“Jesus Heals Us” (Isaiah 53: 3 – 4, HCSB) by Carley Evans

Once flogged as ordered by Pilate, Jesus’ “form does not resemble a human being.” “His appearance is so disfigured that He does not look like a man.” (Isaiah 52: 14)

Jesus “does not have an impressive form or majesty that we should look at Him, no appearance that we should desire Him.” (Isaiah 53: 2) Instead, Jesus “is despised and rejected by men.” He becomes “a man of suffering who knows what sickness is.” People turn away from Him, and do not value Him.

Nevertheless, Jesus “bears our sicknesses, and He carries our pains.” And, while He is “pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities,” we think He is “stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted.” (Isaiah 53: 4, 5, 4) He is punished by God “for the iniquity of us all” because “we all go astray like sheep; we all turn to our own way.” (Isaiah 53: 6)

Jesus heals us “by His wounds.” (Isaiah 53: 5)

“Now Is The Favorable Time” (2 Corinthians 5: 21, ESV) by Carley Evans

God, for our sakes, makes Jesus — who knows no sin in Himself — sin. God does this so that we — who know sin so intimately — “might become the righteousness of God.”

Who becomes the righteousness of God? We do. How do we become this righteousness? Through Jesus Christ, who “is reconciling the world to Himself, not counting [the world’s] trespasses against [it].” (2 Corinthians 5: 19)

The message to the world and to us is this: “Behold, now is the favorable time: behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6: 2) “Be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5: 20)

Our reconciliation comes through Jesus who “makes peace by the blood of His cross.” (Colossians 1: 20) Jesus presents us — in His body and through His death — to God the Father as “holy and blameless and above reproach.” (Colossians 1: 22)

Paul encourages us with this truth: “For if while we are still enemies we are reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we now receive reconciliation.” (Romans 5: 10 – 11)

Rejoice in the Lord’s mercy for He saves you from yourself.

“A Ransom For All” (1 Timothy 2: 5 – 6, HCSB) by Carley Evans

Christ gives Himself, of His own free will, as a ransom for all humanity. As a ransom, He is the one and only mediator between humans and God the Father. He is able to be this ransom because He is both God and human simultaneously — knowing God’s requirements, knowing our weaknesses and failures. Jesus becomes for us sin; and sin is destroyed as His body is destroyed. God the Father turns, then re-turns; His face darkening then rejoicing in His Son’s resurrection. Jesus leaves the tomb empty, and has an eternal victory over sin and its wage – death.

Love overwhelms wrath; God’s justice is fully satisfied in Christ’s death. Jesus is “a testimony at the proper time.” His testimony is true — that God desires our salvation, going to great length to achieve it.

“A Very Present Help” (Psalm 62: 7, HCSB) by Carley Evans

“My salvation and glory depend on God, my strong rock. My refuge is in God.”

David sings, “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; You save me from violence.” (2 Samuel 22: 1 – 2, ESV)

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea.” (Psalm 46: 1 – 2, ESV)

“The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows those who take refuge in Him.” (Nahum 1: 7, ESV)

God knows us — we who take refuge in Him, who rely upon Him as our “strong rock” and our “very present help in trouble.” Because God knows us and provides for us “strength,” we need not fear. God saves us. He is our shield, our stronghold, our fortress; and He saves us from the violence of evil men.

“He makes a complete end of the adversaries, and pursues His enemies into darkness. What do you plot against the Lord? He makes a complete end; trouble rises up not a second time.” (Nahum 1: 8 – 9, ESV)

“A Sign Of Deliverance” (Philippians 1: 29, HCSB) by Carley Evans

A gift of God Himself is our deliverance through belief in His Son, Jesus Christ. A portion of that gift is suffering for Him.

Reading of the lives of Christians recognized as “saints” either by the Roman Catholic Church or by the many Protestant Churches, we understand that some of us suffer more than others. Some only suffer the slight derision of family and friends. Others suffer torture and death.

One saint – recognized by the Roman Catholic Church – is placed in a cage with a wild boar three times, each time being wounded and near to death but not dying. After the third attempt to persuade the man to deny his faith in Jesus Christ, the tormentors tie a stone to his ankle and throw him into the sea where he drowns.

Hard to imagine that this man’s tormentors and murderers are not convicted as they watch him sink to his physical death.

Therefore, Paul tells us to “live [our] lives in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ… not being frightened in any way by your opponents. This is a sign of destruction for them, but of your deliverance — and this is from God.” (Philippians 1: 27, 28)

“What Shall We Say Then?” (1 John 1: 9, HCSB) by Carley Evans

In confession resides purification. Jesus promises to purify us from all unrighteousness as we confess our sins to His Father and to one another.

“If we say, ‘We have no sin,’ we deceive ourselves.” (1 John 1: 8) On the other hand, if we recognize our sin, and confess it as existing, as undesirable, as unworthy of our relationship with Christ; then God the Father is willing and able to forgive us.

Jesus presents us as His clean brothers and sisters to His Father — we are washed in the blood of Christ so that “though [our] sins are like scarlet, they are as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they are like wool.” (Isaiah 1: 18)

Jesus says this is reasonable; that we are able to discuss this truth — “if [we] are willing and obedient, [we] eat the good things of the land.” (Isaiah 1: 19) Our obedience consists of believing on Christ, of recognizing our core unworthiness, of placing our entire trust in His sacrificial grace and in His righteousness.

Paul rhetorically asks, “What should we say then? Should we continue in sin so that grace might multiply? Absolutely not!” (Romans 6: 1 – 2) We are not to sin, but “if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father — Jesus Christ the Righteous One. He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world.” (1 John 2: 1 – 2)

“Alive To God” (Romans 6: 23, ESV) by Carley Evans

Sin costs. The price of sin is death. God’s gift, on the other hand, is free — priceless. The gift is “eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Jesus pays the price for the free gift — He buys it with His blood so that we are able to accept God’s gift of eternal life as our own.

“The free gift is not like the trespass. For if many die through one man’s trespass, much more does the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abound for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brings condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification.” (Romans 5: 15 – 16)

The free gift is not only eternal life, but an “abundance of grace” and of righteousness. (Romans 5: 17)

So God’s grace leads to righteousness. “So you must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6: 11)