The word for this week is: Cross.
The thought for this week is: “The Way of the Cross Leads Home.”
NOTE: All prior devotionals for 2017 have given focus to answering the question of who God is. The devotional focus will now shift to answering the question of who Christ is.
From the time of the birth of Jesus, Christ has always known what was lying ahead for him. It was the cross. He knew that it was his death that was the purpose of his ministry during his brief time on earth. After his death, the cross became the symbol of Christianity. Have you ever wondered why that is? No doubt it was what Jesus had in mind for us to cling to. It was also because of the loyalty and devotion of his followers and the suffering he experience on the cross that caused Christianity to adopt the cross as its symbol.
Jesus knew that he would one day die but unlike you and I he knew that his death would be brutal and early in life. For this lesson, read all of Isaiah 53. While reading it, view it from the perspective of the Messiah as it will give some understanding of what Jesus knew regarding his future. From it we learn that it was the purpose of the Messiah to suffer and die for the sins of man and in doing so be glorified before God. Also, as you read, notice how the Messiah is portrayed as a servant. How does this description of the servant line up with your own vision of who Jesus Christ is? Isaiah indicates that his words will not be believed. Why is that? What do you see as being fulfilled by the servant’s suffering? As you read, were you able to insert yourself into the text as he used words like we and us?
Do you find it disturbing knowing the injustice of the end that will come to the suffering servant? However, we rejoice as we near the end of the chapter as we see that the suffering servant is finally vindicated. As Christians, we cling to the cross as the focus of our faith. It is also the cross that gives us great hope and comfort when we are faced with the difficulties of life.
From Isaiah 53, Jesus would certainly have known the extent of his sufferings but he also would have known the glory that was his to be gained from the cross. As you reflect on the cross, meditate and pray through the following scripture: “After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.” (Isaiah 53:11)
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we are humbled by your presence. We thank you that Christ, your Son, humbled himself as the Suffering Servant so that we would not have to bear the burden of our sins. Your divine providence for man is beyond our comprehension. Thank you for loving us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
By Rory Barneche