On the cross, Jesus felt the agony of the entire world, including those who feel voiceless in the developing world. He died for us, all of us, so that freedom from sin and all of its consequences could be accomplished; so that we may live in relationship with God once again. All we must do is choose him back (John 3:16), to cry out to Jesus.

The Prophesy of the Suffering Servant

"Yet Yahweh was pleased to crush him; he afflicted [him] (with sickness). If she [Zion/Jerusalem] places his life a guilt offering, he will see offspring, he will prolong days and the will of Yahweh in his hand will succeed. From the trouble of his life he will see light. He will be satisfied. In his knowledge, my righteous servant shall make the many righteous and he will bear their iniquities.

Therefore I will divide to him [a portion] among the many, and with [the] strong ones he shall divide bounty, because he exposed his life to death and was counted with transgressors, and he carried [the] sin of many and will intercede for transgressors" (Isaiah 53:10-12, my translation).

500 years before Jesus, these words were prophesied. And in them is resurrection, for all of us. There is resurrection for the suffering in the developing world, who have placed their hands in my hands asking for prayer for relief from the pain. There is resurrection for the homeless man who I watched cry out "Jesus Christ my Lord," asking for salvation from his addictions. There is resurrection for me, the sinner who is only saved because of Jesus. There is resurrection for all of us.

The Resurrection I See

Here, in the gospel according to the prophet Isaiah, I see a suffering servant dying as a "guilt offering" at the hands of his own people, Zion (or Jerusalem). I see a servant who does things that can only happen in life, after his death has already occurred: He sees offspring, prolongs days, and sees light. In these things he is satisfied, for he has accomplished the will of God.

I see resurrection here for all of us.

The Hope I See for the Developing World

Jesus accomplished all the things in this prophesy. He is the suffering servant. In Jesus, I see hope for the entire world, including hope to overcome the pain being experienced by those in poverty in the developing world.

It is in Jesus that all things are possible (Philippians 4:13). In Jesus, one day, all things will be made new (Revelation 21). It is Jesus who can sympathize with our weaknesses and intercede on our behalf. It is Jesus who has overcome all.

Perhaps the author of Hebrews states it best:

"Therefore, since the children share in blood and flesh, he also in like manner shared in these same things, in order that through death he could destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and could set free these who through fear of death were subject to slavery throughout all their lives" (Hebrews 2:14-15).

Jesus has come to set us free. And we are given the opportunity to set others free, from spiritual and physical poverty. Let us live that message this day. Let us feel it. Let it be like the joy of Easter Sunday, the resurrection day, when we embrace the spiritual resurrection Jesus offers now and the resurrection of the dead when he one day returns. Let us live the resurrected life now.

 

(The views on Isaiah 53 in this post are based on my book The Resurrected Servant in Isaiah, published by InterVarsity Press, 2010.)

This article was previously published under the title, "Resurrection for All People, from All Pain, in Jesus."

Today is National Day of Prayer. Here at Jesus' Economy, we believe prayer is critical to everything we do. Through prayer, anything is possible.

Please spend some time today to read and pray Anne Graham Lotz's prayer for this year. Please also pray for the seven centers of power in the United States.

Featured Podcast, Recorded with National Day of Prayer Task Force

Kalene Barry, Chief Projects Officer for Jesus' Economy, and I were recently in Colorado Springs, Colorado. While there, we recorded a podcast with National Day of Prayer Task Force about taking up our cross and following Jesus. We discussed what that has meant for us and for Jesus' Economy. In the process of following Jesus, we've done several things that many would consider crazy, like selling many of our possessions to get Jesus' Economy started. We discuss all this in the podcast and the spiritual process that got us ready for the moment of launching a non-profit. You can listen to that podcast here. John Bornschein, author of The Front Line: A Prayer Warrior's Guide to Spiritual Battle, and Dion Elmore were our hosts.

 

Pray for the U.S. and Our World Today

I cannot emphasize enough how critical it is that we all join in prayer for our own nations and for our world. Please join us in doing so and let's watch God move as we do so.

Prayer, prayer, prayer. I say it three times so it is memorable. There is nothing more important than engaging God, via relationship with Jesus Christ our Lord, in prayer, through His Word, and in community. Let's take up our cross and follow Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit.

On the cross, Jesus felt the agony of the entire world, including those who feel voiceless in the developing world. He died for us, all of us, so that freedom from sin and all of its consequences could be accomplished; so that we may live in relationship with God once again. All we must do is choose him back (John 3:16), to cry out to Jesus.

The Prophesy of the Suffering Servant

"Yet Yahweh was pleased to crush him; he afflicted [him] (with sickness). If she [Zion/Jerusalem] places his life a guilt offering, he will see offspring, he will prolong days and the will of Yahweh in his hand will succeed. From the trouble of his life he will see light. He will be satisfied. In his knowledge, my righteous servant shall make the many righteous and he will bear their iniquities.

Therefore I will divide to him [a portion] among the many, and with [the] strong ones he shall divide bounty, because he exposed his life to death and was counted with transgressors, and he carried [the] sin of many and will intercede for transgressors" (Isaiah 53:10-12, my translation).

500 years before Jesus, these words were prophesied. And in them is resurrection, for all of us. There is resurrection for the suffering in the developing world, who have placed their hands in my hands asking for prayer for relief from the pain. There is resurrection for the homeless man who I watched cry out "Jesus Christ my Lord," asking for salvation from his addictions. There is resurrection for me, the sinner who is only saved because of Jesus. There is resurrection for all of us.

The Resurrection I See

Here, in the gospel according to the prophet Isaiah, I see a suffering servant dying as a "guilt offering" at the hands of his own people, Zion (or Jerusalem). I see a servant who does things that can only happen in life, after his death has already occurred: He sees offspring, prolongs days, and sees light. In these things he is satisfied, for he has accomplished the will of God.

