“Broken”, the word comes to me over and over. Now I see a picture – a picture of a figure being mocked, His beard forcibly being plucked out, a crown made up of long thorns being rammed down with force upon his head, blood springs out and trickles down. I hear the thud as nails go through his hands and feet – his body jerking in agony every time the nails are struck. The cross lifted up and dropped in place with a thud – more agony. All the time voices clamouring, “crucify, crucify – He saved others let Him save Himself”. Darkness – sudden, inky, black darkness – forsaken – broken, completely broken, in body but also His contact with the love of His Father broken. Blood flowing down into the dust of Jerusalem.
“Broken for you Ian. My body was broken for you so that yours may be made whole again, your real self ‘you’ who you are – made whole. My relationship with the Father broken – so that yours may be healed. I have given all for you, now I expect your all for Me – there can be no half-measures, it is either ‘all or nothing’, if you wish to follow Me.”
I understand now, Jesus wants my complete self, not just that, which I can give without it disturbing my comfort.
Continuing in Isaiah 48 and into 49. One can sense this wonderful all-encompassing plan that God has had from the beginning, continually featuring in the background, as a framework for this prophecy . The plan that He voiced to Abraham written in Gen 12:1-3, which ends with the words, “All the peoples of the earth will be blessed through you”. His plan flowing from the physical descendants of Abraham, who would become the nation of Israel, was to bring a blessing to the whole world. In the process they would also be blessed.
One can almost sense God’s frustration in Isaiah 48:18, “If only you had paid attention to my commands, you would have been blessed with peace” and in vs 18, “your descendants would have been like the sand of he sea.” But they had not heard or obeyed so they would have no peace, “because there is no peace for the wicked”.
Yet in His grace, He had not given up on them. What is His plan for them and the world? This is revealed in Ch 49. It centers around a figure called, God’s servant in 9:3. It was always God’s plan vs 1,to raise this figure for His purpose. Notice in vs 2, he will be “like a polished arrow”. Now what are the features and purpose of an arrow? It flies straight at it’s target, to accomplish the archer’s purpose, especially one that has been polished. However he is hidden for the time being. (The mystery, which is revealed much later revealed in Ephesians 3:4-6)
So what is this purpose of God? It is worded so beautifully in vs 6: The servant will accomplish this hugely important task (no small thing). He will not only restore Israel, but become a light for the Gentiles, that He may bring salvation to the ends of the earth”. The language is confusing because there are times when the servant appears to be a single figure, then again he appears to be speaking of Israel as a whole. We should not be put off by this. It is prophetic language so you must see past it to hear the melodic thread, as it weaves its way through the text.
What is important, is to see the emphatic statement in vs 8. There will be a day of salvation. A day which will be the turning point in history but also a day which each one of us needs to experience on a personal level, which will be the turning point in our lives. At that moment, His covenant will be introduced. vs 8. His new covenant, a covenant by which He will set the captives free, and call those in darkness into light. vs 9.
The rest of the chapter continues to reveal the benefits of God’s saving covenant, much of which is in symbolic language. Yet there is plenty of food for thought for each of us to meditate on, in the detail of those vv. What is very important though, is the last vs 26 b: “Then all mankind will know that I, the Lord am your Saviour, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.” Can there be any doubt about who he is talking about and His ultimate purpose?
I have painted the picture with a vast sweep of a large brush to help us to keep our bearings. However down to a personal level now, what is Jesus saying to you? What is He saying to me? I am reminded that I, like each one of us, have a special part to play in His plan. To play that part it is more important to grow in who we are by keeping close to Jesus than what we must do, He will lead us continually into the place where He wants us to be most effective as His witnesses by fulfilling our role in that plan.