The servant grew up before God–a scrawny seedling, a scrubby plant in a parched field. There was nothing attractive about him, nothing to cause us to take a second look. He was looked down on and passed over, a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand. One look at him and people turned away. We looked down on him, thought he was scum. But the fact is, it was our pains he carried–our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us. We thought he brought it on himself, that God was punishing him for his own failures. But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him– our sins! He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed. We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost. We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way. And GOD has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong, on him, on him. (Isaiah 53:2-6 MSG)
The suffering servant of Isaiah 53 is pretty clearly Jesus Christ. Isn’t it incredible to think that God–the God of the universe, Creator of all things, completely holy,glorious and majestic–came to earth as a man, humble in appearance, status, and circumstances? Not only did he take on the status of a lowly man, but he humbled himself to the point of death on a cross. He willingly gave himself over to suffering and death, though innocent and undeserving, so that we could be cleansed of our sins and inherit eternal life. He died so we could live. He suffered so that we could be saved. By his wounds we are healed. Jesus took the punishment that our sins earned and made a relationship between sinful humans and a Holy God possible. We are saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus–in his death and resurrection. We confess that we are sinners, repent (turn away) from our sins, relying on the gift of the Holy Spirit to do so. Today, whether you have put your hope in Jesus or not, I challenge you to consider the love of God and think deeply about this Jesus who took our punishment, and made us whole. Think about who Jesus really is and what that means for your life. If you aren’t convinced that He is the son of God or just aren’t sure, seek out the truth and don’t stop until you find it. You can either accept Him or reject Him, but you must decide. He is eagerly awaiting your response.
For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 NIV)
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope–the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. (Titus 2:11-14 NIV)
Although He was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him…” (Hebrews 5:8-9 ESV)