1. THE TONGUE OF THE TEACHER
a. How can we speak to others as Jesus did? Isaiah 50:4, 5.
“Naturally we are self-centered and opinionated. But when we learn the lessons that Christ desires to teach us, we become partakers of His nature; henceforth we live His life. The wonderful example of Christ, the matchless tenderness with which He entered into the feelings of others, weeping with those who wept, rejoicing with those who rejoiced, must have a deep influence upon the character of all who follow Him in sincerity. . . .
“All around us are afflicted souls. Here and there, everywhere, we may find them. Let us search out these suffering ones and speak a word in season to comfort their hearts. Let us ever be channels through which shall flow the refreshing waters of compassion.
“In all our associations it should be remembered that in the experience of others there are chapters sealed from mortal sight. On the pages of memory are sad histories that are sacredly guarded from curious eyes. There stand registered long, hard battles with trying circumstances, perhaps troubles in the home life, that day by day weaken courage, confidence, and faith. Those who are fighting the battle of life at great odds may be strengthened and encouraged by little attentions that cost only a loving effort. To such the strong, helpful grasp of the hand by a true friend is worth more than gold or silver. Words of kindness are as welcome as the smile of angels.”—The Ministry of Healing, pp. 157, 158.
2. A SCENE TO CONTEMPLATE
a. What were some of the things which Christ suffered for us? Why did He do this? Isaiah 50:6; 52:13–15.
“The glorious Son of God . . . bore insult, mockery, and shameful abuse, until ‘His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men’ (Isaiah 52:14).
“Who can comprehend the love here displayed! The angelic host beheld with wonder and with grief Him who had been the Majesty of heaven, and who had worn the crown of glory, now wearing the crown of thorns, a bleeding victim to the rage of an infuriated mob, fired to insane madness by the wrath of Satan. Behold the patient Sufferer! Upon His head is the thorny crown. His lifeblood flows from every lacerated vein. All this in consequence of sin! Nothing could have induced Christ to leave His honor and majesty in heaven, and come to a sinful world, to be neglected, despised, and rejected by those He came to save, and finally to suffer upon the cross, but eternal, redeeming love, which will ever remain a mystery.”—Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 207.
“Pride and self-worship cannot flourish in the soul that keeps fresh in memory the scenes of Calvary.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 661.
b. Describe the appearance of Jesus as foretold by Isaiah the prophet. Isaiah 53:2. Why were many turned off by His plain appearance?
“Worldly associations attract and dazzle the senses so that piety, the fear of God, faithfulness, and loyalty have not power to keep men steadfast. The humble, unassuming life of Christ seems altogether unattractive. To many who claim to be sons and daughters of God, Jesus, the Majesty of heaven, is ‘as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness.’ ”—The Adventist Home, p. 461.
“Prophecy foretold that Christ was to appear as a root out of dry ground. [Isaiah 53:2, 3 quoted.] This chapter should be studied. It presents Christ as the Lamb of God. Those who are lifted up with pride, whose souls are filled with vanity, should look upon this picture of their Redeemer, and humble themselves in the dust. The entire chapter should be committed to memory. Its influence will subdue and humble the soul defiled by sin and uplifted by self-exaltation.”—The Youth’s Instructor, December 20, 1900.
3. DESPISED AND REJECTED
a. How do many respond to Jesus’ love? Isaiah 53:3. What has He borne for us? Verses 4, 5.
“It was through infinite sacrifice and inexpressible suffering that our Redeemer placed redemption within our reach. He was in this world unhonored and unknown, that, through His wonderful condescension and humiliation, He might exalt man to receive eternal honors and immortal joys in the heavenly courts. During His thirty years of life on earth His heart was wrung with inconceivable anguish. The path from the manger to Calvary was shadowed by grief and sorrow. He was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief, enduring such heartache as no human language can portray. He could have said in truth, ‘Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow’ (Lamentations 1:12). Hating sin with a perfect hatred, He yet gathered to His soul the sins of the whole world. Guiltless, He bore the punishment of the guilty. Innocent, yet offering Himself as a substitute for the transgressor. The guilt of every sin pressed its weight upon the divine soul of the world’s Redeemer. The evil thoughts, the evil words, the evil deeds of every son and daughter of Adam, called for retribution upon Himself; for He had become man’s substitute. Though the guilt of sin was not His, His spirit was torn and bruised by the transgressions of men, and He who knew no sin became sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”—Selected Messages, bk1, p. 322.
