Friday, August 9, 2013

The Suffering Servant who bore the sins of many

Galatians 1:16, 17

  • I did not immediately consult with anyone, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned to Damascus.

After Paul was saved, he did not immediately consult with anyone about the gospel he received from Jesus. Nor did he go up to Jerusalem to consult with the apostles. But rather he went away into Arabia, and then returned to Damascus.

Acts: 9:18-22

  • And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized;
  • and taking food, he was strengthened.
  • For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus. 
  • And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” 
  • And all who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?” 
  • But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.

This shows that the revelation Paul received did not come from others nor did it come from the apostles before him but it came from directly from the Lord Jesus. It was Jesus who personally saved Paul and commissioned him to preach the gospel among the Gentiles. Jesus knew before Paul was born, and He had been waiting for Paul until his conversion on the road to Damascus.

By grace, Paul was saved. By the providence of God, I presume Paul was learned in the Scripture, and by the time Jesus saved him, he already had a vast amount of the verses of the Scripture memorised. Therefore, when Jesus revealed Himself to him and opened up the Scripture to him, I suspect that Paul was thoroughly convinced about the inevitable messiahship of the Son of God, Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

Isaiah 53:1-12 

Who has believed what he has heard from us?
    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 or majesty that we should look at him,
    and no beauty that we should desire him.

He was despised and rejected by men;
    a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
    he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.

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.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
    yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
    and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
    so he opened not his mouth.

By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
    and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
    stricken for the transgression of my people?

And they made his grave with the wicked
    and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
    and there was no deceit in his mouth.

Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
    he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
    he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.

Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
    make many to be accounted righteous,
    and he shall bear their iniquities.

Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
    and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
    and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
    and makes intercession for the transgressors.

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