April 07, 2023*
By Pastor John Partridge
Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9 Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12
When you do the things that you do, are you sure, are you certain, are you confident?
When we drive our cars, are we confident in our ability to navigate, to drive defensively, and to arrive safely at our destination? When we go to work, are we confident, because of our education, skill, and experience, that we can do whatever our employers ask of us?
But how are you at submission?
Those of us who are married likely were asked a question like this:
“Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful to her?”
And we said, “I will.”
But there in the middle, where it said, “honor and keep him or her” in years past, might well have been worded to say, that we should submit to one another. Now, we just say that we should “honor” one another, but the meaning is the same. We honor our spouses by valuing their opinion, submitting to them, and doing the things that they want to do instead of the things that we want to do. Of course, that has to be a two-way street. Life is all about balance.
For that reason, at least in the case of our spouses, we are often both comfortable, and confident, in our submission. We are accustomed to the give and take of a healthy relationship. Sometimes our spouses do things because we like them, and sometimes we do things that may not be our favorite things, just because we know that our spouse likes them and because it makes them happy.
And it is this kind of healthy obedience and submission that I think we see in the description of the coming Messiah that we find in Isaiah 52 and 53. It’s worth reading. I’m not going to take the time to read all of it this evening, but in it we hear things like:
52:13 See, my servant will act wisely he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.
14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him, his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness.
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.
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.
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.
That was the kind of person that Israel expected as their Messiah, and that’s the kind of person that we meet in the person of Jesus Christ. The writer of Hebrews, in Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9 says this:
4:14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
7 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8 Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10 and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
God heard the prayers of Jesus because of his obedience and reverent submission. Jesus knew exactly what waited for him in Jerusalem and he went anyway. Jesus knew that the members of the Sanhedrin were conspiring to kill him, but he went anyway. He knew that the path that lay in front of him was filled with suffering, pain, and death, but he went anyway. He did not turn aside from God’s will, he did not swerve, he did not flinch from his calling because he was confident in God, confident in the will of God, and confident in his submission to God.
The writer of Hebrews said, 4:14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.
God asks for our submission.
Can we do any less?
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*You have been reading a message presented at First Christian Church in Alliance, Ohio on the date noted at the top of the first page. Rev. John Partridge is the pastor at Christ UMC in Alliance, Ohio. Duplication of this message is a part of our Media ministry, if you have received a blessing in this way, we would love to hear from you. Letters and donations in support of the Media ministry or any of our other projects may be sent to Christ United Methodist Church, 470 East Broadway Street, Alliance, Ohio 44601. These messages are available to any interested persons regardless of membership. You may subscribe to these messages, in print or electronic formats, by writing to the address noted, or by contacting us at secretary@CUMCAlliance.org. These messages can also be found online at https://pastorpartridge.com . All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.comThe “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™