By Nathan Jones
Why does the Messiah willingly lay down His life?
In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" TWave Radio episode, Pastor Vic Batista of Miami's Calvary Chapel Aventura and I will study the "Suffering Servant" prophecies found in Isaiah 53 that were fulfilled in the life of Jesus Christ.
Lays Down His Life
Vic Batista: In Isaiah 53 we have one of the most profound prophecies in all of the Bible, and yet it is often times misunderstood by many.
Nathan Jones: Isaiah 53 is one of the greatest chapters in all of the Bible! It is the prophecy about Jesus' First Coming and how He would die on the cross.
The author and prophet, Isaiah, lived 700 years before Jesus' First Coming, during the reign of King Hezekiah. Isaiah was one of the Major Prophets, so he had written a very long book of the Bible containing lots of prophecies. One of the most important chapters in his book was the prophecy about the Suffering Servant. This servant is better known as the Messiah, and He would come to die for the sins of mankind.
What a concept! After all, the Jewish people were thinking of the Messiah coming as a king, and when Jesus did come, the people expected a Messiah who would lead them into war against the Romans and set up His Kingdom. But, that wasn't God's plan. God's plan was to defeat sin and death by dying on the cross. Only later would He return as King of kings. We are still waiting for Jesus to come back in glory as that King, defeating evil and setting up His Kingdom on this earth.
Vic Batista: What a contrast to the Islamic movement which sees a Mahdi coming to conquer by force. That is not what we see here in Isaiah 53.
Nathan Jones: Not at all! You can't chop heads off all across the world and expect there to be anybody left to have a kingdom. The spiritual kingdom of Jesus Christ is about peace, redemption and love. He wins each convert one heart at a time, not by the sword, but by the Word of God. It's the Word of God that can reach people's hearts. The Word of God penetrates the heart, reaching deep within us, and changes our lives. This happens when we repent of our sins and give our lives over to Jesus Christ. We then get a new life and become members of His spiritual kingdom here now and the earthly kingdom to come. It all began when Jesus died on the cross for our sins, rose again, and beat death. That is what Isaiah 53 is all about!
Vic Batista: Isaiah 53 is where we find this incredible picture of what a true servant really is — one who is willing to lay down His life for those who are following Him.
On my way to church I stopped by a local Starbucks in the area. I know it is shocking to you because you didn't know I drink coffee, right?
Nathan Jones: Was it your fifth or sixth visit to Starbucks that day?
Vic Batista: Ha-ha! On my way there I ran into an ex-coworker of mine. We sat down together and the Holy Spirit orchestrated a time in which I could share Christ with him. He accepted the Lord and was just weeping for Jesus. That is why the Lord allows you and I to serve. He is the real God who reveals Himself to people wherever they are. We don't go around pushing or forcing people into a relationship with Jesus Christ, but we just simply share the Good News, and the Holy Spirit does the rest.
Nathan Jones: Amen, and what a great story! I hope all Christians get opportunities to share Jesus like you were able to there at Starbucks. True, it is the Holy Spirit who works in people's hearts and pulls them towards Him and waits for them to either give their lives to Jesus Christ or not. We have the freewill to make that decision. God doesn't force Himself on anyone. As our Lamb & Lion Ministries founder, Dr. David Reagan, says, "God is a gentleman. He isn't going to force Himself on anybody." And, He doesn't.
You are right. Other religions force themselves on people at the point of swords. If you don't accept their god, you are dead. That is not the way that Jesus Christ does it. Jesus Christ builds His Kingdom one heart — one soul — at a time. He does it through the work of the Holy Spirit. That couldn't happen unless Jesus was willing to give up His life for us on the cross and beat death by being resurrected. That is the "soul" of Isaiah 53.
In the sixth part of our study of Isaiah 53 and the Suffering Servant, Vic and I will continue to look into the life of the Messiah who heals mankind by His wounds.