Tag Archives: isaiah

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

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It was a dark and stormy night, but the storms on this night weren’t in the atmosphere, they were in his spirit. Jesus was there, in the garden, wrestling in prayer for you and for me. The sin of all mankind had been laid upon him, and he was exhausted.

His friends were exhausted too, and they showed it by their inability to stay awake in watch as their rabbi prayed in distress. So many storms.

As he prayed his body trembled from the hematidrosis – an exhausting condition where the stress is so great that the capillaries in one’s skin burst and the blood mixes with sweat so that one literally “sweats blood”. Why was he so stressed? He had just taken on not just the sin, but the guilt of every sin ever committed past, present, and future. He felt guilty for everything that had ever been done and everything that would ever be done. It was crushing him, and he was sweating blood as he cried in anguish and trepidation.

“Let this cup pass from me” was his prayer. Why? Because the God of the universe was about to make Jesus drink the cup of punishment that had been filled with the sins of the masses. Jesus was about to die, and he knew it.

Even though there was such a storm brewing in his spirit that night, it was clear what the choice needed to be. “Not my will but Yours be done.”

Soon after there was the sound of heavy footsteps and the flash of the moon glinting off metal. Soldiers were coming. A whole squad of soldiers and religious leaders were coming armed with swords and clubs and spears. Here is Jesus, unarmed and with a rag-tag bunch of nobodies. Why did they feel the need to come at him so fully armed?

As Jesus and the disciples heard the oncoming ruckus, they stood up with Jesus at the forefront of the group. The leader of the army sent to arrest him? Judas – one of Jesus’ trusted twelve – the traitor.

Jesus calmly asked the group, “who is it you are looking for?”

“Jesus of Nazareth” was their reply.

What happens next can only be explained in context of a previous conversation Jesus had with the religious leaders of the day. They were trying to trap Jesus in blasphemy, and Jesus was accusing them of always getting rid of the prophets. Jesus was trying to get them to see that Abraham prophesied about Jesus, but they wouldn’t listen. Jesus, then, called them out.

He told them they weren’t children of Abraham. In fact, he went further to say that they were children of the devil. Then, he said something even more blasphemous: “Before Abraham was born, I Am.” Their reaction was swift and harsh as they picked up stones to kill Jesus because they remembered another conversation many, many years before.

Moses is watching his flock when he notices a bush on the mountain called Sinai. This bush is burning, but there is no charring – the bush never burns up. Moses approaches and God proceeds to talk to him from the bush. As God calls Moses to a major mission, Moses asks who he should say sent him. God replies, “I Am who I Am. Tell them I Am sent you.”

They had said they were looking for Jesus of Nazareth.

“I Am.”

How he said it is not as important as the implication of what was just said. Jesus just used the same terminology as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jesus just said He is God.

As this statement sinks in quickly through the ranks of the soldiers they fall to the ground – stunned.

Jesus had rendered the mob defenseless with two words, “I Am.”

He knew he was going to die. He knew he needed to die so that all those billions of people who ever lived and ever would live could truly have life, but he was going down on his terms.

Peter got excited and took a swing with his sword but missed his mark. Instead, an ear was cut off, but Jesus healed that too. It was then that Jesus explained things to Peter. “This sword is not our way of doing things. If I wanted to fight they would have no defense against the legions of angels at my disposal.”

Previously, Jesus had said (John 10) that no one would take His life from Him. Jesus had the power to lay his life down, and he was going to raise it back up.

Judas, the traitor finally came up and kissed Jesus on the cheek to signify the betrayal. Judas had just earned his 30 pieces of silver. This betrayal was not necessary. Jesus had already given himself over to them.

Jesus was bound and tried and beaten, and beaten, and mocked, and beaten some more, and eventually crucified. As he was hanging on that cross sin after sin was being dealt with. The justice of God was being appeased through this one act. When every sin had been taken care of Jesus cried out, “It is finished.”

