8/8/14 “The Savior Prepares To Suffer” (Daily Bible Reading: Isaiah 48-50)

The Lord God has opened My ear; and I was not rebellious, nor did I turn away. I gave My back to those who struck Me, and My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting. For the Lord God will help Me; therefore I will not be disgraced; therefore I have set My face like a flint, and I know that I will not be ashamed” (Isaiah 50:5-7).

As Isaiah continues to speak words of comfort to God’s people who being carried away into Babylonian captivity because of their sins (Isaiah 39:6-7; 40:1), not only does he remind them of their coming redemption from Babylon (Isaiah 48:20-22), but he also reminds them of the One who would come to deliver them from the greatest captivity of all, the captivity of their own sins (Isaiah 53:1-12). However, in order for this redemption to be accomplished, Jesus would have to pay the price for their sins, the penalty of death (Romans 3:23; 6:23). As the opening verses above indicate, Isaiah shares with us the Savior’s mindset as He faces this suffering on our behalf (Isaiah 50:5-7).

First, as He faced this certain suffering, Jesus submitted Himself to God. He was not rebellious to God’s Will, but humbled Himself before God and allowed God to open His ears to make known His Will for Jesus (Isaiah 50:5). As He faced arrest, trial, and the cross Jesus agonized in the Garden of Gethsemane, but, nevertheless, submitted Himself to His Father’s Will as He said, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will" (Matthew 26:39).

Second, Jesus not only submitted Himself to God’s Will, but He was willingly to carry out God’s Will despite the shame, humiliation and physical pain it would bring to Him (Isaiah 50:6). He gave His back to those who struck Him such as when Pilate had him scourged (Matthew 27:26). He endured the soldiers spitting on Him as they mocked Him (Matthew 27:30).

Finally, as He prepared Himself to suffer, Jesus strengthen Himself by relying on God’s help to be with Him as He began His suffering and on God’s promises to give Him the victory following His suffering (Isaiah 50:7). In Gethsemane, Jesus sought God’s strength through prayer (Matthew 26:36-42). Although the thought of the cross was incredibly painful to bear, Jesus looked forward to the victory of the resurrection and His ruling at the right hand of God following the death He was about to suffer (John 17:1-5). Relying on God’s help and promises strengthen Jesus to set His face to go to Jerusalem and face certain death to accomplish God’s Will (Isaiah 50:7; Mark 10:32-34).

As I consider Isaiah’s words about the mindset of Jesus as He prepared Himself to suffer for me, I am greatly humbled at what Jesus had to go through on my behalf. However, I also greatly rejoice at His incredible love for me to endure such things to redeem me from my sins. Today, I will challenge myself to be willing to have the same mindset as Jesus when it comes to following God and showing my love for Jesus by obeying His commandments (John 14:15). I will submit myself to God’s Will even though I may have to experience pain and humiliation from others as I do so. Like Jesus, I will rely on God’s help and look forward to the fulfillment of God’s promises for me when I am called upon to suffer for the cause of Christ (2 Timothy 3:12).

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).