Saturday, May 15, 2010
Isaiah 53: 8 states:
"He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken."
The idea of our Messiah emerging from "prison and from judgment" was a bit shocking to his listeners. There is little wonder at Isaiah's original question about who would believe the report. Should not the Messiah emerge from a palace? From a university (center of learning)? From a recognized hierarchy? From a notable family? From respectable circles? We would think so, wouldn't we?
Because of the presumptions, we do not look for Him as a prisoner, or one against whom judgment has been rendered. Nor do we expect His messengers to come, as they have so often in scriptures, from obscure places, bearing obscure names and having no credentials.
When Isaiah adds that the Messiah will be "cut off from the land of the living" he made a startling point. The Messiah will die! The Redeemer will not avoid death and the grave. He will lose His life. What follows adds to the wonder of it all: "For the transgression of my people" will the Messiah be cut off into death.
Now the focus has changed. Isaiah's message shifts from the suffering of the Messiah into the transgression of Israel. It is Israel's responsibility that their Messiah must suffer so. They will need a Messiah who will undertake this suffering, for they will not abandon their transgressions and will need a sacrifice made for them. They will need to confront love so great that it will die to redeem them. The proof of the Messiah's devotion to them will be shown by His humiliation, suffering and death. This is His proof. This is His credential. This is the record which will show for all mankind what great lengths God will go to reclaim His beloved people. They transgress, He atones. They sin and wander off as lost sheep, He pays to re-gather them with His blood.
His suffering may surprise them, but their surprise should be astonishment at the great love He holds for them.