly disease in our own city. There have been religious slaughters - like the one in Iraq this past week where hundreds died during what was suppose to be a joyful religious celebration kind of like our Christmas. Families devastated in a way that we can’t even imagine.
There has been so much suffering all around us...and some of us have suffered this year as well. Some have lost loved ones. Some have slipped in their recovery from addiction. Some have had to deal with pain that the rest of us mostly don’t know about.. And there is not one person here today who does not need to be held and healed and sheltered from the storm that we call life.
Solomon wrote, very soberly: “What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labours under the sun? 23All his days his work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest”
The world is a tough room. It is a hard place to do life. No doubt about it. And we need to be
sheltered, yes, absolutely...but what of the pain and what of the wounds we have already received in life? What are we to do with our present suffering? Is God...part of the picture...at all. Or are we alone?
It may be rare that we actually slow down long enough to smell the roses let alone reflect on such
things. We come by business and distraction very easily nowadays. Let’s take a moment to think
about what God says in his Word about what He has done for us...to speak to our need for healing.
I want to focus in on six verses that have something direct to say about healing.
Let’s look again at Isaiah 53:
3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering, like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by Him,and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
In this prophetic passage written at 700 years before Jesus Christ was born we learn of something that was in God’s mind long before Jesus was ever born among us.
That’s the value of prophesy to us now. Originally prophesy testified to the truth of something
yet to come. For the early church when they would look back at the Old Testament scriptures and see these things that were predicted of Jesus that they had witnessed as they happened, they were convinced and inspired to keep on keeping on.
But for us, we look back at these passages that Predict what was going to happen to Christ and
we see something of the mind of God, something of his plans.
Jer 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not
to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
God had a plan, and his plan was Christ. Sometimes people think that the incarnation was plan B. god originally intended something else...somehow that He was not aware of all that would happen in the garden, in the flood and in our rebellion in general. God was surprised by all this, so the theory goes, and so as a reaction to this unexpected turn of events he sent Jesus. Nothing could be further from the truth.
From the beginning, before the beginning when there was only God and nothing else, God had a plan, and that plan was Christ. Revelations in 13:8 says that Christ was “slain before the foundation of the world”. It was in God’s mind that Jesus should come to us in the flesh and suffer in the flesh as one of us. So...