“By his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and shall bear their iniquities.” (Isaiah 53:11)
He never presented himself as a celebrity. Not by a long stretch.
The One who had every right to a grand entrance and spectacular accolades, chose instead to have “no form or majesty that we should look at him” (Isaiah 53:2). Jesus traversed the countryside of Israel under the radar, with no fanfare or hoopla in evidence. He knew exactly why he had come, and what on earth he was doing here. Everything else paled in comparison.
Jesus the Christ, the supreme Son of God, allowed himself to be “despised and rejected by men.” Throughout his pilgrimage on earth, the long-awaited Messiah was treated with disgust and loathing, regarded with contempt, scorned and derided, an object of derision. “As one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3). We, on the other hand, are easily shook by a snide remark or indifference to our faith.
The Lord chose to suffer, knew precisely what he had to bear, and woke each day with the clear realization of what lay ahead. Like a maligned servant with all rights stripped away, he bore the soul-wrenching burden of our griefs and our sorrows as if they were his own. He made them his own to make us one with the Father.
The weight of our transgressions, our disobedience and defiance and wrongdoing, all of it was piled on him in grave dimensions. He was wounded, crushed, and chastised to bring us peace, to transfer his righteousness to us. The punishment we so deserved, our wretched separation from a Holy God, he received as his own, healing us with the stripes, cleansing us with his sacred blood that flowed.
We act like rebellious sheep, lost and oblivious to our wandering. We delight in going our own way, in making our own rules, in demanding what we want when we want it. Our wickedness became a wall between us and our Creator, our choices a barrier blocking us from his all-encompassing love.
To rescue us from our plight, “the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). Our Lord was a “lamb that is led to the slaughter” in silence. For us “He was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of [my] God’s people…upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace” (Isaiah 53:8,5).
Sometimes we forget what Jesus actually accomplished on the cross. Tragically, we skim the reality of his death as if it simply were yesterday’s news; we yawn and gravitate to more interesting diversions. Let’s not do that this week. Rather, let’s visualize the cost incurred, consider the price Christ willingly paid, and cease our preoccupation with lesser pursuits for the next little while.
Elizabeth A Mitchell
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