Okay, I admit it, the title of this post is just a hook to get you to read it. In truth, this post is just a few rambling reflections of what was a great (GREAT) Bible study last night in our Monday evening men’s study.
I mentioned a week or two ago that we were studying The Cross of Christ (the smaller bible study version of it) by John Stott. Last night was our first lesson and it was outstanding! A real blessing!
Our focus was Isaiah 53. The eyes of our men, who had never really interacted with that text of Scripture before, were opened to the deep realities of what our Lord went through on our behalf. Those of us who were more familiar with that text were also humbled as we walked through the chapter, verse by verse, and reflected on God’s love lavished upon those as undeserving as we. I can’t help but think of Charles Wesley’s, And Can It Be that I Should Gain“…
And can it be that I should gain
an interest in the Savior’s blood!
Died he for me? who caused his pain!
For me? who him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be
that thou, my God,
shouldst die for me?
So, besides serving as a hook to get you to read this post, why did I say that “your Jesus is too handsome?” Well, because (and this is neither new nor profound) all too often our image of Jesus looks a little too much like us. And I don’t mean just his physical appearance. Isaiah made a point of saying that there was nothing so particularly attractive about the Servant that would compel us to desire him. I don’t think that Isaiah was painting a portrait of Jesus’ physical appearance by saying that as much as saying he was a plain and humble man. He didn’t come in power and prestige. The Lord of heaven and earth took on our flesh and dwelt among us. And though he knew no sin, he became sin for us!
If you haven’t read the whole text in a while, here it is…
1 Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
And who can speak of his descendants?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was stricken.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
11 After the suffering of his soul,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.
May God bless you as you read and contemplate his word. And may he pour his grace upon you as you reflect on what Christ has done on your behalf.
One Last Thought on Men’s Ministry…
A great many men’s studies never seem to divert the gaze of the men from themselves. Now, I’m a proponent of assessing ourselves and how we are, or are not, progressing in our faith. Introspection is important. Yet I’ve realized over the years of ministering to men that while we need to take God’s Word and see how it “hits us where we live,” we also need to spend some time (quantity and quality time) reflecting on our God and the great doctrines of our faith. Only that will give us the footing we need for standing firm in our own lives. This new study is helping us with just that very thing.
Grace and Truth,