REPOST Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, first posted on April 3, 2015, is provided by Pastor Shan Gian who leads Remnant Westside Church in Manhattan. Shan is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania (BA) and Gordon Conwell Seminary (M.Div.).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“The Sufferings of Christ”
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.
What we read here in Isaiah 53 does not sound “good” at all. This servant of God, despised, rejected, full of sorrow and grief, stricken, smitten, afflicted, pierced, crushed, oppressed, cut off, is like a lamb that is led to the slaughter. How can this be good? This sounds brutal and harsh. We wouldn’t wish this pain and death upon anyone, much less an innocent man, undeserving of any of it. But we celebrate this day where an innocent man was horrifically beaten, unjustly tried and convicted, rejected by his friends and executed in the more tortuous of ways. And still, we call this day “good.” How can this be?
We call this day Good Friday because we remember our loving Savior showing us the full extent of His amazing love for us: “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). We were the ones who were guilty. We were deserving of this punishment and shame. We should have been lambs led to slaughter. This day is so good because Jesus took the punishment of our guilt upon Himself, and by His sacrifice we were set free. Today is Good Friday because this is Good News, the best news there could ever be – Jesus died on a cross for us so that we could be set free from our sins, given new life, given eternal life with our loving King.
Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for being so good to us. Today we remember Your love shown to us on that cross. We were so undeserving and so unworthy, but still you loved us and laid down your life for us. There is nothing we can do or say to repay you. All I can do is say, “Thank you, Jesus!” In Jesus’ name, AMEN.
Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 16
Lunch Bible Study
Read Romans 5:6-11: For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Questions to Consider
- How does Romans describe our spiritual states before Jesus?
- What do we have as a result of Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the cross?
- Why did Jesus Christ die for us?
- We are contrasted with good or righteous people. Paul describes us as weak, ungodly sinners, and enemies of God. We are people who are undeserving of someone dying for us.
- We are justified by His blood. We were enemies before, but now we are reconciled with Him.
- Very simply, Jesus died for us because of His love for us.
Take some time to remember what Jesus has done for you. What does the cross of Jesus mean to you? How has it changed your life? Take some time tonight to pray and thank Jesus for His sacrifice for you.