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The Suffering Servant and I

"But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53:5)

Isaiah 53 is a well known passage of scripture. The prophet tells of one to come, a "servant" who will suffer and die to "bear the sins of many." Commonly referred to as the "suffering servant," this prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus, who bore our sin and shame on the cross, and rose from the dead so that we could be reconciled to God.

We recently taught this passage of scripture to a group of international students, spiritual seekers who do not yet know the King of kings. They come every week to share a meal and to learn about the Lover of their souls.

We usually teach the parables of Jesus. After all, if the master teacher Himself used these stories to teach about the kingdom of God, then we are probably doing well to follow His example. We always clarify both the divinity and the exclusivity of Jesus in our lessons, and then allow the Holy Spirit to work in their hearts and to cause the seeds that we scatter to grow.

Nevertheless, most of our lessons are not quite as confrontational as this particular passage of scripture. The passage makes it clear that He suffered greatly. He was beaten and whipped and experienced great sadness, pain, and anguish. It also makes clear, and this part is important, that it is my fault! It is your fault. It says that "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (v.6).

In other words, his suffering was great, both physically and emotionally, and it was my fault. It was your fault. That is pretty confrontational. But by accepting our fault and the free gift that he offers, He "will make many righteous" (v. 11, NLT).

One of our students, a young lady from a Muslim country, nearly broke down in tears as she began to understand what the prophet was saying, and as she began to realize the truth of it in her own spirit. I am hopeful that she is close to accepting Jesus and having her name written in the Lamb's book of life.

Please pray with us that the Holy Spirit will continue to convict her of the truth and to draw her to Jesus, the true Lover of her soul. He suffered for her, so that He could make her truly righteous in Him. And please pray for all of our students, that the Lord will cause the seeds of the Gospel that we scatter to be watered and to grow.

We are faithfully looking forward to a crop, thirty, sixty, even a hundred times over!

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