The Suffering Servant

      
As we prepare to celebrate Christ's birth, it might seem out of place to talk about his suffering and death. But that is the real reason we celebrate his birth!
Music This Week

Isaiah 53

1 Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.

Sermon Outline

Introduction

The essence of sin is we human beings substituting ourselves for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting himself for us. We put ourselves where only God deserves to be; God puts himself where we deserve to be. - John Stott

Pierced For Us

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, - Romans 3:23

23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. - Romans 6:23

21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. -  2 Corinthians 5:21

15 And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.” - Genesis 3:15

39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

...

42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” - Matthew 26:39, 42

8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross! - Philippians 2:8

22 “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. - Acts 2:22-23

A Unique Savior

14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. - Hebrews 2:14-17

4 It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. - Hebrews 10:4

A Perfect Peace

30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. - John 19:30

Discussion Questions

  1. How would you define substitutionary atonement? Is it a biblical concept? (2 Cor. 5:21, 1 Peter 2:24, 3:18)
  2. What is the importance of the crucifixion in regards to Christmas? Why do we not usually connect these two events?
  3. What is the importance of Hebrews 2:14-17? What are the essential aspects of the promised redeemer?
  4. How can Jesus claim "it is finished" in John 19:30 if sin and death still remain in the world today? What did Christ accomplish?
  5. What is the importance of regular church attendance? How would you explain it to a person that says they worship on their own daily and attend church on "major holidays" such as Christmas and Easter?
  6. What is something the Lord has been teaching you this week?