Today's devotion was written by Bro. Brent Parker
Isaiah 53-55; Mark 13
We have all said this phrase at one time or another, “I will never forget,” and then we place a name or event at the end, so I understand our tendency to be somewhat cynical when someone uses that phrase. But when I say I will never forget watching Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of The Christ, I mean it. I especially have a vivid recollection of the scene where Jesus was scourged as the crowds screamed and spit on him. I remember the emotions that erupted within me as tears began to stream from my eyes as I saw the pain and agony he endured. I recall feeling the weight of guilt as I understood it was because of my sin that he was enduring such treatment.
All of that comes back to mind as I read Isaiah 53, especially verses 5-12. Thankfully, our Lord does not leave us under the weight of guilt for sin, but has provided healing through his wounds. Praise God that the punishment for our sin was poured out on Jesus, so that a personal relationship with the Father would be possible. Today’s reading should lead you to a time of reflection and rejoicing. Reflect on the gracious act of Jesus in his death, and how that effects your past, present, and future. Then, rejoice that his gift of grace, made possible through his death, not only redeems us, but reconciles us to the Father for all eternity.
1 Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 He grew up before him like a young plant and like a root out of dry ground. He didn’t have an impressive form or majesty that we should look at him, no appearance that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of suffering who knew what sickness was. He was like someone people turned away from; he was despised, and we didn’t value him. 4 Yet he himself bore our sicknesses, and he carried our pains; but we in turn regarded him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced because of our rebellion, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on him, and we are healed by his wounds. 6 We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the Lord has punished him for the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth. Like a lamb led to the slaughter and like a sheep silent before her shearers, he did not open his mouth. 8 He was taken away because of oppression and judgment; and who considered his fate? For he was cut off from the land of the living; he was struck because of my people’s rebellion. 9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, but he was with a rich man at his death, because he had done no violence and had not spoken deceitfully. 10 Yet the Lord was pleased to crush him severely. When you make him a guilt offering, he will see his seed, he will prolong his days, and by his hand, the Lord’s pleasure will be accomplished. 11 After his anguish, he will see light and be satisfied. By his knowledge, my righteous servant will justify many, and he will carry their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will give him the many as a portion, and he will receive the mighty as spoil, because he willingly submitted to death, and was counted among the rebels; yet he bore the sin of many and interceded for the rebels.
1 “Rejoice, childless one, who did not give birth; burst into song and shout, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of the married woman,” says the Lord. 2 “Enlarge the site of your tent, and let your tent curtains be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your ropes, and drive your pegs deep. 3 For you will spread out to the right and to the left, and your descendants will dispossess nations and inhabit the desolate cities. 4 “Do not be afraid, for you will not be put to shame; don’t be humiliated, for you will not be disgraced. For you will forget the shame of your youth, and you will no longer remember the disgrace of your widowhood. 5 Indeed, your husband is your Maker— his name is the Lord of Armies— and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of the whole earth. 6 For the Lord has called you, like a wife deserted and wounded in spirit, a wife of one’s youth when she is rejected,” says your God. 7 “I deserted you for a brief moment, but I will take you back with abundant compassion. 8 In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but I will have compassion on you with everlasting love,” says the Lord your Redeemer. 9 “For this is like the days of Noah to me: when I swore that the water of Noah would never flood the earth again, so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you or rebuke you. 10 Though the mountains move and the hills shake, my love will not be removed from you and my covenant of peace will not be shaken,” says your compassionate Lord. 11 “Poor Jerusalem, storm-tossed, and not comforted, I will set your stones in black mortar, and lay your foundations in lapis lazuli. 12 I will make your fortifications out of rubies, your gates out of sparkling stones, and all your walls out of precious stones. 13 Then all your children will be taught by the Lord, their prosperity will be great, 14 and you will be established on a foundation of righteousness. You will be far from oppression, you will certainly not be afraid; you will be far from terror, it will certainly not come near you. 15 If anyone attacks you, it is not from me; whoever attacks you will fall before you. 16 Look, I have created the craftsman who blows on the charcoal fire and produces a weapon suitable for its task; and I have created the destroyer to cause havoc. 17 No weapon formed against you will succeed, and you will refute any accusation raised against you in court. This is the heritage of the Lord’s servants, and their vindication is from me.” This is the Lord’s declaration.
