Fire and brimstone Jesus has no place in the 21st century, and that’s why we need him. The punishment that brought us peace was on him. Hard truth. Hard truth of Christmas. We go astray, Jesus takes the bullet, and we are forgiven. What a Christmas story…
1 Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 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.
3 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.
4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken 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 on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 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.
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 its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8 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.
9 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.
The Christmas story in Matthew and Luke’s books tell us the story of Jesus, yet Isaiah 53 gives us perspective which cover’s Jesus’ whole life, death, and resurrection. He grew up like a tender shoot. No kidding. Jesus was born into humble beginnings. Mary was pregnant out of wedlock, which, despite the Holy Spirit’s involvement, created a cultural issue for her and Joseph.
There was no place for them to even stay the night he was born. No beauty. No birthing photoshoot. No majesty in the stable or that manger. Not even close. Isaiah says that we ought not be attracted to Jesus, and we aren’t. He is despised and rejected by mankind. Kinda funny. In fact, I often argue against that point.
I often say that people like Jesus; it’s his followers they don’t like. The truth is, however, that people like parts of Jesus. People like the teachings and the kindness which reflects the people they wish they could be. He is a nice man, we can hear them say. I follow his teachings (which really means I do my best). It doesn’t mean I believe all his teachings.
Everyone can find something to despise in Jesus, because Jesus confronts our sin and reveals, as he shines his light, that we fall short of the glory of God. We are sinners. We all need change in our lives and Jesus will be glad to show us that. That’s what gets despised. That’s what gets rejected.
We hold teaching on sin and repentance in low esteem. Fire and brimstone Jesus has no place in the 21st century, anymore than he did in the first century.
That’s why we need him.
He took our punishment which we earned for rejecting God’s standards of living. The punishment that brought us peace was on him (vs. 5). Hard truth. Hard truth of Christmas…
We go astray, Jesus takes the bullet, and we are forgiven. What a Christmas story. His future was even worse than his humble beginning. Cut off. Punished. Assigned a borrowed grace. Crushed. Suffering.
Know that as you contemplate the cute story of baby Jesus there is serious atonement in his story that is the only way we can be right before God. The one who died for transgressors like me was numbered with transgressors for me. And you.
Thank God for Jesus. Repent from your own way and accept God’s gift.