The Messiah in Isaiah Bible Study
Isaiah 53:12 - The Shared Inheritance of the Saviour
by I Gordon
'Two little lines I heard one day,
Only one life, yes only one,
Only one life, the still small voice,
Only one life, a few brief years,
When this bright world would tempt me sore,
Give me Father, a purpose deep,
Oh let my love with fervor burn,
Only one life, yes only one,
 ↩ While Isaiah 53 is the best prophetic passage on the spiritual aspect of the crucifixion, Psalm 22 is the best for describing what Jesus experienced from a natural point of view on the cross. Concerning this 'pouring out' that Isaiah speaks of, Psalm 22:14-16 says ' I am poured out like water, And all my bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It is melted within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And my tongue cleaves to my jaws; And You lay me in the dust of death. For dogs have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet.'.
The biblical imagery concerning being 'poured out' relates to the drink offering that was poured out upon the sacrifice. That is what is being alluded to in this Isaiah passage. A New Testament related verse would be some of the last words the Apostle Paul ever wrote. They are recorded for us in his second letter to Timothy shortly before he died:
For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure . I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:6-8)
 ↩ We, being self-centred little beings, tend to be kind to those that we like, and to those whom we know might be kind back to us. But Jesus prays for, cares for, and wants the best for, the very people who mocked, spat and abused Him. In other words, He cares for all and we should learn from that. How about doing something kind for someone that you normally wouldn't have much time for?
 ↩ Actually Psalm 2 speaks about how Jesus just has to ask for this earth and it will be His. In this amazing prophetic Psalm, God the Father is speaking to the Son and says 'Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession. ' The fulfilment of this will occur at the second coming of Jesus when He does take possession of this entire planet.
 ↩ Let me read out part of an email I got a little while back from a lady with one example of who the great and who the strong are. In the email she spoke of the influences in her life and said 'One of my dearest friends and biggest intercessor in my life is a man called Alistair - he has been completely blind from the age of 8. He suffers from a curvature of his spine among a host of other illnesses which means for much of his life he is confined to a bed in a nursing home. He gets out now and again but this a major ordeal for him. The phone so often is his only source of contact with the outside world. But what a man, what a sense of humour and what an understanding of prayer he has!!! From his wee room he touches lives globally.'
I thought that was awesome. Many in the world may look on from a distance and not see past his physical disabilities. They may look at his blindness and the fact that it is hard for him to leave his bed and think that there is little that he can do. They may see someone in need of constant care... and yet what does Jesus see when he looks at Alistair? He sees the great. He sees the strong. God isn't interested in physical strength obviously so don't start taking out gym memberships on the basis of this verse! He is interested in our faith. Alistair doesn't leave his bed often yet touches lives across the globe through prayer. He may need to be cared for physically yet He cares for others spiritually through his intercession. Rest assured that when Jesus returns people like Alistair will be allotted a great portion with the Lord and a wonderful inheritance.
James 2:5 Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?
 ↩ I like what Big Blue (the Believers Bible Commentary) has to say about this passage:
'Membership in God's family brings privileges that boggle the mind. All God's children are heirs of God. An heir, of course, eventually inherits his father's estate. That is just what is meant here. All that the Father has is ours. We have not yet come into the possession and enjoyment of all of it, but nothing can prevent our doing so in the future. And we are joint heirs with Christ. When He returns to take the scepter of universal government, we will share with Him the title deeds to all the Father's wealth. When Paul adds, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together, he is not making heroic suffering a condition for salvation. Neither is he describing some elite inner circle of overcomers who have endured great afflictions. Rather, he sees all Christians as being co-sufferers and all Christians as glorified with Christ. The if is equivalent to 'since.' Of course, there are some who suffer more than others in the cause of Christ, and this will result in differing degrees of reward and glory. But all who acknowledge Jesus as Lord and Savior are seen here as incurring the hostility of the world, with all its shame and reproach. The greatest shame we may endure for Christ here on earth will be a mere trifle when He calls us forth and publicly acknowledges us before the hosts of heaven. Even the excruciating pain of the martyrs will seem like pinpricks when the Savior graces their brows with the crown of life. Elsewhere Paul speaks of our present sufferings as light afflictions which are only for a moment, but he describes the glory as an exceeding and eternal weight (2Co_4:17). Whenever he describes the coming glory, his words seem to bend under the weight of the idea. If we could only appreciate the glory that is to be ours, we could count the sufferings along the way as trivia!'
 ↩ When some hear about their inheritance or rewards or the importance of living for the life to come, they tend to think - 'Well I'm no superstar. I haven't been a missionary in Africa for the last 40 years. I haven't done anything world changing. I can't see what rewards I'll be getting. I've gotta change the nappies and get the kids to school.' Or 'I'm working a couple of jobs just to get by and support the family - not a lot of time to be earning a great inheritance in Heaven and for the life to come.' Well if that is you, the I want you to look at this verse...
Col 3:23-25 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.
Now this is a great verse but what makes it more interesting is who it was written to. And who was that? Well that part of Colossians 3 (vs 22-25) is addressed specifically to slaves! Now slaves were basically the lowest standing of that day... For many of them, it is quite likely that that slavery was their lot. In the Roman Empire, slaves were often slaves for life unless their owners let them go free or they could somehow raise enough money to buy their way out of slavery (or make a run for it of course!) But this shows that no matter how low a person may be in their social standing according to the world, they can obtain to the highest level in God by faithfulness to God in whatever they do.
William MacDonald comments on this passage - 'In every form of Christian service as well as in every sphere of life, there are many tasks which people find obnoxious. Needless to say, we try to avoid such work. But this verse teaches us the very important lesson that the humblest service can be glorified and dignified by doing it for the Lord. In this sense, there is no difference between secular and sacred work. All is sacred. Rewards in heaven will not be for prominence or apparent successes; they will not be for talents or opportunities; but rather for faithfulness. Thus obscure persons will fare very well in that day if they have carried out their duties faithfully as to the Lord. A motto often hung over the kitchen sink is 'Divine service held here three times daily.'
So it doesn't matter if you are a mother, a housewife, a busy husband, a retired gentlemen or someone confined to bed because of illness. Whatever your lot, whatever you do, do it unto the Lord and thank Him in it. And your life and faithfulness will be rewarded.