Beaten Bloody

Here is Isaiah’s description of Jesus Christ, written 700 years before he was born:

He was beaten, he was tortured,

but he didn’t say a word.

Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered

and like a sheep being sheared,

he took it all in silence.

Justice miscarried, and he was led off–

and did anyone really know what was happening?

He died without a thought for his own welfare,

beaten bloody for the sins of my people.

They buried him with the wicked,

threw him in a grave with a rich man,

Even though he’d never hurt a soul

or said one word that wasn’t true.

Still, it’s what God had in mind all along,

to crush him with pain.

The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin

so that he’d see life come from it–life, life, and more life.

And God’s plan will deeply prosper through him.

Out of that terrible travail of soul,

he’ll see that it’s worth it and be glad he did it.

Through what he experienced, my righteous one, my servant,

will make many “righteous ones,”

as he himself carries the burden of their sins.

Therefore I’ll reward him extravagantly–

the best of everything, the highest honors–

Because he looked death in the face and didn’t flinch,

because he embraced the company of the lowest.

He took on his own shoulders the sin of the many,

he took up the cause of all the black sheep.

Isaiah 53:7-12 (Bible Version–The Message)

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700 Years

It’s pretty amazing that the prophet Isaiah wrote this clear explanation of Easter 700 years before the birth of Jesus Christ:

It Was Our Pains He Carried

Just watch my servant blossom!

Exalted, tall, head and shoulders above the crowd!

But he didn’t begin that way.

At first everyone was appalled.

He didn’t even look human –

a ruined face, disfigured past recognition.

Nations all over the world will be in awe, taken aback,

kings shocked into silence when they see him.

For what was unheard of they’ll see with their own eyes,

what was unthinkable they’ll have right before them.

Who believes what we’ve heard and seen?

Who would have thought God’s saving power would look like this?

The servant grew up before God–a scrawny seedling,

a scrubby plant in a patched field.

There was nothing attractive about him,

nothing to cause us to take a second look.

He was looked down on and passed over,

a man who suffered, who knew pain first hand.

One look at him and people turned away.

We looked down on him, thought he was scum.

But the fact is, it was our pains he carried-

our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.

We thought he brought it on himself,

that God was punishing him for his own failures.

But it was our sins that did that to him,

that ripped and tore and crushed him–our sins!

He took the punishment, and that made us whole.

Through his bruises we get healed.

We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost.

We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way.

And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong, on him, on him.

Isaiah 52:13-Isaiah 53:6 (Bible Version — The Message)

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The Only Chance

With Easter approaching I’d like to share this quote from Jill Briscoe regarding the cross:

We cannot be Christians without the Cross.  The cross tells us sin has been “crossed out” and dealt with.  The Cross tells us what a holy God thinks about our sinful nature — it had to be judged; someone had to be punished for our sin.  It was either going to be us or a substitute.  The Cross gave us our substitute:  Jesus Christ, who died in our place.  Most of the world doesn’t even know what it is doing to Jesus Christ.  To count him of no worth, to misunderstand his work at the Cross, to live as if he had never lived or died, to reject his claims to be master of our lives, or to relegate him to a brief hour on Easter or Christmas is to despise him as surely as the soldiers crucified him on that hill far away.  To reject Jesus is to throw away the only chance for forgiveness.  Jesus died in our place on a wooden cross two thousand years ago so we could be forgiven.  We only have to accept the Cross.  The Roman army officer realized that something extra-ordinary had happened and said, “Truly, this was the Son of God!”

We can attend church regularly, teach Sunday school, and sing in the choir, yet if we refuse to accept the Cross, we will be shut out of heaven.  You and I cannot get to heaven except through the door shaped like a cross.

One Year Book of Devotions for Women, Jill Briscoe

 

 

Satish

I’m really looking forward to meeting this young Compassion graduate from India this summer. He’ll be our speaker at the Compassion Experience conference in Colorado Springs June 27-28, 2014.

Watch this video and you’ll get an idea of how very special this young man is!

If you are a Compassion sponsor, and would like to attend this event, check out the website and let them know!

Lexington

Today I’m sharing photos from my trip to Lexington, NC, several years ago.  This is where our German ancestors lived at the time of the American Revolution.  The first thing I saw when I entered town was this:

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This is the old Court House which played such an important role in the lives of these people.

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Sadly, I read that slaves were bought and sold on this porch.

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Another thing that made me sad was seeing all the kudzu taking over trees and buildings.

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But there were things in Lexington that also made me giggle.  Do you recall “Cows on Parade” in Chicago and Kansas City?  Well, we had horses and sheep wagons here, and guess what we saw in Lawrence, KS, a few years ago?

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When I was in Lexington the pigs were on display, and it was pretty entertaining to see.

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I hope I can go back to Lexington again sometime.  It was a very interesting place to visit.