“He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. … 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.” Isaiah 53:3,7, NIV
Relax and create an image in your mind (or on paper) with the following words as pieces of a puzzle: betrayal, false charges and testimony, handcuffs, soldiers, denied by a trusted friend, lashing, a crown of thorns, humiliated and half-naked. A shredded, bloodied body – nailed to a wooden cross. Now write across your picture: This is Love – Jesus’ sacrificial love.
Your image ought to provide a reasonable understanding of what had happened at the cross, but just for in case: the Jews’ charge sheet against Jesus – he claimed to be the Son of God. (John 19:7) The verdict by Pilate: “Innocent! I find no basis for a charge against him.” (John 19:6) And then later, the about turn. On demand of the Jews, he delivered him unto them to be crucified. (John 19:16)
At no stage did Jesus rebel or resist, nor did he even complain. He bore the name “Lamb of God” with godly power and royal grace. His suffering and eventual death on the cross for you, me, every human ever born, and still to be born, was a victory by the authority of the Lion, the Lion of Judah! So that you and I, and every human being, can be freed from sin and stand righteous before God.
Return to the heading of your image. Jesus’ love is unique, it is different. It never demands, asks for favours and charity and keeps no record of wrongs. His love is a giving and sacrificial love. “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. (Isaiah 53:5) Yes, he gave his life as a guilt offering. (Isaiah 53:10b)
His promise to us still stands: “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed.” (Isaiah 54:10)
And our reaction to this? I believe in Christ! I believe in the cleansing, regenerative power of your lifeblood that redeemed me free from every sin and all transgressions. You are my Redeemer, my Messiah!
Prayer: My heavenly Father, the realisation of your indescribable love and grace for fallible people leaves me speechless and flabbergasted. Thank you for your never-ending love, but especially for the eternal anchor of life we have in the Messiah, Jesus Christ, who made salvation possible for every man. Amen