June 24 – Isaiah 53

I can’t even read this chapter without tears in my eyes. It’s the most incredible description of our suffering Savior I’ve ever read anywhere. Nothing else comes close in my mind. This time, I was struck by the way the NLT translated verse 4: “Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down …” My sorrows weighed Jesus down. We do not have some plastic, non-emotive God. We have a God who feels. Who hurts when we hurt. Who willingly chose to enter human flesh and feel the pain we feel. And He did not have to. That’s how much He loves us.

Isaiah tells us how necessary this sacrifice was in verse 6. We all have gone astray. None of us have stayed on the path marked out for us. We are all lost and in need of a Savior. We deserve judgment for our sins. Punishment for our wicked disregard of the One who made and loves us. And the punishment that we deserved fell on Him. Jesus lived a very short time. He did not get to the gray-haired stage of life. He was cut down in the prime of adulthood, as He chose to take our punishment on Himself – the ultimate and final sacrificial Lamb.

Isn’t it cool that the explanation for Jesus’ death was available for centuries before it happened? What an honor for our Isaiah, that he would be the one to explain the Redeemer’s death to all of us so clearly. And note how he got the details right. Even down to being buried in a rich man’s grave, yet buried as a criminal. Now, on the face of it, criminals do not get rich men’s graves. Reading that prophecy before Jesus would have made no sense. But that’s just what happened. Crucifixion was for criminals. Jesus wasn’t one, but He was treated like one. But then, Joseph of Arimathea, a rich man, offered his own grave – not yet used – to Jesus. Prophecy fulfilled. Totally.

This chapter ends with triumph. Although it seems Jesus is cut off without descendants, because of His victory over death, He has tens of thousands of us born-again kids. We are now “counted righteous” because He bore our sins. Hallelujah!

My verse: Isaiah 53:11 “When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins.”

My response: I am so struck, Lord, at how clearly Isaiah shares the beautiful, good news – the gospel – centuries earlier that Christ’s death and resurrection. Thank You for deeming us worth Your great suffering so we could be made righteous and be with You forever.

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June 23 – Isaiah 52