Isaiah 53:4-5
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

What happened next is the power of Jesus. No one dies quickly on a cross. It could take up to 48 hours for a person to die this way. Jesus gave up his spirit and died voluntarily.

He died for you and me – on purpose – of his own will.

Then, that glorious Sunday morning so long ago, he rose from the dead to prove that he really is God, your sins really are forgiven, and you really can have eternal life through him. The one who laid down a mob with two words raised from the dead. He is the glorious first fruits of those who raise from the dead – and that can include you and me.

This is the good news of Easter. May you celebrate this Sunday and every day that the God of the universe cares enough about you to give up everything to save you. May you see where your life is disconnected from God and come back. Jesus has already made the way for you.

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James Taylor and the Bible

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Have you ever had a time in your life when you felt like life just isn’t fair, and you’re discouraged? Have you ever been faced with a decision where you couldn’t see the consequences of any choice? Have you ever felt utterly alone in this world? Have you ever wondered what your purpose is set out to be; where does God want you to go; what does He want you to do?

I would say that if you answered yes to any of those questions you are extremely – normal.

We all feel that way at some time or another. Today I want to remind you of some promises from God for you as you journey through life.

First of all, remember Abraham. God told Abraham to go, but He didn’t tell him which way or how far. He just told Abraham to trust God, and He would lead him to the place He would give his descendants.

Abraham left. I don’t know if he walked out his tent and went left or right, but whichever way he went was the right way. Abraham was seeking to follow God, and God did not disappoint Abraham by abandoning him.

God gives us the same promise today. Whatever situation you are in, God wants you to know He is with you, and if you follow Him, then you will be going the right direction and doing the right thing wherever you land. God is trying to bring you peace no matter the circumstances.

Let’s look at a few passages that reflect these ideas:

Isaiah 30:21 “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.'”

God is trying to show you that He is with you wherever you go. You merely need to be listening for his voice. We tend to worry that we made a wrong decision, but God is affirming you. He is telling you that He is still with you and helping you and guiding you even in your decisions – even after your decisions.

Matthew 6:31-34 “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

The secret to finding contentment in Christ comes from a change of focus. If you are focused on all the physical needs you perceive, then you will easily become discouraged when troubling times come. If the answers aren’t clear, then a physical-focused mind becomes muddled. But if the mind is focused on the Kingdom of God and being in His righteousness, then there is peace in knowing that He is in control and will take care of all your needs. It is when we understand this passage that we can more readily trust in the Isaiah passage.

Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

This is an amazing passage. God blanketly says here that everything is going to be ok. He wants you to know that even if you make a decision that you don’t think was best He is still working it out for your good. You can go to the bank on that. This is a promise from the God who cannot lie. You have been called, and as you love him (more than a feeling – its an action) he works all things out for your good.

Whew! That’s a load off! That means that even if you chose a job that may not be the best you can still be blessed in that. Maybe you made some bad decisions earlier in life that you now regret. God is working to make all things good for you. He’s awesome like that.

Lastly, in Hebrews 5 the writer quotes God as saying “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Maybe you feel all alone in life. There is disaster on every side. You are not alone, and He will never leave you. Even when you draw away from Him, He never leaves. He is very much like a good parent that, though the child does wrong, He still loves the child and desperately wants the best for that child.

That’s the God we serve. That’s the God I want to serve.

James Taylor sang a song that many of you know, “You’ve Got a Friend”. If you know that song, then think about the lyrics. It’s a song of a friendship that would sacrifice anything to help the other out. That’s a pretty great image of our God, and He has already sacrificed everything to help us out. “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

I hope that this has brought you some encouragement in your life. We all need encouragement from time to time, and the promises of God are true and bring life. Share this with your friends; chances are that they need to hear this message too.

If there’s anything I can do for you, please feel free to contact me at jddobbs@verizon.net or through my blog at http://www.mrdobbs.org. God bless you…wait, He already has.


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