Difficult to Believe: That God Would Permit His Son to Die for Sinners

COPYRIGHT WARNING

Nearly 600 years before Jesus came into the world, the prophet Isaiah described a world in which very few would receive God’s Messiah.

Isaiah 53:1 Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

The Apostle John confirms the words of Isaiah as Jesus is rejected by the leaders of Israel–despite the massive evidence of Jesus words and works.

John 12:37-43 But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke: “Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?”

Today, millions of people have heard about Jesus Christ, who He claimed to be and what He has done—yet, they have not believed in Him.

There should have been great expectation of the Messiah’s appearance at the time that Jesus came into the world. In fact, there were only a few who were anticipating His arrival at any moment. To the few who were watching, there was great reward for their attentiveness. Simeon and Anna were well advanced in years; even so, they were at the temple everyday in anticipation of the promise that the Messiah would come suddenly to His temple…

Malachi 3:1 “Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple…”

Luke 2:25-32 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.

Luke 2:36-37 Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.

There is great honor for all a those who wait and anticipate the coming of the Lord.

Jesus promised the diligent and constant watcher of His return, that they would be rewarded for their perseverance when He comes again for His church. He will make these faithful servants rulers over all He has.

Matthew 24:45-47 “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods.”

The person who sets his desire upon the return of Jesus will adjust his lifestyle towards purity in his thoughts, words, and actions. In order to not be ashamed at the return of the Lord, the faithful servant will live a life of righteousness and obedience to what Jesus commanded. To these who make the coming of the Lord their special delight, He will appoint them rulers over a number of cities in His new kingdom.

Luke 19:17 And he said to him, “Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.”

Rulership based on prior Faithfulness:

Jesus said that the actual number of cities, or the degree of responsibility He will entrust to His servants, will depend on the manner in which that person lived their life for Him, in anticipation of His return.

At the conclusion of the seven-year Tribulation, Jesus will establish a one-thousand year reign for His kingdom on the earth. He promised those who have faithfully served Him during their life here on earth (before the Rapture occurs), that they will be given rulership as kings and priests during this kingdom of righteousness.

Revelation 1:6 and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Revelation 5:10 And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.

Those who survive the seven-year Tribulation:

The people who make it through the seven year Tribulation alive and do not take the mark of the beast during the reign of the beast, will be allowed to go into the one thousand-year reign of Jesus Christ, during the period called the Millennium.

This 1,000 year kingdom will be overseen and ruled by Jesus from Jerusalem, with co-rulership given to those who were watching for His arrival before the seven-year Tribulation began. These individuals were Raptured out of the earth to meet the Lord in the air, as described in 1 Thessalonians Chapter 4.[1] As Jesus sets up His kingdom, authority to rule cities will be given to those who were faithful watchers of His return. Jesus places great value on those who anticipate His promised return and will reward them for their faithfulness and diligence.

These faithful servants are described as kings and priests:

Kings oversee the rulership of people; Priests act as an intermediary between God and man. A priest brings people to God and God to the people. Both titles are positions of service. The purpose of those who escape the seven-year Tribulation by being Raptured to meet the Lord in the air is to serve with Jesus in His kingdom. These individuals are called His Bride and His Church.[2]

Jesus’ definition of rulership is—servanthood:

Mark 10:43-45 “…but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. 44 And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Those whom Jesus places in positions of leadership are His servants, as well as servants to the people to whom He gives them. Jesus promised the men who continued with Him in His trials, that they would sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Luke 22:28-30 “But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials. And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

All those who set out to serve Jesus with their life will find that they will be rewarded by the Lord greatly. Even the smallest gesture of service to Jesus will find its reward when He returns.

Matthew 19:29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.

Paul wrote that since these things are true, the manner in which we live our lives for Jesus should reflect that belief.

Hebrews 12:28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.

Isaiah wrote, in this 233rd prophecy: Isaiah 53:1 “Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?”

Who would believe this amazing story of the Messiah when it was told them? Even so, the prophet continues that this is how the arm of the LORD is revealed. The arm of the LORD is a reference to His power. Who would imagine that the great power of the eternal God, which He predicted, would be revealed by the coming of the Messiah—under such difficult circumstances?

• Born to a poor family
• An attempt on His life as a baby
• Fleeing to Egypt to save His life
• Growing up as the son of a carpenter
• No home of His own
• No possessions except what He wore
• Rejected by the leaders of Israel
• Rejected by the people of Israel
• Arrested and convicted of crimes He did not commit
• Beaten so severely, He was not recognizable as a man.
• Crucified between two criminals
• Mocked, spat upon and ridiculed while He is dying

Isaiah asks the question: Who has believed our report? No one could have anticipated that God would send His Son into the world under such dire and difficult circumstances. Worst of all, though He came and endured such horrible treatment, His own brothers, the leaders of Israel and the common people of Israel did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah, they rejected Him.

