Summary: The darkness of life can overwhelm us. Jesus shatters our darkness, for he has taken our place and endured all for us. Parts: A. How willingly your Savior suffered! B. How innocent he is! C. Lean on him in the darkness.
Text: Isaiah 50:4-10
Theme: "I Have Endured All for You"
A. How willingly your Savior suffered!
B. How innocent he is!
C. Lean on him in the darkness
Season: Pentecost 17b
Date: September 20, 2009
Web page: www.caughtbyjesus.net/sermons/_I-Have-Endured-All-for-You_-Isaiah50_4-10.html
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Word from God through which our Savior, Jesus Christ, speaks to us is Isaiah 50
"The Lord God has given me a skilled tongue to know how to comfort the afflicted with words. Morning by morning he awakens -- he awakens my ear to skillfully hear. The Lord God has opened my ear, and I did not rebel. I did not turn back. I gave my back to the beaters, my cheek to those who tore out my beard. I did not hide my face from insults and spit. And the Lord God helps me, therefore I was not confounded. Therefore I set my face like flint, and I know that I will not be put to shame. The One who justifies me is near. Who can take me to court? Let us stand up together. Who is the prosecutor against me? Let him approach me. Behold, the Lord God helps me. Who is it that can condemn me? Behold, they all wear out like old clothing. Moths eat them away.
"Whoever among you fears the Lord, listening to his Servant’s voice, who walk in darkness without any light, let him trust in the name of the Lord and lean on his God." (Isaiah 50:4-10)
Dear friends in Christ, fellow saints washed clean in the blood of our risen Savior:
How the words of Psalm 23 echoed in their hearts! "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death" (Psalm 23:4 KJV). How dark that valley seemed as their tear-blurred eyes stared at the two caskets!
It had been summer vacation. A family camping trip. The two girls laughing down by the stream bed. Suddenly a violent rumbling and rushing. A flash flood. Then silence. No more laughter. Dead silence. What darkness for that mom and dad, losing their two children!
Darkness comes in many forms: death, disease, disability, depression, disappointment, doubt. In addition, loss of friends, financial woes, missed opportunities, unrewarded effort, the shallowness of life can leave us wallowing in darkness, not knowing which way to turn. Who of us hasn’t experienced feelings of hopelessness, futility, and rejection? And what about the darkness when others attack the very source of our light, rejecting our Savior and ridiculing our efforts to follow him, or when our own weakness of faith makes the light seem so dim?
What darkness have you stumbled through? What darkness might unexpectedly flood over you in the days ahead? Maybe you came here this morning longing for some light in the darkness.
Take heart, dear friend, for the Savior’s words shine out to you. He calls out into your darkness promising, "I have endured all for you." Let’s see how true those words are and how they shatter into our darkness.
A. How willingly your Savior suffered!
1. Describe the love that moved our Savior to such willing obedience.
In the text today, our Savior, Jesus Christ, speaks directly through the prophet Isaiah. Jesus is the Servant of the Lord who carries out the Lord God’s saving will. It is your Savior, seven centuries before his birth, who says, "I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting" (Isaiah 50:6 NIV). Do these words not take us to Jesus’ arrest, trial, and crucifixion? How great his love! For he suffered all this willingly. That’s his promise that shines into your darkness: "I have endured all for you." How willingly your Savior suffered such shame!
How great his love! For such willing obedience can only flow from love. A servant might obey his master out of fear of punishment or in the hope of some sort of gain. But neither of these is truly willing obedience, freely given. It’s obedience enforced by either a threat or a reward. That servant is like an obstinate donkey driven on by either a stick or a carrot. Now obedience spurred on by a reward may seem more willing than obedience coerced by a threat. But neither comes close to the willingness of the obedience that freely flows from love. Only love could move our Savior to such willing obedience to endure all for us.
First, his love for his Father. Jesus says, "The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears, and I have not been rebellious; I have not drawn back" (Isaiah 50:5 NIV). Jesus listened willingly with open ears. Why? Because he loved the Father. He did not rebel or turn back. Rather he set his face like flint (Isaiah 50:7). His resolve was as solid as stone. He resolutely set out for Jerusalem, even though he knew that suffering that awaited him. That was the Father’s will. Remember the Gospel today from Mark 8: "The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again" (Mark 8:31 NIV). Jesus faced it all willingly, head on. He drank the cup of suffering and death. For he loved the Father, as he prayed in Gethsemane, "Not my will, but yours be done" (Luke 22:42 NIV). He gave his back to the beatings, his face to the spitting, his hands to the nails. This wasn’t taken from him, but he gave himself willingly. For this was the Father’s saving will. The great hymn writer, Paul Gerhardt, expresses this willing obedience by having Jesus say, "Yes, Father, yes, most willingly I’ll bear what you command me. My will conforms to your decree; I’ll do what you have asked me." (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal, "A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth" 100:3). What love for his Father! How willingly he suffers! He endures all.