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March 2017 Issue

Designed by God

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Devotion for Saturday, March 18, 2017

We Endure Suffering

Read Isaiah 53:1-12

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Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering. Isaiah 53:4

Early in his career, the Dutch master Rembrandt painted a scene of the crucifixion that depicted Jesus’ suffering on the Cross. The painting ended up in a small parish church in France and was virtually unknown until it was discovered in the 1950s. Art historians were able to conclusively identify it as Rembrandt’s work in part because of his signature, which he etched on the Cross, but also because he used his own features in the face of Christ.

In today’s passage, the prophet Isaiah clearly speaks of the physical and emotional suffering of our Lord and Savior. As Rembrandt depicted through his art, Jesus bore our pain through His death on the Cross (v. 4). It was our sin that He bore on the Cross.

Note the repeated comparison to sheep, an animal raised to be killed for food or sacrifice. We are the sheep who stray from the flock, while Christ is the lamb who is willingly led to slaughter (v. 7). He did not defend Himself or speak out on His own behalf.

The innocence of Jesus is clear. He had done no wrong. But, His suffering served a higher purpose. First, He would redeem the lost. Second, He would fulfill the will of His Father (v. 10). And, finally, He would be glorified as His Father’s will was accomplished (v. 11).

Jesus suffered willingly on our behalf. He endured physical pain and humiliation. We should not be surprised that we, too, will experience pain. It is a part of the human condition in a fallen world. But we also have the perfect example of our Savior to encourage us. He provides us with hope and a focus on how God redeems our suffering for His glory. Through Jesus’ suffering, God has defeated death once and for all and guaranteed for us eternal life.

Apply the Word

Each of us will one day face suffering, but we can rest in the assurance that we have a Savior who knows and understands our pain. He endured it, even to the point of death. Ask God for help as you walk through each difficult season of your life. And remember others today who may be suffering. We serve a Lord who is acquainted with our sorrows.

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