Isaiah 53:1-3 ESV
“Who has believed what he has heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”
That’s an interesting question, in light of where we are today as the church, as nations, and as the world. Who has believed what he has heard from us regarding Jesus Christ and his plan of salvation for our lives? And, who has believed the lies, instead? Who is listening to and is heeding the true gospel? And, who is following after a man-made gospel which appeases the flesh?
For, the way Jesus is being taught by so many these days, it makes you wonder why in the world the religious leaders put him to death on a cross. For, Jesus is painted as a good deed doer who just went around saying nice things to people to “bless” them, i.e. to make them feel good about themselves right where they are, no matter where they are.
How do I know this? Listen to what so many of these preachers are teaching their people. They are teaching them to “stay in your own lane,” and to not make anyone feel “uncomfortable,” and to not “offend” people with the gospel, but to just “be the gospel” by doing nice things for people. They are teaching them that they should not “preach” to people but to just be nice to people, and that people will see Jesus in them.
But, being “nice” often means lying to people, and it means telling them things they want to hear but that are not the truth. It means comforting them and consoling them in their sinful addictions rather than to urge them strongly to cast off those sinful practices so that they can now follow Jesus in obedience to his commands. And, it means just being “good deed doers,” which may also include much worldliness and sensuality, too.
So, let’s take a look at who Jesus was (and is), in truth. He wasn’t this “nice” guy who made everyone like him, and who shied away from confrontation so as not to offend anyone. He was despised. He was rejected. People hid their faces from him. They did not esteem him. He wasn’t voted most popular. Yes, he had crowds follow after him, because he fed their bellies, and because he performed miracles, but when “push came to shove,” most abandoned him, for they said his teaching was “too hard” (Jn. 6:35-66).
And, when the religious leaders called for Jesus to be crucified, the crowds joined in in calling for him to be crucified, too: “Crucify Him!” they shouted.
Isaiah 53:4-6 ESV
“Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.”
Jesus Christ was put to death on that cross because he wasn’t a “team player.” He didn’t follow the crowd. He didn’t abide by all the man-made rules of man-made religion, either. He didn’t say all the right things to all the right people. He spoke the truth, in love. And, the truth wasn’t this “mushy-gushy” “feel-good” stuff, either. It was hard truths. And, the religious leaders didn’t like his truths (such as what he said in Luke 9:23-26).
And, the vast majority of our religious leaders today don’t like those hard truths, either. In fact, I had one pastor tell me, regarding his training for becoming a “church planter”: “I was warned about people like you” (like me) – “people with strong convictions.” And, I did nothing to deserve that. I did and said nothing that was out of line. I was totally in subjection to the leadership, and I was very encouraging to them, in fact.
Yet, he invited me to leave and to go someplace else where I would be a “better fit.” And, he even offered to help me find someplace else, which was an action not particular to just him. For, this type of thing was and/or is being encouraged far and wide. For, they want “sheep” they can conform to the marketing goals and schemes of the market-driven church of today.
But, back to Jesus, whom we represent, as his followers, he wasn’t killed for being a “nice guy.” He was killed because he did the will of God the Father, he fulfilled the prophecies concerning himself, and he did what he was destined to do, as well as he spoke the truth regarding who he was.
He confronted sin in sinful humans, he warned of divine judgment, and he called for repentance and obedience to his commands. And, he promised salvation from slavery to sin and eternal life with God to the penitent and to the obedient (See Isaiah 61:1-3; Lu. 9:23-26; Jn. 6:35-66; Jn. 10:27-30).
Yet, it was God’s will that he should suffer in this way. For, in his death on the cross he bought us back for God that we might become the righteousness of God, and that we might now honor God with our lives. For, he died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, and that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us (1 Pet. 2:24; 1 Co. 6:20; 2 Co. 5:15, 21).
Isaiah 53:7-9 ESV
“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.”
Because Jesus did the will of God the Father, he was oppressed and he was afflicted. They falsely arrested him, charged him with crimes he did not commit, twisted his words, beat him until he was barely recognizable, made him carry his own cross, and then hung him on it to the point of death.
This passage in Isaiah says he did not open his mouth. It is true that there were times during his arrest, mock trial, and crucifixion when he remained silent, even when being questioned, but he wasn’t silent through the whole process. He said plenty.
But, the meaning behind this, I believe, is that he did not fight back. He didn’t try to resist the authorities. He didn’t try to get out of it. He submitted himself to death on a cross so that we could be free from slavery to sin and so that we can now walk in his holiness and righteousness in the power of God’s Holy Spirit living within us, who is giving us strength.
Although he had done no wrong, for he was sinless, they treated him as though he was a common criminal. And, although none of us are sinless, as he was, we can live righteously by God’s grace, and thus we may be treated much in the same way as he was. We may end up being hated, despised, rejected, mistreated, and persecuted for righteousness’ sake, like the example I gave to you earlier, although we have done no wrong.
But, because of Jesus’ obedience in going to the cross, and in dying for our sins, and in being resurrected from the grave, we can, in the power of God, die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. We can be set free from our slavery (addiction, bondage) to sin, and we can live lives which are holy, separate from the world, and pleasing to God (Rom. 6:1-23).
But, just know this: As Jesus was treated, so will we also be treated if we are following him in his ways and in his truth, and if we are shining the light of the gospel to the people of this world so that they can also be saved from their slavery to sin and have eternal life with God.
But, all this is just temporary. One day Jesus will come and he will take us home, and then our trials will be over. Our tears will be wiped from our eyes, and we will rejoice that we are finally home with our Lord. And, what a day that will be when our Jesus we will see face to face. Hallelujah!
An Original Work / May 3, 2011
He is coming, hallelujah!
He’s our Lord God and we love Him
For He saved us from our sin.
He is with us, hallelujah,
And He loves us, hallelujah!
We adore Him; give our worship
To our Lord God, King of kings.
He’s our Savior, hallelujah!
He provided our redemption;
Paid our ransom; we’re forgiven;
In His death He bore our sin.
He is risen, hallelujah!
Conquered death, hell, sin, in vict’ry;
Sent His Spirit; lives within us;
Cleansed and purified within.
He is coming, hallelujah,
To receive us, hallelujah,
As His pure bride for our wedding
To our Lord God, priest and King!
Live in vict’ry, hallelujah,
For He freed you, hallelujah,
To obey Him; turn from your sin;
Walk in fellowship with Him.