I see resurrection here for all of us.

The Hope I See for the Developing World

Jesus accomplished all the things in this prophesy. He is the suffering servant. In Jesus, I see hope for the entire world, including hope to overcome the pain being experienced by those in poverty in the developing world.

It is in Jesus that all things are possible (Philippians 4:13). In Jesus, one day, all things will be made new (Revelation 21). It is Jesus who can sympathize with our weaknesses and intercede on our behalf. It is Jesus who has overcome all.

Perhaps the author of Hebrews states it best:

"Therefore, since the children share in blood and flesh, he also in like manner shared in these same things, in order that through death he could destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and could set free these who through fear of death were subject to slavery throughout all their lives" (Hebrews 2:14-15).

Jesus has come to set us free. And we are given the opportunity to set others free, from spiritual and physical poverty. Let us live that message this day. Let us feel it. Let it be like the joy of Easter Sunday, the resurrection day, when we embrace the spiritual resurrection Jesus offers now and the resurrection of the dead when he one day returns. Let us live the resurrected life now.

 

(The views on Isaiah 53 in this post are based on my book The Resurrected Servant in Isaiah, published by InterVarsity Press, 2010.)

When God calls us to something great, it is immediately followed by a faith decision. Similarly, every action towards alleviating extreme poverty is a faith decision.

When we go about alleviating poverty, we’re placing faith in what can be. We are looking at the current situation, calling it “not good enough,” and then acting to create a better situation. When Jesus calls us to help the poor, he expects a faith-based and faithful response. This response requires understanding our place in the world.

Jesus’ disciples were not expected to leave the world, but to be part of it—and to be vehicles of change in it. Jesus makes this point in his final prayer for his disciples:

“I do not ask that you take them [my disciples] out of the world, but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth—your word is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world” (John 17:15–18 LEB).

From the beginning of our faith walk to the end of it in this life, our journey is about being in this world, as actors of change. Faith is not a journey that is about removing ourselves from this place, but one about bringing God’s kingdom to this place. It’s a chance to make change happen that matters—to be empowered to change the course of history for the better.

What we do with faith is as important as coming to faith, for what we do once we come to Jesus is what makes a difference in the lives of others. It’s where change for the betterment of our world occurs.

How is your faith connected to your actions? Is your faith changing the way you live each day, and the way you help others?

Let’s tackle extreme poverty in faith.

(This post is part of the "True Power" blog series.)

“There are two ways to look at other people: you are making war with them or making peace with them.”

This remark from a friend of mine has radically transformed the way I approach relationships. It's not my job to win an argument; it's my job to make peace. It is the job of all Christians to make peace. When we approach relationships this way, everything changes.

Jesus once remarked:

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9 LEB).

For Jesus, being a peacemaker was a mark of knowing God.

When people have the resources they need, they are able to have peace in their lives. When we create a job we are giving someone the financial sustainability they need and thus bringing about a type of peace.

When people have peace in their lives, they are more inclined to make peace with others. When a person moves from living day to day, fighting for survival, to sustainability, they see the full value and potential in maintaining that. Being at peace with others is one way that is maintained.

Helping someone starts a cycle. When we are helped by others, we naturally want to help others. If the helping is done right, holistic life transformation is at the end of this cycle and peace is a natural result.

In addition, when we bring order to someone’s life, they’re naturally interested in the source of the order—which is God’s work through us. (Even the Hebrew word for peace, shalom, finds its primary meaning in a sense of wholeness or completeness.) Thus, when a person finds order—through a sustainable job or having their basic needs met—they are much closer to finding Jesus than previously. This is especially the case when needs are met by an organization who promotes Jesus.

When we bring holistic transformation to a community, or even just jobs to a community, we are moving people closer to peace. And in moving them closer to peace, we are moving them closer to Jesus.

There is incredible power in peace—and in viewing every relationship as one that should be fueled by peace. Bring peace to someone today by donating to holistic community transformation.

(Thank you to Tass Saada of Seeds of Hope who inspired many of the ideas in this post; see his book Once an Arafat Man.)

(This is part of the "True Power" blog series.)

Dreaming is one of the most powerful abilities people possess. When we dream, we look beyond current problems to the solutions that could be. We envision a better future for others and ourselves. But for many around the world, dreaming of a better life is inhibited by current circumstances. A lack of opportunity makes them believe that their ideas will never come to fruition, and thus their ideas about “what could be” are abandoned.

How can the lives of a people group be changed for the better if there are no dreamers? Without visionaries, there is no clear way forward. Hope itself is absent.

When great change happens in the world, the dreamers are the pebbles that begin the avalanche of change. What the world needs is more dreamers. When we provide a way for people to achieve their goals, we do more than just help them: we provide for more vision and more change.

To create more vision, hope, and change, we need to remove the things that stand between current dreamers and the achievement of their goals.

Microloans with ecommerce in mind allow for people to achieve their dreams. They help an entrepreneur in the developing world expand his or her very small businesses into a medium-sized business. In the process of doing so, entrepreneurs hire people and thus provide opportunities for others. These opportunities are often dreams coming true in and of themselves. In the developing world, good jobs are extremely hard to come by. Microloans create jobs and thus provide sustainable livelihoods.

Once people have stable work, a portion of a local economy begins to stabilize. And once it stabilizes, people are freed up to dream even bigger—to envision further change for their community.

We believe in dreaming. We believe in dreamers. And we believe in creating more dreamers. Won’t you join us? Give to our Microloan Fund today. One hundred percent of your donation will go directly to funding businesses and job creation in the developing world.

(This is part of the "True Power" blog series.)