Summary: We are devoting ourselves to a study of one of the powerful chapters in the Bible, Isaiah 53. It has been called the Bible in miniature. Many believe this is the best single chapter in the whole Bible to explain what happened on the cross.
This series is a tool to help shape your heart in preparation for Easter. Here are three brief reasons why you should rehearse the narrative of our Lord’s grief carefully:
1) Seeing Jesus’ Sorrow Lightens My Pain
One cannot think long about Jesus’ agony without tears. I have personally have had to pause in reading about Jesus’ week of trials and pain because of excessive emotion. When you stop to consider what Jesus went through, your heart breaks for His grief dwarfs our grief. While I would not want to minimize your grief even for a moment, for there is substantial pain and hurt in our world today. Yet, His agony makes our pain into light affliction. My pain can never been healed other than by His nailed-pierced hands.
2) Seeing Jesus’ Sorrow Stimulates My Passion
Not only does our hearts break at the sight of Jesus’ pain, but the cross of Jesus stimulates a passion for Christ inside me. Though you are nearly crushed by the sight of Jesus, there’s within you a strong, resolute and fervent passion for Him that explodes forward. Nothing is too hard for us to attempt and nothing is too difficult to endure for the One who sacrificed Himself for us. And while we are grieved to consider that our best will be so little in comparison to what He did, we are resolved in this: He deserves nothing less than our best.
3) Seeing Jesus’ Sorrow Destroys My Carelessness
His shame makes my indifference unthinkable. When I see His sufferings, my careless heart is disturbed and disrupted. I am weaned from my love of sin by hearing about Jesus’ pain on my behalf.
We are just four Sundays away from Easter – one of biggest celebrations in Christianity. Easter is the time when non-Christians will more easily come to church and we want to be prepared. We want to see people come to Christ this Easter. I want to see your friends, family members, and co-workers to experience the love of God this Easter. To accomplish this, your church is already preparing for this big day. Both at Cross Church and at NRHBC, we are rolling out the red carpet. Beginning Palm Sunday, we are extending our welcome into the parking lot with volunteers looking to greet people as well as extend a helping hand to those who look confused. We are setting up a Pastor Reception area after each service where our staff and me hope to meet guests you bring with you on that special day. We are putting the final touches on a simple communication card to be used on Easter Sunday. But I need you to step your game and this is how.
1. Invite someone to church with you on Easter Sunday. Grab a “Hang 10” bag with information on our Easter events today. Say this with me: “I can do that.”
2. If you don’t know the person you are sitting next to, here’s a neutral question I want you to ask: “How Long have you attended Cross Church/NRHBC?” If you identify someone as a guest, ask them, “Can I introduce to our pastor and staff?” Then walk them back to our pastor’s guest reception. Once there, first time guests will receive a new Bison thermal mug (one per family).
We need you to bring an unchurched friend with you – will you do it? I promise you they will hear the gospel clearly presented on Easter Sunday.
We are devoting ourselves to a study of one of the powerful chapters in the Bible. It has been called the Bible in miniature. No where in all the Old Testament does the gospel shine more brilliantly than in Isaiah 53. Many believe this is the best single chapter in the whole Bible to explain what happened on the cross. Sit back and listen to this song and hear from the very voice of God Himself.
“Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted. 14 As many were astonished at you— his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind— 15 so shall he sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths because of him, for that which has not been told them they see, and that which they have not heard they understand. 1 Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2 For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 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 pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds 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; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? 9 And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 52:13–53:12)