Tuesday, December 18, 2012


God spoke to Isaiah about a certain servant who delights His heart: "Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth" (Isaiah 42:1). Who is this One whom God sustains and upholds, guarding His every step? Who is His chosen, His elect, the One in whom He so delights?

We find the answer in Matthew's gospel: "And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: and lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:16-17).

The Hebrew word for I am well pleased here is "delight." God was saying, "My soul delights in My Son, Jesus Christ!"

Throughout the Old Testament, untold numbers of sheep and cattle were offered to the Lord as sacrifices. Rivers of animals' blood flowed for centuries. Yet the Bible says none of these sacrifices brought the Lord any pleasure: "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. . . . In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure" (Hebrews 10:4, 6).

In the very next verse we read these wonderful words from Jesus: "Then said I, Lo, I come . . . to do thy will, O God" (verse 7). Christ came to earth to do what no animal sacrifice could do.

"Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me" (verse 5). God had prepared a physical body for Jesus here on earth, a body that would provide the final, perfect sacrifice.

In short, God abased Himself for our sake. Encasing Himself in a human womb, He took on our nature. And He gave up the riches of heaven to become poor, giving His life to ransom us.