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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Lenten Blog 2017

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Daniel Bonner

Readings: Psalm 83, Isaiah 53:1-12, Romans 5:12-21, John 8:21-32

Jesus said to them, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me.” – John 8:28

Interesting that for many, the recognition of who Jesus was and is, came in the moment of his defeat and complete humiliation as a human being.  In worldly terms, he was defeated and annihilated on the cross.  Both the ruling Jews and Romans thought they had heard the last of this rebel.  Another would be messiah, going down in defeat like all the others before him.  Yet true to the prophetic words of the Pharisee Gamaliel, when speaking about Jesus’ followers in Acts 6: “if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!" –the death of Jesus, nor of his followers could stop this movement of God.  In fact, it was in His death, His obedient sacrificial giving of His earthly life that the righteousness of God shined through and illumined the world.  Paul puts it this way in his letter to the Romans: “by the one man's obedience, the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:19-21

Take the time to read and prayerfully meditate on the love poem Isaiah 53.  In loving gratitude know it was for you personally and was done willingly as the supreme act of love in all of history. God so loves you.

Isaiah 53

Who has believed what he has heard from us?
    And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 For he grew up before him like a young plant,
    and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
    and no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men,
    a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
    he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4 Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
    yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
    and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
    so he opened not his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
    and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
    stricken for the transgression of my people?
9 And they made his grave with the wicked
    and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
    and there was no deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
    he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
    he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
    make many to be accounted righteous,
    and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
    and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
    and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
    and makes intercession for the transgressors.