May 11 I Tuesday
2 Kings 13-14
“But we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” —1 Corinthians 1:23-24
There is something a little foreboding about the statement that God the Father says to His Son, “You are My Son, whom I love; with You I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22). Right at the beginning of Jesus’s ministry, the Father identified two things: who Jesus is and what He will do. The full statement is a combination of two different streams in the Old Testament prophecy, one in Psalms and the other in Isaiah.
One stream of prophecy in the Old Testament portrays the coming of the Messiah King who is not only going to rule, but also place everything under His feet. Psalm 2 is one of those Messianic Psalms that demonstrates this prophecy. Psalm 2:7-8 says “I will proclaim the LORD’s decree: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son; today I have become Your Father. Ask Me, and I will make the nations Your inheritance, the ends of the earth Your possession.’” God the Father quoted from that passage to identify Jesus as the Messiah King. Another stream of prophecy in the Old Testament portrays a suffering servant. In the book of Isaiah, there are a series of songs about a servant, beginning in chapter 42 and culminating in chapter 53 with a graphic description of death by crucifixion.
The Jewish nation today interprets these two streams as one being about the Messiah and the other being about the nation of Israel. Even though there are a lot of anecdotes in Jewish history to illustrate how the nation of Israel is a suffering nation, the passages in Isaiah are not about Israel, but about how the Messiah is going to suffer. The very fact that the Messiah is going to suffer became a stumbling block to the Jews.
Isaiah 42:1 tells us, “Here is My Servant, whom I uphold, My Chosen One in whom I delight; I will put My Spirit on Him, and He will bring justice to the nations.” This statement is what God the Father quoted from when He said, “…with You I am well pleased.” The Father brings together these two streams of prophecy to declare that while Jesus is the Messiah King, He is also going to suffer and die.
The Father’s approval was not only of blessing but also of battle and conflict. Because immediately after Jesus’s baptism, we are told, “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days He was tempted by the devil” (Luke 4:1-2). From there on, we see the Messiah King step mightily into battle that will find victory ultimately in the empty tomb beyond the agonizing cross.
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, You are the Messiah King and the suffering servant. Thank you for dying on the cross and winning the ultimate victory over sin and death. Through You I am reconciled to God. Praise You!