We would logically conclude that those who were entrusted with the word of God at the time Jesus arrived—would have anticipated Isaiah’s prophecy and foresee the Messiah’s rejection. The leaders of Israel should have prepared themselves to receive anyone who met the qualifications which the prophetic word required. God made it very easy to recognize the Messiah, simply by comparing His words and actions to those of the prophetic scriptures.

This remains one of the amazing facts of salvation that puzzles and perplexes all of us who study the Bible. How could anyone miss the fact that Jesus fulfilled all of the Old Testament predictions which were given by God to validate who He is?

Yesterday, while I was reading the local newspaper here in Arizona over lunch, I read an article about a well-known celebrity by the name of Bill Maher. He has been a loud voice of ridicule for anyone who has the audacity to believe that there is a God, or that Jesus is anything more than just an unfortunate man who was killed for believing He was something that He was not. Apparently, Mr. Maher is to appear before scheduled audiences in Phoenix in the coming days. The newspaper writer who interviewed Mr. Maher asked him a few questions about his views on religion and politics.[3]

One of the inquiries made was whether Mr. Maher was ever able to change the minds of those to whom he speaks regarding their Republican stance, or their Christian religion. His response was—it is very difficult to change the minds of those who have certain political views; however, it is really very easy to change the mind of someone who believes in God, or that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. All I have to do is show them the man behind the curtain.”

In other words—in reference to the movie The Wizard of Oz—the power behind the miracles and wonders, which scared and transfixed those in the movie, was nothing more than a small man behind a curtain, running a machine which only made the things that happened appear to be miraculous.

Mr. Maher’s view of Christians is that we are a very gullible and naive group of individuals with weak minds who are easily persuaded by things which have very common explanations and are not attributable to God.

It was clear to me that Mr. Maher knows nothing about things in which he pretends to be an expert. He has no real knowledge of the Bible—the power of the prophetic word which was spoken by God hundreds or thousands of years well in advance of the events that are described. The fact is that not one of these predictions has ever failed to come to pass exactly as God said. The fact is that the chance of this occurring by accident is absolutely impossible. The certainty that these predictions were made well in advance and were fulfilled precisely, as written, speaks of a being who has knowledge transcendent of time and space—the one whom we define as the eternal God.

Of course, I do understand what Isaiah is propounding here in this 233rd prophecy. Who would ever believe things such as these, if there really was a God? That He would allow His only Son to endure the suffering described here in these 365 Prophecies. These facts should be impossible—except that it was by this amazing story, detailing the suffering of God’s Son, that we see most clearly who God is.

Through every generation of men, there have always been those who have missed God by their ignorance.

The fact that this is such an incredible story lends itself to the absolute believability that these things most certainly have taken place. Who would concoct such a difficult narrative, if in fact, they were attempting to convince the whole world of God’s love? This is not a soft and fluffy feel-good story which makes our heart leap as we watch grand and glorious events take place before our eyes. This is a narrative about the horrors that sin has caused on the earth and the ways in which evil men have destroyed human lives by their horrible deeds. It is an account of a loving and gracious God, who allowed man to rebel and necessitate the death of His Son. Who would believe that God would permit evil men to beat and butcher His Son—while only a small percentage of the world would believe the good news of salvation, repent of their sins and be saved?

How could God permit these things to take place?

This is a story of the brutality of evil men who put to death the most beautiful person who has ever lived. All theses atrocities committed against Him, while He was attempting to make His life a sacrifice for their evil deeds.

Who has believed our report? Isaiah declares.

Not many apparently; but to those who do believe, they are given the power to become the sons and daughters of God.

John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.


NOTES:
[1] 1 Thessalonians 4:15- 18 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
[2] My Church: Matthew 16:18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
The Bride: Revelation 21:9 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.”
[3] Q: Do you ever change people’s minds? If they’re coming to your show, they probably agree with you. A: “I’ll tell you something. It’s very hard to change people’s mind about politics, but religion is not as hard. In 20 years of being on television and hearing people’s feedback, I could count on my fingers and toes the number of times someone has said, “I’m a Democrat now, and I used to be Republican.” But I could never count the number of times people have come up to me and said, “I’m not a believer anymore. You totally pushed me over the edge on that one.” That kind of makes sense. With politics, who has the answer? We don’t know. But with religion, it’s not that hard to show somebody the man behind the curtain.” by Randy Cordova – Sept. 20, 2012 09:24 AM The Republic, azcentral.com http://www.azcentral.com/thingstodo/events/articles/2012/09/17/20120917bill-maher-comerica-theatre-phoenix.html#ixzz2LhYif8Rd



Categories: Forgiveness of Sin, Jesus is God, Jesus is the Messiah, Jews reject Jesus, Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus, Salvation through Jesus, The First Arrival of the Messiah, The world rejects Jesus, Uncategorized

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