I’ve been reading through the book of Isaiah the past couple of weeks, and it is endlessly fascinating to see all of the imagery of Christ in it. From chapters 42, 43, 47, 50, 52, 53, and many other places particularly in this book, the sufferings of the Messiah are clearly shown. And once Jesus came into this world to carry out the will of the Father, namely the justification and glorification of His name as well as the redemption of His people, everything written of Christ beforehand came to life and was filled full of meaning (this being the definition of fulfillment).
Psalm 22 is another place where the sufferings of the Savior are shown. In Isaiah 50, there is some very striking imagery of Christ bearing His back to those who would strike Him. It says in verses 5 through 6, “The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious; I turned not backward. I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard; I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting” (ESV).
My purpose in showing this is not so much to try and prove that Jesus is the Messiah from Old Testament scripture (though it does clearly show that to be the case), as it is to show that the God of the Old Testament, the great I AM, YHWH, is this very Jesus that came in the flesh, that lived in our lowly state with our very sufferings and yet without sin, lived a life in honor to the Father, offered Himself as the sacrificial Lamb for all time, that He died, was buried, and rose from the grave proclaiming victory over sin, death and hell, in order to 1) vindicate His name (show that He is just after having passed over sin in times past), and 2) purchase salvation for His children.
I just love going back to these Old Testament Scriptures to see that this great, awe-inspiring God who loves righteousness and justice, that wiped out hundreds of thousands of people for their wickedness, is the very God who took on our form in the lowly state of a baby born in an animals feeding trough, the lowliest state one could be, and humbly gave Himself to be the ransom for many, that He freely “gave [His] back to those who strike (i.e. the Roman floggers), and [His] cheeks to those who pull out the beard,” a sign of complete disrespect and hatred toward another.
Oh what a great and glorious God we serve that He would set aside His heavenly dwelling to serve us, love us, give Himself up as a ransom for us who believe, regenerate us, give us the eyes to see, the ears to hear, to give the finite the ability to discern that which is infinite by His Spirit. And how amazing is it that the Old Testament scripture is laden with imagery of the sufferings of Christ, that the Messiah would undergo such infinite torment for sinners who deserved eternal wrath?
Oh God have mercy on me in my sinful state, change me to love what You love, and hate what You hate, but to be truly loving, serving, merciful, kind, patient, and generous to all I come in contact with, to the glory of Your name, that Your Gospel would be proclaimed, and that many would be saved.
Very well expressed. Those passages written hundreds of years before Jesus took on human nature demonstrate the divine inspiration of the OT and show the sufferings of Jesus as well and even in more detail than the Gospels do, going into the sufferings of His soul as He bore our sins. That He would love us so much to bear such torment is amazing, especially when contrasted with His holy wrath against sinners just like us.
Knowing the grace and mercy of the Lord as you stated, He encourages all who thirst to come to Him. So what is that? The thirst goes back to what you blogged: “The demons believe and shudder.” Such verses combat the ‘easy believism’ so prevalent today, and can awaken nominal Christians who think praying a prayer seals the deal without any change in their lives. Having been awakened, a thirst for the righteousness of God following a conviction of one’s sinful state can come about. There can be a sense of despair that God will not listen, because in our sinfulness we know we don’t deserve to be heard by a holy God.
But there is great hope for the person in despair in Isaiah 55. The ESV commentary says there is a sense of urgency and compassion in the Lord’s voice speaking these words through Isaiah:
“(A)“Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
(B)come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
2 (C)Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
3 Incline your ear, and come to me;
(D)hear, that your soul may live;
Jesus is the living water, He is the door, and it stands open for all who thirst for His kingdom and His righteousness.