Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Isaiah, Chapter 53

My wife is a wonderful source of spiritual strength. Yesterday, I wrote about how I felt that once you receive Christ in your heart, it is impossible to be a lukewarm Christian. In my estimation, God won't let you be one because you have become His. Matthew 7:17-19 states that good trees will bear good fruit. Once we accept Christ into our hearts we become good trees, therefore, we must produce good fruit. My wife yesterday was a little concerned about my stance on being a lukewarm Christian though. As with many things in life, it is not a black and white issue. Even the best of Christians can go through lukewarm periods where we don't accomplish what God wants us to accomplish in our lives. It is in these times that we feel distant from God. Over time, however, He continues to call to us because we have committed ourselves to Him. These periods can be short, or they can be long. I would even say I have had a period in my life that lasted about six years, or longer, of being lukewarm. God continued to knock, as I mentioned yesterday, however. Now I know He is accomplishing a wonderful thing in me, and all the glory is due to Him.

We see the epitome of that glory today in Isaiah 53. This chapter is one of the most complete chapters in terms of outlining the coming Messiah for the Jews. We have seen allusions to Christ's coming in previous chapters, but this entire chapter is essentially one giant prophecy. It also explains why a Savior like Jesus must come. Inside us, we are not worthy of God's grace. There is nothing we can do to save ourselves, so God Himself chose to suffer and die so that we might live. This is merely the culmination of a centuries long love story between God and humanity. God has loved us as His creation for ages, so much so that only He can save us.

3 He was despised and rejected by men,
       a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
       Like one from whom men hide their faces
       he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

 4 Surely he took up our infirmities
       and carried our sorrows,
       yet we considered him stricken by God,
       smitten by him, and afflicted.

 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
       he was crushed for our iniquities;
       the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
       and by his wounds we are healed.

 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
       each of us has turned to his own way;
       and the LORD has laid on him
       the iniquity of us all.

 7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
       yet he did not open his mouth;
       he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
       and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,
       so he did not open his mouth. – Isaiah 53:3-7

Have you ever taken the blame for someone? In that case, you know you are innocent, but you take the fall so that someone else does not have to suffer. That is what Christ does for us with our sin. Think of Christ like a Secret Service agent. We are like the President and He is there to take an assassin's bullet. The bullet in this case is sin. As we know, the wages of sin is death. Only God can erase sin, and here He pays the penalty of that sin through Christ.

The first part of this chapter depicts an inglorious fate for the innocent One that must suffer for us. It is appropriate, during Easter, to remember that the story is not in the suffering though. The real story is in the resurrection. Up until Christ's time the system of sacrifices that Israel carried out was only temporary. Once a sacrifice was done, it was only good until the next one was necessary. In Christ, we have an everlasting sacrifice because He rose again. He is therefore glorified where He has been shamed. We see this glory at the end of the chapter in verse 12 where He takes his rightful place atop the great.


  1. How does this chapter fit in with the Bible being God's love affair with humanity?
  2. Why did Christ have to suffer and be disgraced at the same time?
  3. What is the significance of Christ being silent in His suffering?

No comments: