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Devotional - week of March 6, 2005


THE JUSTIFICATION OF JESUS

He is near who justifies Me … Isaiah 50:8a

Jesus is speaking of the Father “justifying” Him in this verse. The use of the word “justifies” in this verse is not the same usage as found in the New Testament. In the New Testament a believer’s salvation is described with the word “justification.” When one accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior, God justifies him. That is God declares him to be righteous and will relate to him as if he is righteous, even though he is not righteous.

Jesus was and is now righteous. Because He died on the cross as a common criminal, many people would think He was a sinner. His justification is God’s way of proving that Jesus is righteous even though he died a shameful death. In Isaiah 50:6-7 Jesus says:

… I did not hide My face from shame and spitting. … The Lord God will help Me; …  I will not be disgraced … I will not be ashamed. 

Isaiah 53:4 reveals the belief by some that Jesus was dying for His own sins.

… we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.

The “justification” of Jesus came soon after His death and it came in mighty power. God proved that Jesus was not dying for His own sins when He was resurrected from the dead.

Consider Paul’s statement in Philippians 2:9-11 concerning the result of the crucifixion of Jesus:

Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus’ resurrection proves that He is Lord. Also, His resurrection makes it possible for all believers to live out their own resurrection lives.