READING: Isaiah 49-53
Let me just be honest today. As I read through today’s reading, I began thinking about the Word like I always do. What does the Lord want to teach me? How might I teach others? What’s the best way to summarize these thoughts in a few words? What action steps are appropriate in my life? In my readers’ lives?
Those thoughts and questions echoed in the back of my mind as I read Isaiah 49-52 . . . but then I arrived at Isaiah 53. I read those prophetic words that describe what Jesus would experience — rejection, suffering, punishment, piercing, affliction, oppression, crushing — all for my sin. On and on the terms go, as the writer attempts to put into human words a divine transaction so far beyond our thinking that we can only marvel. Jesus died for me even though I’m nothing but a transgressor.
Truth be told, I can’t add to the words of Isaiah today. I plead with you to stop what you’re doing today, read Isaiah 53:1-12 here, let the words pierce your heart, weep a little bit over the miracle of the agony described, and then praise the Lord from your knees. I can say nothing else.
Who has believed what we have heard? And who has the arm of the Lord been revealed to?
He grew up before Him like a young plant and like a root out of dry ground.
He didn’t have an impressive form or majesty that we should look at Him, no appearance that we should desire Him.
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of suffering who knew what sickness was.
He was like someone people turned away from; He was despised, and we didn’t value Him.
Yet He Himself bore our sicknesses, and He carried our pains;
but we in turn regarded Him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted.
But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities;
punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds.
We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way;
and the Lord has punished Him for the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth.
Like a lamb led to the slaughter and like a sheep silent before her shearers, He did not open His mouth.
He was taken away because of oppression and judgment; and who considered His fate?
For He was cut off from the land of the living; He was struck because of my people’s rebellion.
They made His grave with the wicked and with a rich man at His death,
although He had done no violence and had not spoken deceitfully.
Yet the Lord was pleased to crush Him severely.
When You make Him a restitution offering,
He will see His seed, He will prolong His days,
and by His hand, the Lord’s pleasure will be accomplished.
He will see it out of His anguish, and He will be satisfied with His knowledge.
My righteous Servant will justify many, and He will carry their iniquities.
Therefore I will give Him the many as a portion, and He will receive the mighty as spoil,
because He submitted Himself to death, and was counted among the rebels;
yet He bore the sin of many and interceded for the rebels.
- I say it again: just read Isaiah 53, and let the words both wound and heal you.
- If you are gathering with the people of God today, rejoice with them.
PRAYER: “Lord, what can I say? I’m just a sinner saying ’Thank You’ today.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Isaiah 54-58