35 DAYS TO RESURRECTION SUNDAY
SUNDAY, MARCH 12, 2017
SEE OUR YOU-TUBE RECORDING “BLESSED REDEEMER”
Isaiah 53:1-4 “…Who hath believed our report?”
SCRIPTURE READING: ISAIAH 53:
1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?
2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Who hath believed our report? Who believes?
Not those who are blind.
Bertrand Russell, that famed atheist from the last century once quipped that if he ever did face God he would “reproach Him for not giving us enough evidence.” The Psalmist exalted: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.” (Psalm 19:1-3). Russell saw scant evidence for God. The Psalmist looked at the same universe and saw evidence everywhere!
The Apostle Paul saw the evidence and believed everyone who would could see for themselves, “The invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead;” Everyone has seen enough that they are “without excuse:” Paul warns that disbelief leads to darkness, and darkness to decadence. Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. (Romans 1:20,21)
Not those who are of hard heart.
We say, “A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still.” And so it is. When a man’s heart is hard, he will not believe though mountains of evidence point to the truth.
The disciples found it difficult to believe after witnessing amazing miracles. Jesus reasoned with them: “Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? Perceive ye not yet, neither understand? Have ye your heart hardened? Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember? When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? They say unto him, Twelve. And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? And they said, Seven. And he said unto them, How is it that ye do not understand?”(Mark 8:17-21).
Hardening of the heart is as spiritually fatal as hardening of the arteries is physically fatal. The Writer to the Hebrews urges his readers, “Exhort one another daily, while it is called today, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:13)
Not those who could not believe.
John was a first-hand witness to the resistance of the Jews to trust Christ: “Though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: That the saying of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, “Lord, who hath believed our report? And to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?” Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again, “He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.” (John 12:37-40).
St. Augustine, a convert to Christ in the 4th century commented on this passage, “If I be asked why they could not believe? I immediately answer, Because THEY WOULD NOT.” Aug. Tract. 53.
They could not because they would not. And they would not because they were unwilling to do the of God. Only the willing will believe and know. Jesus said, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” (John 7:17)
Count Me In
As for me, “When they number the ones who believe in Him, count me in!” I’m with Paul, “Iknow whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” (2 Timothy 1:12).
If you’ve struggled to believe, pray with the Father who brought his afflicted son to Jesus, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” (Mark 9:24).
You will discover that faith is proportional to your willingness to see, to sense, and to surrender to the Suffering Servant so aptly pictured in Isaiah 53.
Who hath believed our report? Ah we have! And we are so glad. We can never be same again.
PRAYER: Our Father, The thought that you would reveal your mighty arm to us—That you would reach down, lift us from the horrible pit of sin, and set our feet joyfully traveling up the highway of holiness—is beyond our understanding. To think that when we could not come to where Jesus was, “He came to me,” thrills our soul! Lord open our eyes to see more of Thee. Soften our hearts to sense more of Thy love. And may our wills be at one with your “good, acceptable, and perfect will,” for now and for all of eternity. In the name of our crucified Lord Jesus Christ we pray. Amen. Our Father &c.