Continuing with our Isaiah theme for Holy Week, we take our devotion today from LifeLight: Isaiah, Part 2—Leaders Guide.
1 Corinthians 1:18–31
Mark 14:1–15:47 or John 12:23–50
Read the propers for today on lutherancalendar.org.
Who is this One who commands people everywhere to listen carefully? Who is the One whom the Lord calls “My servant,” the chosen one? From all that follows, there can be no doubt that this One is not a deliverer from material ills, but a spiritual Savior; not a conqueror of nations, but a Savior of sinners; not a Cyrus, but Christ; not the people of Israel, but the Messiah, the Promised One.
To us who by faith know the mystery of the Gospel, the words Christ speaks are faith-strengthening and comforting. When we read, (v. 1b) “The LORD called me from the womb, from the body of my mother He named my name” and (v. 5a) “He who formed me from the womb to be His servant,” our minds go immediately to Isaiah 7:14 and to Luke 1:26–35. Christ did not come on His own but was sent by His Father. He would be true man, born of a woman. Verse 2b, “in the shadow of His hand He hid me; He made me a polished arrow; in His quiver He hid me away,” echoes Paul’s words in Philippians 2:6–8. The Lord hid His Servant’s divine glory and power in the form of the Son of Man, a Servant.
As Christ describes the mission His Father sent Him to accomplish, all we have read in the Gospels comes to mind. Verse 2—His weapon was not a sword or fist, but His mouth, His Word, His Gospel, sharply spoken to the unrepentant and gently spoken to those in distress. His mission was to be the Mediator of a new covenant for Israel (v. 8b), a Light for the Gentiles (v. 6b), the bringer of salvation to the ends of the earth (v. 6b), “saying to the prisoners, ‘Come out,’ to those who are in darkness, ‘Appear’” (v. 9). . . .
Verse 4—But the accomplishment of the Father’s mission would not be easy. In true humility and in His true humanity, Christ describes His discouragement and loneliness as one by one His followers leave Him. We remember His sadness as He asks His disciples if they will also leave Him. We are reminded of the hour of intense and lonely suffering and agony in Gethsemane, where “his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44). As He faces the horror of the cross and all He would suffer there, we hear His agonized cry: (Matthew 26:39) “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me.”
Thank God that agonized cry was followed by the difference between life and death, words for you and me and the entire human race: (Matthew 26:39, 42) “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will . . . My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, Your will be done.” (Luke 22:43) “And there appeared to Him an angel from heaven, strengthening Him,” just as the Father promised in the beautiful and strong words of Isaiah 49:7–8.
Verse 7b and Philippians 2:9–11—Through Him who was “deeply despised, abhorred,” salvation for all will be accomplished, and ultimately even those who reject God’s Servant will bow before Him and acknowledge Him as Lord. No wonder the heavens shout for joy, the earth rejoices, and the mountains burst into song (v. 13)! So also must we! In the Lord’s unwanted and undeserved grace in His Suffering Servant, He has brought us out and set us free (v. 9)!
Devotional reading is from LifeLight: Isaiah, Part 2—Leaders Guide, page 26 © 1994, 2006 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Shine upon us, O Light for the nations, and extend to all people the promise of salvation. Amen.
Prayer is from The Lutheran Study Bible, page 1170 © 2009 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.