Summary: A message that explores the Suffering Servant as described in Isaiah 53.
The Wounds of God - March 8, 2015 - Isaiah 53
Do you ever feel you're just scraping by in this life? I don’t just mean financially, although that is an issue as well. But scraping by…because of our wounds. Because of being paralyzed by our fears.
We’re racked with doubts about ourselves, our friendships. We’re scraping by because life has broken us, we sense. Loss that we’ve known has left us lost.
We bear physical wounds from evil done to us. We bear the scars of guilt because of evil we have done to others. We live with diseases, or we live with the knowledge that disease has taken someone we were close to away from us forever. Or we live with the fear of disease.
We live our lives in a bubble, perhaps rarely allowing even those closest to us to truly get close enough to know us. Our experiences have diminished us.
We look at children and on the occasions when we remember we were children once, we wonder at how we got to here from there. Once we were free, carefree and alive. Now, it’s all about scraping by.
We’re continuing our journey through Lent, the period of time leading up to Easter Sunday, and the message today is entitled: “The Wounds of God”.
We’re going to be exploring Isaiah 53, about The Suffering Servant, our Saviour Jesus Christ, and how and why it is that He came to us, and why it is that 2000 years later, Jesus is still so important, still so central to the lives of soooo many people, still inspiring places like the Yonge Street Mission to reach out to the hurting in His name.
So let's begin by considering the bigger picture of Who God is, and of what He accomplished in coming to us in Jesus Christ.
God Was Safe and Away from All Alarm
The God of Creation, the great Healer, the Almighty and Everlasting One lived entirely above all human suffering.
We understand that God is Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. That by itself, the very nature of God, is less a tough theological or philosophical thing to get our heads around than it is just the recorded revelation of the Bible.
We can say: “I have trouble understanding or believing the Trinity, and we can think to ourselves then that it can’t be true until we understand it.
Or we can read the text and see that revealed in it is the fact of the oneness of God and the divinity of the Father, The Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Anyway, God was in a sense unaffected directly by the condition of humanity. To summarize an enormous story, just for the purposes of this message, we’ve seen from our exploration of the book of Genesis in recent months how God interacted with Adam and Eve, giving them the Garden of Eden and then, when they broke faith with Him, expelling them from the garden.
We’ve seen how God dealt with Cain over his murder of his brother Abel, with the horrific wickedness in the world that led to the Flood, and then God’s covenant with Noah to never again let the waters become a flood to destroy all life.
We’ve seen how God confounded the language of the people of Babel who sought to build a tower that reached into the heavens.
What we haven’t explored in detail yet this year is God’s dealing with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. That’s a remarkable narrative that we’ll hopefully get to later this year.
But the end of the story of Jacob is the beginning of the story of God’s people in Egypt. At first, they did well in Egypt.
They were favoured by the Pharaoh. But then time went on and a new Pharaoh arose who began to fear the sheer volume of the people of Israel. And they were put to hard labour, slaves every one of them. And they began to cry out to God for deliverance.
God Starts to Hear Our Cry, Heals and Delivers from Afar
The LORD said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey...
And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” Exodus 3:7-10
So, to be really brief, God delivers the people from bondage in Egypt. He delivers them miraculously out of the hand of their slave masters. They are set free. Finally, after 400 years of oppression. Free at last. But…there’s a problem. They are free in one sense, but in another, much deeper sense, they are still not free at all.