Saturday, June 21, 2008

Our Suffering Servant

This morning I read Isaiah 53 in my morning study. I was amazed at the depth of material found in this one chapter about the Suffering Servant, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I thought for a moment that to get the most out of this chapter, it would take a great deal of time and wondered when and how I could do this. A few hours later, I remembered that I had purchased a book some time ago that deals specifically with Isaiah 53.

James Durham was a Scottish Puritan Divine who died in 1658 at the age of 35. He had served as pastor for only eleven years, yet he was a prolific writer during his life. One of his books is titled Christ Crucified: The Marrow of the Gospel in 72 Sermons on Isaiah 53. I guess that Durham had the same thought as I did when he read this wonderful chapter of Scripture. He considered it important enough to spend 72 sermons on it (which is still amazing to me how the Puritans could take passages of Scripture, sometimes even short ones, and preach many sermons on them). In Joel Beeke and Randall Pederson's must have book Meet the Puritans, the following is mentioned about this particular book:

First published in 1683, then in 1686, this collection of sermons was reprinted six times in the eighteenth century. The present reprint is carefully and beautifully done; it uses the 1702 edition as the base text but also takes the other editions into account. . . . This is an excellent book for believers who yearn for a more intimate fellowship with Christ in His sufferings. John Duncan said to a friend who wanted to draw closer to Christ, "Read Durham on the fifty-third of Isaiah at my request. He has much repetition and you may be disgusted with that. But it's repetition of a very fine thing, the eating of Christ's flesh and the drinking of His blood. Well, That's what we must be repeating, in fact, all our life long." The Marrow of the Gospel is one of the best commentaries ever written on Christ's person and work in redemption. Charles Spurgeon highly recommended this book, saying, "This is marrow indeed. We need say no more; Durham is a prince among spiritual expositors." Others have said this work equals if not excels all of Durham's other publications

Another good review of this book is found at The Shepherd's Scrapbook blog. Here is the Table of Contents with the sermons in outline form. The publisher also makes available online the life of the author as well as his Sermon 68 on Isaiah 53:12. Well, my answer on how to dive deeper into this chapter has been answered. I hope to read through one sermon a week to understand Isaiah 53 better and to keep my mind on the sufferings of Christ in my place.

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