Tuesday, January 12, 2016

the once and future King

The Word for today:
Isaiah 44:24-45:25
Yesterday, we looked at the Servant of the Lord, individually and collectively.
We saw that "the servant of the LORD" is both Jesus and Israel.
We saw that the Servant Christ will restore servant Israel (1). Then, restored and converted, Israel will no longer be a faithless servant, but will faithfully carry out the purposes of God.
Today, we will be looking at the multi-faceted individual Servant. The Bible student can be disoriented by this figure, because sometimes he is despised, rejected, even slain. Then, seemingly without transition, he is seen as a mighty conqueror, taking vengeance on the nations and restoring Israel (2).
How can these vastly dissimilar pictures be of just one person?
Here's how:
The passages depicting the rejected and despised figure relate to the first coming, or advent, of Jesus Christ. These prophecies of Jesus have been fulfilled in the New Testament.
The passages depicting the conqueror refer to Jesus' second advent.
The Holy Spirit, the author of Scripture, drew prophetic pictures of Jesus in the Old Testament--so that we'd be able to recognize Him at both of his advents.
First, a picture of Joseph, who was rejected by his brothers, thrown into a pit and left for dead. Lifted out of the pit, he is sold into slavery and then imprisoned. But by the hand of God in his life, he rose to the status of royalty, commanding all the resources of Egypt. When a famine struck, he was able to save many from death, both in Israel and Egypt. Joseph is a picture of the rejected servant who would become Savior. He is a picture of how God redeems--turning suffering into salvation; turning bad into good (3).
Next is a picture of David. Although he was God's anointed King, appointed by the prophet Samuel, he was forced into exile by King Saul, whom God had rejected. David lived in the hills and caves of the wilderness, unacknowledged by the principalities and powers of the day. But the time came when this rightful King returned and ascended to a throne that was already his.
With these prophetic Old Testament portraits, the Holy Spirit has prepared us--
1. to recognize the Servant who would be lifted up, saving many through his suffering;
2. to crown with great glory the King once crowned with thorns.
(1) Isaiah 49:5-6; (2) see Isaiah 63:1-4; (3) Genesis 50:20

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