“Kings will shut their mouths on account of Him (Isaiah 52:15).”
Can you remember something significant from 2016? After the last two years, normal memories seem to be buried pretty deep, let alone six years ago, but for me it’s easy…that was the year I got paid to go to Israel to write 104 articles for the Israel Ministry of Tourism, and stood in Jerusalem (I’d have done it for free)!
They say that’s a memory that you never forget, the first time you see Jerusalem. It was in January, like today, cold, windy, and snowing. That’s also how long I’ve been writing my newspaper column, six years, and last month I combined some articles into a published book, a weekly devotional for the year for those still seeking Him called “52 Thinks About God.”
And so, it seemed appropriate to find a passage with “52” in it for today. Yesterday I read Isaiah chapter 52, which was divinely appropriate for mentioning a book about seeking God–who promises us He can be easily found (Jeremiah 29:12-13). This chapter in Isaiah is remarkable. It’s a prophecy written around 700 B.C. about the future Messiah. It describes Him as a King, who will be badly beaten up (verses 13-15):
“Behold, My servant will prosper, He will be high and lifted up, and greatly exalted. Just as many were astonished at you, My people (Israel), so His appearance was marred more than the sons of men. Thus He will sprinkle many nations, Kings will shut their mouths on account of Him; for what had not been told them they will see, and what they had not heard they will understand.”
This is not news to us Gentiles. The Christ will be a Jewish King who is rejected and killed, and “sprinkle many nations” with His blood. We know that story well, even if most don’t believe it. Jesus of Nazareth was that King who died for our sins, and rose again from the dead, but to the Jews to whom Isaiah was writing, it was just plain crazy!
This Jewish King of all Kings will be beaten to a bloody pulp, sprinkle other nations, and leave the rulers of the world dumbfounded? Sprinkling blood for sin was an easy concept to grasp from their sacrificial animal system in Jerusalem’s Temple, but sprinkled with God’s blood, from being beat up, from their promised Messiah-King? So wait, Isaiah, are you saying this God-King would have human blood? Be fully human? This boggled Jewish minds, and still does today!
How can the God of Abraham be human, King, and die a bloody death, for all nations, even the Gentiles? Isn’t He all-powerful? Who could sucker punch God-in-the-flesh? Isaiah explains it all in his next chapter, Isaiah 53, but first he says in 52:7, “How lovely are the feet of those who bring good news.” That is the good news of “52 Thinks.”
Our suffering King came to save us all, to sprinkle our sins with His precious blood, and He will come again as the King of Kings. That’s very good news, worthy of 52 Thanks!
Two of the 104 IMOT articles: