The opening of Isaiah 45 has God speaking to Cyrus. Cyrus was a pagan king, yet God said "I take hold of his right hand and subdue nations before him." 45:1
God was using an enemy of His, a king who did not acknowledge Him as Lord, to accomplish His purposes. Listen to this:
"I will go before you and level mountains. I will break down bronze gates, and cut through iron bars. I will give you treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, (here is why) So that you (Cyrus) will know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, WHO SUMMONS YOU BY NAME."
Gods enemies were at his beck and call to do what He wanted done.
How powerful this was to Jesus as he realized Cyrus represented another, greater enemy, Satan. Jesus would know the story of Job by now. He would have seen how Satan was summoned by name to accomplish what God wanted done in Job. Here he sees it in Cyrus. So Jesus, faced with the most powerful of enemies could know that his Enemy had been summoned by name by God the father and what was Gods reason for calling Satan up? So The Enemy would know God was the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings.
What power this infused Jesus with in the moments when his enemy attacked! Jesus did not have to worry or fear, because he knew his Enemy was only being given opportunity in order to accomplish Gods greater plan!
Boldness. Confidence. #Impact
"See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction." Isaiah 48:10
I don't imagine these were the most exciting words to Jesus. I mean, who really wants to be tested by affliction. And not only affliction, but a furnace of affliction. Tested by fire! Tested by suffering. Tested by pain.
I imagine Jesus asked this question out loud! "God, why do I have to suffer so much?" His suffering started long before Calvary. As a boy he was hunted. As a child he lived in a places Jewish people were despised. He was considered a bastard child and thus called names considered and outcast by many. In answer to his question, "Why do I need to be tested?" He learned this:
"For my sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another." 48:11
So Jesus learned the purpose of his affliction was because God was interested in protecting his glory. In other words, God wanted to test Jesus in order to ensure Jesus was going to stand up to the test. God did not want his only begotten son to defame His holy name, so He allowed Jesus to be tested in a furnace of affliction.
How comforting and exciting, right?
But that is not the end of what Jesus learned here. I am sure he wondered how he would be able to pass these painful test without making any mistakes. How was he going to make it through?
He found his answer -
"I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go." 48:17
All he had to do was allow His Daddy to lead him through and trust God knew what was best for him!
I am so grateful Jesus learned this lesson and passed through the furnace of affliction and came out the other side PERFECT! Because he did, now I have been redeemed and now the same God who guided Jesus through the furnace of affliction will also hold me in his hand and lead me through this world of trouble as well!
Isaiah 49 and 50 are so full of Impact moments for Jesus, I encourage you to read it for yourself when you have a moment. Here are a few of the verses I highlighted:
"Before I was born, the Lord called me; from my birth He has made mention of my name." 49:1
How much Jesus must have loved this verse, knowing his life had a purpose and meaning before it even began and that before he was born he had been called and his Daddy knew his name!
"You are my servant . . . In whom I will display my splendor." 49:3
I know a lot of Jesus' life did not feel like God was displaying splendor. Yet, here he had received a promise written long before his time that God was going to display His splendor in and through Him! Whoooo!!!!
". . . For I am honored in the eyes of the Lord. . ." 49:5
The world hated him. The world despised him. The world wanted to get rid of him, but Jesus learned at a young age that he was honored in the eyes of his Daddy and he learned to live satisfied in that truth!
49:5-6 taught Jesus that his purpose was going to be much greater than just the redemption of Israel! His life, death, and resurrection was going to impact the entirety of humanity, both Jews and Gentiles. He had been sent to redeem the whole world! It is no wonder Jesus felt the honor his Father bestowed on him was much greater than the suffering he would endure!
"See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. . ." 49:16
Jesus learned that his true worth, his true value, his true satisfaction would not be found in things he did here in earth, but rather, in the truth that His Daddy loved him so much, that his name was so valuable to God, that his name was engraved (think branding iron!!!) in his Daddy's hand! If his name was permanently engraved in his dads hand, it would be impossible for his father to ever forget him! This is a truth that Jesus need as he lived, and especially as he died, and his body was still in a grave, he had to know, he needed to know, that his Daddy would never forget him!
The words written by Isaiah surely were a treasure to Jesus. They were words that lifted his spirits when he was feeling the pressure to give up in his human flesh. As his body grew tired, as his spirit was tempted, these are words Jesus clung to!
"Daddy called me and knows my name! He is going to display his glory/splendor in me. My life has meaning because He is going to redeem not only Israel through me, but the whole world! He is going to teach me to be the Good Shepherd for my people. My name has been engraved in His hand, therefore He will never forget me!!!"
And finally, although his life was fully of misery and sorrow, Jesus could cling to all these promise based on this one:
"Those who hope in me (God) will not be disappointed!" 49:23
This morning, my spirit soars because I have learned that through his redeeming love, I am seated in Christ. Therefore, I can join Jesus in these promises and know God has called me, knows me, has set me apart, will use me to lead others to His feet, my name is engraved in His hand so he cannot, and He will not ever forget me, and though the world be against me, and trials and trouble surround me, if I put my hope in him, I will never be disappointed!
Praise be to His Name, the Lord Most High!
"Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the Lord." Isaiah 51:1
I imagine these words captured the attention of Jesus and caused his ears to perk up for what would follow. How could it not. He was pursuing righteousness and he was seeking his Father!
"Look to the rock from which you were cut..." 51:2
The first thing Jesus learned here was where to focus his eyes, his attention. They were to be on the One from whom he came, the Lord God Almighty.
"Do not fear the reproach of men or be terrified by their insults." 51:7
Jesus learned that if his focus was on his Father, this world would hate him, despise him, and reproach him. They would hurl insults at him.
"My righteousness will will last forever my salvation through all generations." 51:8
Jesus learned he did not have to concern himself with whether or not his life, death, and resurrection would amount to anything! Here he learned that the salvation he would provide would endure forever.
"I, even I (the Lord), am he who comforts you. Who are you to fear mortal men?" 51:12
Jesus learned he had nothing to fear. Nothing men could do to him would matter because it was the hand of the Lord Almighty who gave him comfort.
"I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand." 51:16
What strength and courage these words have to my Lord and Savior. To know what he would say would be words coming straight from his Dad and he would be protected by the hand of God!
"Therefore hear this, you afflicted one (Jesus), made drunk, but not with wine. This is what the Sovereign Lord says, your God who defends his people (his children): 'See I have taken out of your hand the cup (persecution and death) that made you stagger; from that cup, the goblet of my wrath, you will NEVER drink again. I will put it into the hands of your tormentors (Satan and his death) who said to you, 'Fall prostrate that we may walk over you.' And you made your back like the ground (willing sacrifice) like a street to be walked over. Awake, AWAKE, O Zion (my Son), clothe yourself in strength. Put on your garments of splendor!" 51:21-52:1
I don't believe I need to say more than Isaiah did! How amazing of God to prepare these much need words of promise and encouragement to
Prepare Jesus for his life, his sacrificial death, but because of those words "Awake, Awake!" Jesus knew with all confidence he would Rise Again!