Episode 1. The Answer is Jesus
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I wish I could tell you that I had an answer for making everything in your life better. But faith in God it doesn’t work like that. What I can share with you though is a secret that brings you …
I wish I could tell you that I had an answer for making everything in your life better. But faith in God it doesn’t work like that. What I can share with you though is a secret that brings you peace and comfort and courage in the middle of the trials of life. And it’s a secret worth knowing.
I would love to be able to tell you today that I have a secret that can take all the uncertainty and change and surprises out of your journey. I’d love to be able to tell you that. I’d love to be able to tell you that I have a secret that will take the wrinkles and lumps and bumps out of your life. But alas no, I’d be lying if I told you that. There’s no such thing.
Every life is a journey, every life has surprises and every life takes twists and turns that we wouldn’t have chosen for ourselves. The sooner we get used to that truth the better. “It’s just not fair”, I hear you say. Well whether it’s fair or unfair, whatever, the reality is that there isn’t a perfect life out there that’s all peaches and cream.
We kind of kid ourselves that there is. We aspire to living a life like that but I’ve been racking my brain and so far as I know there’s not a single person who I’ve ever met who can tell me that their life has been perfect. But what I can share with you is this, the amazing truth that in the midst of the imperfections and the storms and the onslaughts, in the midst of the disappointments and tragedies and loneliness’s that we find ourselves in there is an answer.
There is an answer that brings joy and peace right into the middle of those trials, a special kind of joy and peace that’s in fact only available in those difficult times.
Hope you’ve been able to join me these past few weeks on the program because we’ve been talking about a huge transition that the nation of Israel faced. From the certainty, such as it was, from their slavery and captivity in Babylon, seventy years of it, to the uncertainty of God’s blessing as He set out to restore their freedom and take them back to the Promised Land to rebuild Jerusalem, to rebuild the wall, to rebuild the temple.
It’s ironic that we’re often more comfortable with an ugly certainty than a potentially beautiful uncertainty. But as we saw yesterday that’s just the way it is, we are. And so through the Prophet Isaiah as we’ve been tracking through chapters 51 and 52 of that Book in the Old Testament, we’ve seen God rousing His people and convincing them of the amazingly beautiful journey ahead of them back to the Promised Land. Have a listen, Isaiah chapter 52, verses 4 to 6. God says through Isaiah:
Listen to me my people and give heed to me my nation, for a teaching will go out from me and my justice for a light to the peoples. I will bring near my deliverance swiftly, my salvation has gone out and my arms will rule the peoples, the coastlands wait for me and for my arm they hope.
Lift up your eyes to the heavens, look at the earth beneath for the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment and those who live on it will die like gnats. But my salvation will be forever and my deliverance will never be ended.”
See it’s a beautiful promise of deliverance but as we’ve seen Israel’s been struggling with that. So the question is, in the middle of that struggle what’s the answer, where do we turn, where do we find the courage and the strength and the peace and the calmness that we need to believe in God through the trials?
Well, this is the really exciting bit, this is the end of these two chapters, unbeknown to the Israelites in that 6th century BC, before Christ, what Isaiah gives them is a prophecy, a prophecy that will be fulfilled centuries later, a prophecy about the one who would bring the comfort of God into their very midst, a prophecy about Jesus. Are you ready for it? Isaiah 52, verse 13 through to chapter 53, verse 6:
See my servant shall prosper, he shall be exalted and lifted up and shall be very high. Just as there were many who were astonished at him, so marred was his appearance, beyond human semblance and his form beyond that of mortals. So he shall startle many nations, kings will shut their mouths because of him, for that which had not been told them they shall see and that which they have not heard they shall contemplate.
Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant and like a root out of dry ground. He had no form, no majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by others, a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity and as one from whom others would hide their faces as though he was despised and held him of no account.
Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our inequities, upon him was the punishment that made us whole and by his bruises we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray, we have all turned to our own way but the Lord has laid on him the inequity of us all.
And it goes on to talk more and more about Jesus in Isaiah chapter 53. See this is truly amazing, centuries before that starry night on which Jesus was born in that stable in Bethlehem, God, through Isaiah’s prophecy, tells us exactly what this Jesus will be like. Jesus the suffering servant; Jesus the plain ordinary man who will bear our sin, whose suffering would set us free; Jesus the Son of God who would show us exactly how much this God of ours loves us – a God who not only does things powerfully for His people but a God who would come into our very midst and suffer for us.
This is what sets this God apart from all the other so-called gods, it’s the fact that He shows up, that He walks thirty or more years in our shoes on the dusty highways and byways of life, this Jesus who understands our suffering not merely because He is the Son of God but because He came and became one of us and suffered like us and for us, dying a terrible death that we might live.
My friend with all my heart I tell you that this Jesus is your answer. You may be going through trials and tribulations, you may be going through indescribable suffering, you may be going through an exhausting and uncomfortable transition in your life but Jesus has been there ahead of you and He knows how you feel, what you’re going through, the pain and the loneliness, hallelujah. God is the God who suffered for me and for you and that is the answer. He is the answer.
When you pray to God in the name of Jesus you’re praying through the Jesus who knows you, who knows your journey better than you know them yourself because He’s been there.
I want to leap forward now to something in the New Testament about Jesus, this Jesus who wants to bring you peace, this Jesus who wants to be your companion on this journey so that you are never ever alone again. Just before He was crucified this is what He said to His disciples:
If you love me you’ll keep my commandments and I’ll ask my Father and he will give you another advocate to be with you forever. This is the spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees him or knows him but you know him because he abides with you and he will be in you.
I will not leave you orphaned, I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me but you will see me because I live you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father and you in me and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me and those who love me will be loved by my Father and I will love them and reveal myself to them.
Hallelujah! Because Jesus is on the journey with you. He’s on my journey with me. We’re not orphaned, we’re not alone, we’re never alone, we’re never without Him. Have you asked Jesus into your life? Have you called out to this God in His mighty name? If you have He dwells in you, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, in you to hold you and to comfort you and to strengthen you and to guide you.
That’s the God honest truth and it’s a truth I will tell you with my dying breath because it’s the most important truth I know. Friend, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.