And they made His grave with the wicked-but with the rich at His death, because he had done no violence nor was any deceit in His mouth.
Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When you make His soul an offering for sin He shall see His seed He shall prolong His days and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.
He shall see the labor of His soul and be satisfied by His knowledge my righteous servant shall justify many for He shall bear their iniquities.
- Isaiah 53:9 NKJV
I love Isaiah. My dad quoted Isaiah when I was growing up. It wasn’t as wild to me then as it is now, but when I read this chapter this morning, it was like seeing a bush of peonies bloom all at once. It was beautiful. Like, bursting with beauty. It’s easy to get used to the story of Jesus’ sacrifice, especially when we categorize the feelings or “experience” of renewal with a season. But Jesus’ sacrifice is for us to contemplate every day.
One bright afternoon, I thought about what sacrifice meant. The park was laid out before me, dogs were playing, the sun was lightly gleaming on the trees above me; it was great. But I was comfortable. I felt like I had arrived somewhere more abundant than “content” and was arriving at “comfortable." My heart was convicted because, not one hour before, I had been reading that Jesus went into the smelly areas of town to talk and pray and teach people. He sought out relationship instead of sitting back in his hammock. Don’t get me wrong, Jesus rested. I was resting in that moment, but there were sacrifices I was not making.
Reflecting on this story, I now appreciate the conviction to sacrifice things that might make me feel comfortable in exchange for something uncomfortable. It’s vague, but it’s sometimes the only label that fits. At one point, I was dancing around my house with a scarf yelling, “I believe in Jesus! I’m thankful for this house!” It was a moment where God brought me out of shame and into confidence by practicing declaration. Actions are important.
Reading this chapter in Isaiah, the Holy Spirit whispered in my ear: “He’s talking about Jesus!” and it was like the word was alive. “He (God) shall see the labor of His (Jesus’) soul and be satisfied by His (God’s) knowledge my righteous servant shall justify many for He (Jesus) shall bear (our) iniquities."
Jesus was fully God and fully man. That means, for us, when we live sacrificially, God honors our obedience to His will and lavishes His love on us. When we say “Jesus is my Savior,” we’re admitting that the actions we take are not good enough to save us from our nature. We’re believing for the confidence that He will bring through our obedience to Him. The actions aren’t what make you holy, but they are important to God. He wants us to sacrifice in special ways for our relationship with Him. Telling my house “I believe in Jesus” was a big moment for me because it meant that I was willing to be free and express myself in the walls of my house before Jesus alone. If I could do it there, I could have a source for the confidence God wanted to instill in me outside of my house.
1. How could confidence in God’s redeeming power give me grace for myself?
2. Where can I practice obedience to strengthen my relationship with God?
Jesus, thank You for Your sacrifice. Thank You for giving me freedom to have life and have it in abundance. God, You are so good. Show me how to have grace like You. Bring me into Your embrace that I might walk in Your love deeper and wider than ever before. Let my actions reflect those that You would take in the day when You walked this earth. Help me to bring Your kingdom here. Thank You Papa, You are my shelter and my comforter. Amen.
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