The Shepherd Becomes the Lamb

“For you know the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you by His poverty might become rich.”

II Corinthians 8:9, ESV

When I read this verse, I can’t help but think about Father William Wilson, the founder of Amistad Mission in Bolivia. Many give to the poor out of abundance. Fewer give to the poor sacrificially.  Almost no one voluntarily gives up everything to live with the poor. And that is exactly what Father William did.

God has used Father William’s life to bring the above verse alive to remind me of the astounding generosity of our Savior the Messiah, Jesus. 

From my family’s visit to Amistad Mission in 2016 (Photo Credit: Clay Clark)

Father William felt that God was calling him to do something about the injustice of the oppression of the poorest in society. Before moving to Bolivia, he wrote a letter to his friend, explaining his calling.

“I feel that God is leading me to Bolivia where the poorest of the poor are living. It is my desire and my only desire to live amongst the poor, to pray for them, to be with them in their poverty, to lift up Christ for them in their spiritual poverty and to learn what it means to be totally dependent on Jesus for my own.” (from Amistad, Stories of Service through Friendship by Valerie Henry).

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but One who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:15,16, ESV).”

Jesus left the riches of Heaven to give us all access to the throne of grace.  When John the Baptist identified Jesus as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29),” I wonder if anyone in the crowd remembered Isaiah 53, the prophecy of the Messiah as the ultimate and final guilt offering.

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned – every one – to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

Isaiah 53:6, ESV

“For thus says the LORD GOD: ‘Behold, I, I Myself will search for My sheep and will seek them out. (Ezekiel 34:11, ESV).” 

Jesus reminds us of the above prophecy in Ezekiel when He declares, “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep (John 10:11, ESV)” And again when He told Zacchaeus, “’For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost (see Luke 19:10).’” 

Wow. When God promised that He Himself would come and seek out the lost sheep, He meant it. God came to earth and did the job Himself!

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…..And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

John 1:1, 14, ESV

God’s free gift of grace was delivered personally through Jesus Christ.  He left the riches of heaven to dwell among us (poor in every way without Him) and to become the final guilt offering.

Praise God for fulfilling His promise to His people, and delivering it personally, through Jesus Christ, His Son!

“Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift!” II Corinthians 9:15, ESV

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Meet Me

Then I heard a quiet whisper in my heart, “Meet Me in Isaiah.”

Throughout the books of the Old Testament, God promised to send a messiah to rescue His people from oppression. A clear description of this messiah and His suffering and rejection, is found in the book of Isaiah, written around 700 years before Jesus came to earth.  If you are not already familiar with the 53rd chapter of Isaiah, you might mistake it for a passage from the New Testament! 

As believer for the last four decades, it is not hard for me to recognize the Jewish messianic prophecies as pointing to Jesus. I am equally aware of the distinct advantage of having read the end of the story before the beginning.  My earliest memories include my mother reading stories about Jesus to me. As a teen and now an adult, I have read God’s Word for myself and enjoy the resulting peace and joy that can only come from a relationship with Jesus Christ. 

As one who cannot remember a time without Jesus in my life, I have always been fascinated with stories of individuals who met Him for the first time in their adult years. Last year, upon the recommendation of a friend, I began watching the “One for Israeltestimonies on YouTube.  I was captivated by stories, told by Jewish people who found Jesus as adults. Many of them were stunned to discover Jesus on the pages of their own Jewish Scriptures. Several relaying that while reading Isaiah 53, they suddenly found Jesus, their long-waited messiah, in their own Jewish scriptures! As I found myself unexpectedly crying while watching these testimonies, I was reminded of some dreams I had just months before. 

After having a few dreams about reading the book of Isaiah with Jewish friends, I awoke one night puzzled. Trying to make sense of it all and still half-asleep, I thought to myself, “We all meet in Isaiah? Meet me in Isaiah?” Then, I heard a quiet whisper in my heart, “Meet Me in Isaiah.”  Jesus is inviting us all to meet Him on the pages written by the Jewish prophet Isaiah. Those of us who have believed in Jesus for many years will find our faith strengthened as we see the reliability of His Word, as evidenced in suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

If you are not already a believer in Jesus, then consider asking God a brave question: “Is Jesus the Messiah or should I look for another?” It’s the same question that John the Baptist asked in the New Testament (Matthew 11:3). Jesus answered John by using words prophesied about Him in Isaiah (61:1-3). 

God will not condemn you for asking the question.  In fact, He will answer you in a way that you can understand.  If you are searching, feel lost, or just have some doubts, then be comforted to know that He will reveal Himself to you as He promised to those who seek Him. Each person’s encounter with Jesus is different, but equally miraculous. I trust that you will be found by the Good Shepherd Who is waiting for you with open arms. 

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned – everyone – to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6 (ESV)

Meet Mary Lauren Burdeshaw – “The Upside Down Kingdom” Meet Me in Isaiah

Meet Mary Lauren Burdeshaw, leader of the Community Ministry for Girls (founded by Donna Greene) in Birmingham, Alabama. In this episode, packed with Scripture, she shares her heart's desire to have Jesus' Servant's heart, illustrated in Isaiah 53 and Philippians 2. We believe you will leave this conversation, thirsty for more of Jesus! You can also hear Mary Lauren Burdeshaw on Kari Kampakis' podcast, Girl Mom, where she is a regular guest. If you want to connect with Mary Lauren, then follow her on her Instagram account (@marylauren777). As promised in the episode…click here to find out how Meet Me Isaiah got started! For your own study: Isaiah 53 Philippians 2:5-11 Philippians 3:7-10 Hebrews 4:15-16 James 3:13-18 2 Chronicles 16:9
  1. Meet Mary Lauren Burdeshaw – “The Upside Down Kingdom”
  2. Meet Jesus in Isaiah: “Our Message”
  3. Meet Jesus in Isaiah – Our Keeper
  4. Isaiah 40:31 with Life Coach, Taylar Posey
  5. Meet Jesus in Isaiah – Our Living Water

Join the #MeetMeinIsaiah movement and request a free car decal!