New Attitude Day #2...Session 4....CJ Mahaney
The last session of the evening was led by none other than CJ Mahaney. I cannot tell you the anticipation with which I was looking forward to hearing the Lord use this man in person. I have listened to and benefited greatly from CJ but have never heard him live. I think most of my friends were just as excited for me as I was.
With all the other men who spoke, I was writing furiously, trying to capture what they were saying with my pen as well as my heart. However, with CJ I quickly gave up trying to write down his words but instead just ended up sitting there and let them permeate my soul. This post won’t be as long or detailed, but I am going to attempt to relate to you some of the power of CJ’s message.
CJ’s text was Isaiah 53.
1Who has believed what they heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
3He was despised and rejected by men
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
5But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his stripes we are healed.
6All 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.
7He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
8By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
9And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.
10Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for sin,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
11Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
12Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.
CJ begins by referencing the question in verse 1. “Who has believed?” The answer is that no one has believed without a prior calling. Until we were called, we were would never believe. Verses 2 and 3 speak of the appearance of Christ. He was a promising person appearing in a failed land. He had no form, no beauty, nothing that we should desire Him on our own. CJ says that he believes if we were to see a picture of Christ and the 12 disciples, we would be most unimpressed with the Savior in His physical form. No one would have guessed Him to be the Savior and apart from God’s gracious self-disclosure, no one has a clue who the Savior is.
In verse 4, the prophet begins to speak of the Reality…the divine reality. The suffering servant is revealed as the promised Savior. He suffered FOR US and BECAUSE OF US. Ten times in three verses we encounter the pronouns “we” “our” or “us.” We all would tend to claim “I didn’t do it” or “it’s not my fault.” Not here. Neither Isaiah, nor God will allow this. This is the part we played. I played. You played. Martin Luther said “We all walk around with His nails in our pocket.” My sin necessitated the crucifixion of the Christ.
He suffered as our substitute. We see the language of substitution in these verses in the words “bourn” “substitution” “carried” “wounded” “crushed” “chastisement” “stripes” and “laid on Him.”
While I am busy straying into sin and playing with dangerous temptation, He was killed for me.
“When we look upon the gruesome and deformed flesh of Christ upon the Christ, we need to reckon anew that we are actually looking at ourselves, for He died in our place. (John Calvin.)
“We are in debt to Christ specifically for this-He died in our place. This is the mainspring of all our joy, peace, and praise.” (JI Packer)
“One is taken aback by the focus of the cross in Revelation. Heaven does not ‘get over’ the cross, as if there were better things to think upon.” (Jim Elliff)
In verse 10, we see the significance of the Cross. It reveals the Father’s love for guilty sinners like you and me. “It was the will of the Lord to crush Him.” Who really killed Jesus? If we are honest, and in agreement with Isaiah, the answer is the Father. God was ultimately responsible. CJ then told us to think of combining John 3:16 with Isaiah 53:10: “God so loved the world that he CRUSHED His only begotten Son. “(emphasis mine.)May we never look at this Scripture the same again.
I cannot get across in words CJ’s message. I don’t have the words to adequately express it. It was more than the words he said, it was his tone, his posture, the Spirit speaking through him. Someone on the New Attitude blog was able to express the emotion behind CJ's meditation better than I.
“Who killed Jesus?
The Father. The Father killed the Son. Feel God's love for you revealed in this verse. He crushed his son. For you. He crushed Him. He bruised him. He punished him. He disfigured him. He crushed him. With all of the righteous wrath that we deserved. That's what the Father did.
So great was his love for sinners like you and me.
C.J. repeats the words slowly. Clearly. Passionately. They sound like fire and feel like rain. The air is still in…”
He crushed Him. For you. He crushed Him. He crushed Him. He crushed Him. He crushed Him.
I don’t know if you are able to feel the impact of the word of God CJ spoke but a friend of mine, named Nick was able to. I want to share with you his story-at least, as much of it as I know.
Before coming to New Attitude, He was bitter towards God, an enemy of God. He cared nothing for the things of the Lord. His friends had been praying for his soul for years. At the first session, I was sitting next to him and could feel his apathy. The Lord gave Josh Harris a word that evening that I believe was for Nick. That was the beginning of a 24 hour process. The second evening, after CJ’s powerful sermon on Isaiah 53, we stood to praise the Risen Savior. For the first couple of songs, Nick was sitting in front of me, looking around, distracted and not participating in worship. (Then again, why would he worship a God whom he did not yet abide in?) Josh again had a word. He gave a call to Christ. Nick was surrounded by believers praying for Him and petitioning God on his behalf. You saw Nick sit and listen and become captivated by Josh’s words. He then put his head in his hands and began to sob. Within moments, he was up out of his chair and walking towards the front. Yesterday evening, on May 28, Nick became an heir in the righteousness of Christ.
After the session was over, Nick was still down front and a group of his friends made their way to him to begin to pray with him and rejoice with him. I had the privilege of accompanying his friends down there. Nick at once fell upon his needs and his brothers in Christ knelt at the throne with him. There was singing and praising and rejoicing and tears and shaking. God had been faithful and sovereign and good, as He always is.