1 “Come, everyone who is thirsty, come to the water; and you without silver, come, buy, and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without silver and without cost! 2 Why do you spend silver on what is not food, and your wages on what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and you will enjoy the choicest of foods. 3 Pay attention and come to me; listen, so that you will live. I will make a permanent covenant with you on the basis of the faithful kindnesses of David. 4 Since I have made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples, 5 so you will summon a nation you do not know, and nations who do not know you will run to you. For the Lord your God, even the Holy One of Israel, has glorified you.” 6 Seek the Lord while he may be found; call to him while he is near. 7 Let the wicked one abandon his way and the sinful one his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, so he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will freely forgive. 8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways.” This is the Lord’s declaration. 9 “For as heaven is higher than earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 For just as rain and snow fall from heaven and do not return there without saturating the earth and making it germinate and sprout, and providing seed to sow and food to eat, 11 so my word that comes from my mouth will not return to me empty, but it will accomplish what I please and will prosper in what I send it to do.” 12 You will indeed go out with joy and be peacefully guided; the mountains and the hills will break into singing before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. 13 Instead of the thornbush, a cypress will come up, and instead of the brier, a myrtle will come up; this will stand as a monument for the Lord, an everlasting sign that will not be destroyed.
Mark 13 (CSB)
1 As he was going out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Teacher, look! What massive stones! What impressive buildings!” 2 Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another—all will be thrown down.” 3 While he was sitting on the Mount of Olives across from the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?” 5 Jesus told them, “Watch out that no one deceives you. 6 Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and they will deceive many. 7 When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, don’t be alarmed; these things must take place, but it is not yet the end. 8 For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains. 9 “But you, be on your guard! They will hand you over to local courts, and you will be flogged in the synagogues. You will stand before governors and kings because of me, as a witness to them. 10 And it is necessary that the gospel be preached to all nations. 11 So when they arrest you and hand you over, don’t worry beforehand what you will say, but say whatever is given to you at that time, for it isn’t you speaking, but the Holy Spirit. 12 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. 13 You will be hated by everyone because of my name, but the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 “When you see the abomination of desolation standing where it should not be” (let the reader understand), “then those in Judea must flee to the mountains. 15 A man on the housetop must not come down or go in to get anything out of his house, 16 and a man in the field must not go back to get his coat. 17 Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days! 18 “Pray it won’t happen in winter. 19 For those will be days of tribulation, the kind that hasn’t been from the beginning of creation until now and never will be again. 20 If the Lord had not cut those days short, no one would be saved. But he cut those days short for the sake of the elect, whom he chose. 21 “Then if anyone tells you, ‘See, here is the Messiah! See, there!’ do not believe it. 22 For false messiahs and false prophets will arise and will perform signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, the elect. 23 And you must watch! I have told you everything in advance. 24 “But in those days, after that tribulation: The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not shed its light; 25 the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 He will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. 28 “Learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 In the same way, when you see these things happening, recognize that he is near—at the door. 30 “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things take place. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. 32 “Now concerning that day or hour no one knows—neither the angels in heaven nor the Son—but only the Father. 33 “Watch! Be alert! For you don’t know when the time is coming. 34 “It is like a man on a journey, who left his house, gave authority to his servants, gave each one his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to be alert. 35 Therefore be alert, since you don’t know when the master of the house is coming—whether in the evening or at midnight or at the crowing of the rooster or early in the morning. 36 Otherwise, when he comes suddenly he might find you sleeping. 37 And what I say to you, I say to everyone: Be alert!”