Isaiah 52: 14b …his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men…
Galatians 6: 17. From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of The Lord Jesus.
2Cor 4: 10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of The Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal body.
Penned by the prophet Isaiah many centuries before the sufferings of Christ were ever realized, these prophesies became essential confirmations to those who looked for the promised Messiah. For had it not been for the forewarned cruelties that’d be placed on the One the Father would send, few would have ever believed Jesus was the true redeemer of Israel and the world. The Jewish mind could not fathom degradation as an essential element in determining a true Leader. To the natural mind, respected governmental systems and military might were the prerequisites of any deliverer; and any thought of a national leader being subject to the detestable Romans would be inconceivable and unconscionable.
Yet, Isaiah’s prophetic words and their ultimate fulfillment in Jesus, create a new reality for all who believe. The Spirit of God used the pain, suffering, and persecution of this world to demonstrate His virtues of love, wisdom, and righteousness- not in cultures of beauty, but in environments contrary to them. In essence, the elevated and marred body of Jesus became the deepest declaration of God’s love and grace towards humanity’s sin-induced enmity. His love exceeded our hate, His kindness transcended our antagonisms, and His mercies overcame our judgments. And in His crucified body carried the marks and wounds of both worlds- from above, the height of His love; from below, the baseness of our sin. His was a willingly sacrificed life, yet sacrificed willingly upon the whimsical altars of evil, violent and earthy men.
So that His body became the quintessential battleground for good and evil. And though in His death darkness appeared to have won- in His resurrection every element of darkness- sin and death- were emphatically and eternally overcome! Simply put, His body became expendable so that, 1) the promised spiritual relationship of the Father and His children would be a reality; and 2) in His resurrection He would eclipse temporal mortality with our corresponding resurrection of immortality!
Furthermore, the Apostles also carried in their bodies the indicators of heaven’s compassion and earth’s callousness. History records in detail their testimonies; and with the exception of John, all ended with the sentence of death. And countless others who dared declare the Gospel after His resurrection, bore the marks of horrific persecution. And many others through martyrdom became heaven’s greatest ambassadors! Their faith never failed, their testimonies still inspire, their Savior still lives! And now, so does ours!
So how do we answer the bell in our generation? How do we engage with our culture without compromise? How do we penetrate the ever encroaching darkness, knowing full well the costs of being invested in heaven’s interests? Read the rest of this entry »