Summary: Isaiah 53 was written some 700 years before Christ was born, yet it describes the coming of a Savior or Messiah who would be the wounded healer of the world and would have an uncompromised character. Here’s what we see about the character of Jesus.
Andy Stanley tells the story of when he was 13 and learning the meaning of the phrase, “Actions speak louder than words.” His dad was the Associate pastor of First Baptist in Atlanta when the senior pastor was asked to resign. Charles Stanley was asked to preach on Sundays until a suitable replacement could be found. As he preached, the pews began to fill, young couples started to return, the youth ministry started to grow and volunteerism grew to an all-time high. There was a new excitement in the church. Yet some of the longtime members of the church resented Charles Stanley’s growing influence and popularity. It didn’t help that there was a grass roots movement started to elect him as pastor. The old guard thought he was too young, too evangelistic and too spiritual emphasizing a personal relationship with Jesus. The powerbrokers started to politic to have Charles Stanley removed. People started to take sides. Two weeks before the vote to hire or fire Charles Stanley, Deacon Myers walked up to the pulpit as the Wednesday night service began. He started to talk about the growing controversy and as he did, horror upon horror, he used the word damn. Charles Stanley calmly walked to the pulpit and said, Now you need to watch your language.” With clinched fists the man responded, “You need to watch yourself or you might get punched.” Charles Stanley didn’t back down or step away and then all of sudden Deacon Myers reared back and punched his dad. His dad didn’t retaliate. It was his dad’s response to all this that marked Andy for life. He stepped right back up and stood by Deacon Myers. Andy Stanley said, In that moment I wanted to be that kind of man…. From that moment on, it didn’t matter what anybody said. Because actions speak louder than words.” That event revealed his dad’s character. “When we open the pages of Scripture, we discover that character is defined by the very nature of Jesus Christ- a stumbling block for some but a rock solid foundation for others. Character is the will to do what is right, as defined by God, regardless of personal cost.” Andy Stanley
The third identity we see in the birth of Christ is uncompromised character, the will to do what is right, as defined by God, regardless of personal cost. Virtually all of the religions of the world point to Jesus as the example of uncompromised character. Even the great Mahatma Gandhi, the Hindu leader of India, molded his life around Jesus’ teaching and the Sermon on the Mount. It’s not just that we have a Savior who was born with uncompromised character or even taught about uncompromised character but that he lived with uncompromised character.
Isaiah 53 was written some 700 years before Christ was born, yet it describes the coming of a Savior or Messiah who would be the wounded healer of the world and would have an uncompromised character. Here’s what we see about the character of Jesus.
First, in Jesus we see perfect dependence upon God. When Jesus came to Earth, he set aside all of the privileges, and all of the powers that went with being God. In fact, he said, "I can do nothing apart from my perfect dependence upon the Father. The things I do you will do and greater things than this." Even Jesus’ enemies recognized that Jesus was depending on God alone. They mocked him for it. They didn’t depend only on God—they depended on God through their temple, through their traditions. God wasn’t enough for them and so they mocked Jesus who waited only on God. For each one of us, the secret of faith, and the secret of life, is to be aware of our absolute dependence upon God. This awareness positions us to receive the abundant life God Himself is offering us. When one who follows Jesus, thinks on Jesus, the secret of Jesus’ life was that He was always aware of His dependence upon God the Father. This perhaps was no more evident than when Jesus faced the cross. Jesus had one driving purpose in his life: to do God’s will. But he knew he could not do it on his own. So the night before he died, he prayed, "Father, if it’s possible, get me out of this mess. But, not my will, your will be done." In Jesus, we see the perfect example of selfless purpose.
Second, Jesus showed the perfect example of selfless purpose. Look at how Jesus used his power. Jesus never used it to benefit himself or advance his reputation. He only used his power to heal other people and set the oppressed free. Think about the temptations in the wilderness. The devil was trying to get Jesus to use his power for himself. What was the first temptation? He was hungry. He hadn’t eaten in forty days. The first temptation was, "Use your power, Jesus, to turn that stone over there into a loaf a bread to meet your own need and fulfill your own appetite." Jesus refused. The second temptation was to jump off the pinnacle of the temple, have the angels thus proving to everyone he was who he said he was. Even then, Jesus would not use his power to advance his own reputation. Then Satan said, "To get everything in the world, you don’t have to go to a cross; all you have to do is worship me and I will give you the world." Jesus would not use his power even for comfort and material possession. Even in the midst of pain and suffering as he was dying on the cross, people were standing there and saying, "If you are the Son of God, you’ve got legions of angels at your disposal. Call on them to come down and deliver you in this hour." Yet Jesus refused to leave the cross because he came to die on the cross for our sins, an example for all of completely selfless purpose.