Wednesday: Suffering before Glory
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Image © Jeff Preston from GoodSalt.com

Jesus, like Paul, studied the Old Testament and drew the conclusion that the Messiah would “have to suffer these things and then enter his glory” (Luke 24:26, NIV). The “have to” of Luke 24:26 translates the same word as Acts 17:3 (NIV),where Paul says the Messiah “had to suffer.” For Jesus and Paul, the priority of suffering before glory was written into the prophecies long before they were to have occurred. The question is, then, on what Old Testament basis did they come to this conclusion?

They likely would have noticed that the most significant figures in the Old Testament had a prolonged period of suffering before they entered into the glory period of their lives. Joseph spent some thirteen years in prison before ascending to the role of prime minister of Egypt. Moses spent forty years chasing sheep through the desert before taking up his role as the powerful leader of the Exodus. David spent many years as a fugitive, some of that time in foreign lands, before being elevated to kingship. Daniel was a prisoner of war, and was even condemned to death, before his elevation to the position of prime minister of Babylon. In the stories of these Old Testament servants of God there are foreshadowings of the Messiah, who would also suffer and be humiliated before being elevated to His full royal role.

The capstone of this New Testament conviction is found in the most widely quoted Old Testament text in the New Testament: Isaiah 53. The Suffering Servant of Isaiah was despised, rejected, and sorrowful (Isa. 53:2-4). Like a sanctuary lamb, He was slaughtered on account of our sins (Isa. 53:5-7), according to the will of the Lord (Isa. 53:8-10). But “after the suffering of his soul” (Isa. 53:11, NIV), He would justify many and receive a powerful inheritance (Isa. 53:12).

For the writers of the New Testament, Isaiah 53 was the key to the Messiah’s role. Paul would certainly have preached this text in Thessalonica. According to Isaiah 53, the Messiah would not appear kingly or powerful at the time of His first appearance. In fact, He would be rejected by many of His own people. But that rejection would be the prelude to the glorious Messiah of Jewish expectation. With this in mind, Paul was able to show that the Jesus he had come to know was, in fact, the Messiah whom the Old Testament had foretold.

Prayerfully read through Isaiah 53, realizing that it’s talking about what the Lord, our Creator, went through just so that you, personally, can have eternal life. In light of what this amazing truth tells us about the character of God, why should Christ be first and foremost in our lives?

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Wednesday: Suffering before Glory — 11 Comments

  1. It's a very inspiring topic and challenges us that whatever trials and temptations there are in our life we must struggle and fight for the glory of the LORD.

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  2. In my opinion the role of the Messiah was only one of the problems Paul had to face in his evangelism. The other one was whether or not Jesus was the Messiah at all.

    When it came to the role of the Messiah I am sure Paul would have used Isaiah 53 but there are other Old Testament texts that I feel he would have used also. For instance, "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel" (Gen 3:15 NKJV) which is a clear indicator that something on God's part was to suffer. Then there is the incident of Abraham sacrificing Isaac where God provided the offering (Gen 22) which brings up the purpose for the entire sacrificial system.

    The characters in the Old Testament form a pattern and as Jesus said, "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me" (Jn 5:39 NKJV). So I do think Paul would have seen that but I wonder if that would have been too subtle to be used for evangelism. To me establishing the time and circumstances of the first advent is on much firmer ground and much easier to defend.

    To me Paul would have used the time prophesies of Daniel to nail down the baptism of the Messiah which Luke pinpoints to within a year (Lk 3:1-2). He would also have pointed out that Jesus was in the lineage of David who was born in Bethlehem which was easy to establish through civil and ecclesiastical records that the Jews meticulously keep. I also believe he would have gone into those prophesies concerning the events surrounding the crucifixion and would have declared their fulfillment. So, as far as I am concerned establishing Jesus as the Messiah was a much more involved thing than simply showing that the Messiah needed to suffer.

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    • It seems to me that Paul was addressing the Jewish expectations of the nature of the Kingdom that the Messiah was to establish. That was/is even more important than nailing down the dates to prove that Jesus was the Messiah.

      Jesus lived a life of self-sacrificing love, and He calls us to do the same. That's inherent in the call to follow him, as given in Luke 9:23, “Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.’”

      But that was contrary to their whole way of thinking, and today it is still contrary to our human way of thinking.

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  3. It is amazing what Christ has done for us as both Lord and Savior. He is our Judge, yet He is our Lawyer. Our Priest, and our sacrifice!

    In a Jamaican Colloquial expression, we would say, "He is our Head cook, and bottle washer." He gets High for us as King and Judge (head cook/chef), yet He got as low as becoming an animal (lamb/bottle washer) for us. He is our everything!

    We are told in scripture to "Cast" our cares upon Jesus because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). This explains how he gets bruised all the time. Most of the "sacrifices" we make as humans means that we "pay dearly" to respond to felt needs as long as we won't have to "suffer" for it. Not So with Jesus! Praise God!

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  4. It's all about Jesus, and what Jesus has done for us. Our testimony of what Jesus has done for us is prophesied in the Old Testiment. In the New Testement our testimony lived, died, and resurrected, and then preached. Isaiah 53; John 3:14; John 19:1-John 20:10; 1 Peter 2:24; 2 Corinthians 5:21, and 1 John 3:16, all tell of Jesus suffering for us.

    What are we going to do about it? We desire the Truth and/or want something better, we give of ourselves completely to Jesus, we seek salvation, we surrender our bad habits to Christ, we visualize Jesus, we ask for the Holy Spirit, then go out and tell our neighbors, friends, and relatives of what Jesus has done for us.

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  5. Interesting. The Jews who were said to be diligent readers of the scriptures missed the message/lessons that God intended and ultimately missed the real fulfilment of the Old Testament scriptures.

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    • Siluzile, prayer is the most important thing but it is not the only thing. We need also to honestly desire to live a Christian life and have the will to do it.

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    • Dear Siluzile,

      I pray that you may exercise the power of choice God gave you to choose to serve Him with all your heart. May God grant you both the willing and the choosing. He has promised to supply all our needs when we put His Kingdom first.

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      • Inge,
        I thought you, Tyler, and Siluzile would gain from the following:
        "We are to contend with supernatural forces, but we are assured of supernatural help. All the intelligences of heaven are in this army. And more than angels are in the ranks. The Holy Spirit, the representative of the Captain of the Lord’s host, comes down to direct the battle. Our infirmities may be many, our sins and mistakes grievous; but the grace of God is for all who seek it with contrition. The power of Omnipotence is enlisted in behalf of those who trust in God." {DA 352.2}
        What a blessing these words are to me when I have doubt creep in based on mistakes of the past. I read also my Bible and find so many testimonies of people who made mistakes, they saw their mistakes, and turned their face back to God, God forgave them. Great is His faithfulness even unto us. His grace is sufficient. Those who turn their face to God, are saved even to the uttermost, through Christ, we read in Hebrews 7:25.

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  6. Please, my beloved brethren, I don't know what's happening to me, I find it difficult to talk to God via pray and to read His word. Remember me in your prayers. God bless you!

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