Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
It's in Isaiah that we find the most intimate glimpses of Jesus to be found anywhere in the Bible. At least 40 times the prophet calls upon us to "behold" Him as He is--as in 42:1, "Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him," the words the Father said of Him at His baptism (Matt. 3:16, 17).
Now "behold" how tempted Jesus was to utter discouragement. It's a sin to be discouraged, but it's not a sin to be tempted: "Listen to Me, ... you people who live far away! Before I was born, the Lord chose Me and appointed Me to be His servant. He made My words as sharp as a sword. ... He made Me like an arrow, sharp and ready for use" (Isa. 49:1-3, Good News Bible).
This glorious sense of divine destiny was ever before Him since He was a child of 12 when He sensed that He must be "the Lamb of God" (cf. Luke 2:41-49). But now "behold" His temptation to despair: "I said, 'I have worked, but how hopeless it is! I have used up My strength, but have accomplished nothing'" (Isa. 49:4). Here He was, the divine Son of God, the true Messiah, "the Savior of the world," yet He was snubbed as a despised and rejected fool from the small town of Nazareth. Only a mere handful seemed to believe Him.
Day by day this temptation pressed upon Him; but never did it assail Him with such tremendous force as when He hung on His cross and the crowd mocked Him: "People passing by shook their heads and hurled insults at Jesus: 'You were going to tear down the Temple and build it back up ... ! Save yourself if you are God's Son! Come on down from the cross!' In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the Law and the elders [the nation He had come to save!] made fun of Him" (Matt. 27:39-40). Tempted terribly! But was He a fool?
"Behold" what the Father said "to the One who is deeply despised, who is hated by the nations and is the Servant of rulers: 'Kings ... will rise to show their respect; princes also will see it.' ... This will happen because the Lord has chosen His Servant; the holy God of Israel keeps His promises" (Isa. 49:7). Jesus died gloriously triumphant (cf. Psalm 22:24-31)!
Now, as one who believes in Him, these same promises are for you. The Father honors you, too; He will lift this heavy heart-burden of many years that may lie upon your soul.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: May 27, 2004.
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