March 6, 2019

Israel, Did You Know?

By: Larry Shaffer

Nate in Greece

Israel, Did You Know? 

Isaiah, Post # 6 

Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?  

For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty that we should upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. 

He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised and we did not esteem Him. 

Isaiah 53:1-3 

Impact and achievement in life is often difficult to imagine when one currently lives in utter obscurity.  

Colonel Harland Sanders was fired from a variety of jobs throughout his career before he first started cooking chicken in his roadside Shell Service Station in 1930, when he was 40 years old, during the great depression. Of course, it’s easy to see how cooking chicken in a gas station could lead to world-wide success as the king of chicken🙂 

Over the next 10 years, he perfected his “secret recipe” and pressure fryer method for his famous fried chicken, serving it at his gas station. Eventually, his service station went broke and he was forced to close his business. He drove from restaurant to restaurant, sleeping in his car, trying to find someone to franchise his chicken recipe. Eventually he found a partner and today there are 18,875 KFC outlets in 118 countries. 

I feel a little guilty comparing Colonial Sanders to Jesus. Sorry! It’s not always easy coming up with the right illustration. I thought about telling some of my story, but that seemed inappropriate as well. Maybe Joseph, a biblical character, makes a better illustration. Sold into slavery, spending many years in an Egyptian prison, Joseph, because of his character and faith in God, eventually rises to be the second most powerful man in Egypt. This is especially amazing in that Joseph was a Jew in a foreign land.  

Impact and achievement in life is often difficult to imagine when one currently lives in utter obscurity.  

The story of Jesus has no comparisons. There’s no illustration that can enhance the life of Jesus. He stands alone. We revel in the story of baby Jesus, born in obscurity, in a manager without the fanfare of royalty. He grew up “before Him” meaning God was well aware of “His Servant Messiah”. But no one else. Mary had a sense of His specialness but as life went on and she had more children and busy household, she must’ve have wondered if He was truly someone special before God or just a special child to her? 

Please recall, these are words spoken at the Second Coming of Jesus. These are reflective words looking back in time to the first coming of Jesus. The truth of who Jesus is will be revealed to all throughout the events of the Second Coming. But looking back, Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord (“arm” being a symbol of POWER) been revealed.  The rhetorical answer is ‘No one’. Actually, only a few and that was after the resurrection. 

After the resurrection, the time of the Gentiles took place for 2000 + years. This is the time we know live in and the time of our blessing as Gentiles. We are living in the ‘church age’ between the first and second coming of Jesus. But as far as the nation of Israel, generally speaking, the blinders remain over their eyes. They don’t believe the ‘message’ and they don’t acknowledge the “arm” of power of the Messiah. 

Have you ever noticed a dry root on the surface of hard dirt after a long drought? That was Jesus in His youth. No one would give Him notice and conceive that He was the Messiah. There was nothing attractive about Him. There wasn’t a glow over His head. There wasn’t a majestic glimmer in his eyes. There was the story of a peek into His wisdom and knowledge when He wowed the teachers in the Temple. But no one considered a lowly carpenter’s son from Nazareth could be the Messiah. 

I know this sounds arrogant but the reality is that you and I understand Isaiah 53 and we embrace what it is teaching us about Jesus of Nazareth, THE Messiah; OUR Messiah; Israel’s Messiah. We get it, but they don’t right now. It’s going to take the rapture, the Tribulation and ultimately, the Second Coming to open their eyes as a nation. They are going to look back and mourn because they didn’t see it or understand the concept of a “Servant Messiah.” It sounds like we are arrogant, but we shouldn’t be. We are blessed beyond measure that we believe the message and we can SEE the Arm of the Lord in the person of Jesus. It’s not because we are smarter than others that don’t see it. We are simply blessed! 

Dear Father, when we consider the depth of insight You have granted us, as simple people with simple faith, it is astounding! Absolutely astounding! We are so blessed and we are so grateful. Thank you a million, trillion times for Your grace and kindness toward us who believe. Amen. 

This link will take you to a song that will mean more to you than ever after considering the first two verses of Isaiah 53. Amazing that Jordan Smith sang this song for the “The Voice” finale before millions who considered it a nice song but didn’t understand the depth of the message. His vocal coach, Adam Levine, advised Jordan not to sing this religious song. But Jordan, a committed Christian, felt he had a platform that he couldn’t pass up. Praise God for his courage. He nailed it. Tears came to my eyes as I listened to it this morning.