Friday, March 21, 2008

The Suffering Servant, the Anointed One

To understand Good Friday, one needs only the Old Testament. The words of the Prophets from centuries before that day describe in detail what would happen to the Messiah.

Sinful man killed God-in-the-Flesh. In that incomprehensible evil, He accomplished His will, which is our salvation.

Here is Good Friday:
Psalm 22

My God, My God, why did You forsake Me?

Far away from Him Who can save Me, I cry out.
My God, I call by day, but You don't answer, at night, and I get no rest.

But You are holy, on Your throne; You are praised by Israel.
Our fathers trusted You; they trusted You, and You rescued them.
They cried to You and were saved; they trusted You and were not disappointed.

But I am a worm and no man, scorned by men and despised by people.
All who see Me mock Me; with mouths wide open they are wagging their heads (saying):
"Put your trouble on the Lord.
Let Him rescue Him and save Him, seeing He delights in Him!"
You drew Me out of My mother's womb and made Me feel safe on My mother's breasts.
I was cast on You from before I was born; from My mother's womb You have been My God.

Don't go far away from Me -- trouble is near, and there's no one to help Me.
Many bulls gather around Me; strong bulls from Bashan surround Me.
They come for Me with mouths opened wide -- lions tearing and roaring.
I am poured out like water, and all My limbs are torn apart.
My heart is like wax, melted within Me.
My strength is dried up like a piece of broken pottery; My tongue sticks to My jaws.
You are placing Me down in the dust of death.
Dogs gather around Me; a gang of villains surrounds Me.
They have dug holes in My hands and feet.
I can count all My bones.
They watch; they gloat over Me.
They divided My clothes among themselves and throw dice for My garment.

But You, O LORD, don't go far away; O My Strength, hurry to help Me.
Save My life from the sword, My one life from the clutches of a dog.
Save Me from the lion's mouth and from the horns of the wild bull.

You answered Me!

I will spread Your fame among My brothers; I will praise You in the congregation:
"You who fear the LORD, praise Him!
All you descendents of Jacob, glorify Him!
Fear Him, all you descendants of Israel!
For He did not despise or abhor the Sufferer's suffering, nor hide His face from Him.
But when He called to Him for help, He listened to Him."
For You I give thanks in the great congregation; I do what I vowed before those who fear Him.
Let the humble eat and be satisfied, and those who go to the LORD for help praise Him -- may you live forever!

In all parts of the world people will remember and come back to the LORD; all the families of the nations will worship You because the LORD is King and rules the nations.

All the rich people in the world will eat and worship, and all who go down to the dust, who can't live, will bow before Him.
He Himself will not grant to them life.

There will be descendants that serve Him when those of a coming age are told about the Lord.
They will come and tell a people still to be born about His righteousness -- He has done it!

Isaiah 53

Who has believed what we told them?
And to whom has the LORD's mighty working been revealed?

He grew up before Him like a shoot from a stock, like a sprout from a root in dry ground.
And when we saw Him, He had no form or beauty to make us want to look at Him; or pleasing appearance to make us delight in Him.
He was despised, forsaken by men, a man of sorrows who knew suffering.
People covered their faces so as not to see Him.
He was despised, and we thought nothing of Him.

Surely He has taken on Himself our suffering and carried our sorrows, but we observed that God had stricken, smitten, and afflicted Him.

And certainly He was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our sins;
By His punishement, we were saved, and by His wounds we were healed.

We have all gone astray like sheep.
Every one of us has turned to to go his own way, and the LORD has punished Him for the sins of us all.

He was oppressed and mistreated without opening His mouth.
Like a lamb He was led away to be slaughtered.
Like a mother sheep is silent before the men who cut off her wool, so He doesn't open His mouth.
After He was tried as a prisoner, He was then taken away.
Who in His time even considered that He was cut off from the land of the living and struck down for His people's sins?
They assigned Him a grave with criminals and with a rich man in His death, though He hadn't done any crime or said anything deceitful.

Yet the LORD planned to crush Him and slay Him.
After He has sacrificed Himself for guilt, He will see those born to Him and will enjoy a long life.
And so by Him the LORD will succeed in what He wants to do.

Because of the toil of His soul, He will see the light and be satisifed.
By His experience My righteous Servant justifies many by taking on Himself the heavy load of their guilt.
Because of this I will give Him many people as His share; and He will divide the spoil with the mighty because He pours out His life in death, lets Himself be counted with sinners, while He takes on Himself the sins of many people and intercedes for the wrongdoers.