Led to the Slaughter

Isaiah 53 (NIV)

Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 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 its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. 11 After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of Scripture over and over again.  This passage specifically about the crucifixion of Jesus.  Jesus came into the world not as a prince or as a king, but in very humble circumstances.  There are a lot of pictures of Jesus being portrayed with his long locks and dashing blue eyes, but this passage reveals that he had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him and nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.  Jesus was very ordinary in his looks and didn’t look the part of a king or as a savior.  However, God looks at the inside; the heart of man.  People considered him as being punished by God.  This passage almost resembles the resume of Jesus.  It doesn’t point out the fact that he performed miracles by feeding thousands or healing the sick.  The main point here is to focus our attention on the fact that when he was oppressed and sentenced, he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter.  Did Jesus have a choice?  Of course he could have called down ten legions of angels to come to his rescue, but he decided to fulfill the scripture and to please God.

The other perspective is that besides pleasing God, he loved us all so much that he was willing to go to the cross to die for our sins.  It was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer.  Jesus became a sin offering for me and through him, I will be justified and he will bear my iniquities.  I do not deserve his saving grace and didn’t ask him to do it for me, but this is how merciful God is.  He is willing to sacrifice His son for me.  It’s up to me to choose his saving grace or to reject it.  I can accept the death of Christ and his resurrection and change in my ways or be selfish and go my own path.  I have recently rediscovered the slumber that I was in when I was wandering my own way and God has awaken me up to the reality of what He wants in my life. I should be punished by God, but God punished Jesus in my place.

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