“How few have any conception of the anguish which rent the heart of the Son of God during His thirty years of life upon earth.”—That I May Know Him, p. 66.
“The Son of God was rejected and despised for our sakes. Can you, in full view of the cross, beholding by the eye of faith the sufferings of Christ, tell your tale of woe, your trials? Can you nurse revenge of your enemies in your heart while the prayer of Christ comes from His pale and quivering lips for His revilers, His murderers—‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do’ (Luke 23:34)? . . .
“We must not shrink from the depths of humiliation to which the Son of God submitted in order to raise us from the degradation and bondage of sin to a seat at His right hand. . . . It is high time we devoted the few remaining precious hours of our probation to washing our robes of character and making them white in the blood of the Lamb, that we may be of that white-robed company who shall stand about the great white throne.”—Ibid., p. 65.
4. THE UNCOMPLAINING VICTIM
a. What should we learn from the way Jesus responded to the abuse heaped upon Him at the time of the crucifixion? Isaiah 53:6–9; 1 Peter 2:19–24.
“We should take our fitting place in humble penitence at the foot of the cross. We may learn the lessons of meekness and lowliness of mind as we go up to Mount Calvary, and, looking upon the cross, see our Saviour in agony, the Son of God dying, the Just for the unjust. Behold Him who could summon legions of angels to His assistance with one word, a subject of jest and merriment, of reviling and hatred. He gives Himself a sacrifice for sin. When reviled, He threatened not; when falsely accused, He opened not His mouth. He prays on the cross for His murderers. He is dying for them. He is paying an infinite price for every one of them. He would not lose one whom He has purchased at so great cost. He gives Himself to be smitten and scourged without a murmur. And this uncomplaining victim is the Son of God. His throne is from everlasting, and His kingdom shall have no end.”—That I May Know Him, p. 65.
“In His humanity Christ was tried with as much greater temptation, with as much more persevering energy than man is tried by the evil one, as His nature was greater than man’s. This is a deep mysterious truth, that Christ is bound to humanity by the most sensitive sympathies. The evil works, the evil thoughts, the evil words of every son and daughter of Adam press upon His divine soul. The sins of men called for retribution upon Himself, for He had become man’s substitute, and took upon Him the sins of the world.”—Ibid., p. 66.
b. What was heaven’s purpose in the incarnation of Christ? Isaiah 53:10.
“The Majesty of heaven pleased not Himself. Whatever He did was in reference to the salvation of man. Selfishness in all its forms stood rebuked in His presence. He assumed our nature that He might suffer in our stead, making His soul an offering for sin. He was stricken of God and afflicted to save man from the blow which he deserved because of the transgression of God’s law. By the light shining from the cross, Christ proposed to draw all men unto Him. His human heart yearned over the race. His arms were opened to receive them, and He invited all to come to Him. His life on earth was one continued act of self-denial and condescension.”— Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 418.
5. FOOD FOR THOUGHT
a. What inspired Christ to suffer such a disgraceful death? Isaiah 53:11, 12.
“The adorable Redeemer . . . did not die as a hero in the eyes of the world, loaded with honors, as men in battle. He died as a condemned criminal, suspended between the heavens and the earth—died a lingering death of shame, exposed to the tauntings and revilings of a debased, crime-loaded, profligate multitude! . . .
“All this humiliation of the Majesty of heaven was for guilty, condemned man. He went lower and lower in His humiliation, until there were no lower depths that He could reach, in order to lift man up from his moral defilement. All this was for you.”—That I May Know Him, p. 68.
b. What should this amazing condescension cause us to consider? Hebrews 2:3, 14, 15.
“However sinful, however guilty you may be, you are called, you are chosen. ‘Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you’ (James 4:8). Not one will be forced against his will to come to Jesus Christ. The Majesty of heaven, the only-begotten Son of the true and living God, opened the way for you to come to Him, by giving His life as a sacrifice on Calvary’s cross. But while He suffered all this for you, He is too pure, He is too just, to behold iniquity. But even this need not keep you away from Him; for He says, ‘I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance’ (Mark 2:17).”—Fundamentals of Christian Education, pp. 251, 252.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What do we need to learn in order to be more of a blessing to others?
2. What will be the effect upon us if we commit Isaiah 53 to memory?
3. As we view the sufferings of Jesus on the cross, what will we be unable to do?
4. Why did Jesus remain silent on the cross, except for praying for His enemies?
5. How can we show our appreciation for what Jesus has done for us?