By Tim Morey
In I Corinthians 1:17-18, 2:1-4, Paul began his letter to the Corinthian church with a summary of his missionary ministry. It is a profound realization that Paul did not attempt to reach the Corinthians with eloquent speech or wisdom, but rather only with the proclamation of Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. In this final hour, Christians must boldly speak of Christ Jesus and His sacrifice to everyone we contact!
When examining the prophecies of Isaiah 53, much can be discovered about Christ and his willing sacrifice for us. Understanding these prophecies were written to the nation of Israel about the coming Messiah, one can identify several critical points about the crucifixion of our Lord.
• “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?” (v.1). The prophet questioned the hearer/reader: Who would believe these prophecies and would recognize the arm, the power and sovereignty, of the Lord? Who would recognize the Messiah? What would happen to him. In the day of Isaiah, God established that not everyone would understand these prophecies (also Luke 16:19-31).
• Nothing about His humanity would be spectacular (v. 2). People would look at Him and their first impression would not classify him as handsome or popular. Jesus was God robed in the flesh of humanity (Isaiah 9:6-7, Colossians 2:8-10, I Timothy 3:16), yet nothing about his physical appearance suggested greatness.
• “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (v. 3). Prior to his arrival it was established that He would be despised and rejected – the Jews would literally hate Him and make several attempts to kill Him (John 5:16-18, 8:57-59). In His humanity, He would become acquainted with the wide spectrum of sorrow and grief that life often bestows upon mankind (Hebrews 4:15-16). In the next verse, it is noted that Christ has “borne [taken away] our griefs, and carried our sorrows” (v.4).
• “We hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (vs3). Perhaps people despised Jesus so much throughout His ministry that they actually turned their faces to avoid looking at Him. Another possibility was that at the crucifixion that the body of Christ became so disfigured and mangled that people turned away nauseated, to the point of being sick (Isaiah 52:14).
• “We did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted” (v. 4). As Jesus hung on the cross, many thought that He was stricken in judgment, smitten of God for wrong-doing and as one afflicted with leprosy. They ignorantly viewed the Cross of Calvary as the proof of a supposed guilt (Matthew 27:3943). In spite of their rejection, Christ still died for mankind (Romans 5:6-8, Hebrews 12:1-2).
• “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities:” (v. 5). Christ was beaten by the Roman soldiers’ scourge, became severely dehydrated by massive blood loss and finally nailed to a Roman cross (Psalms 22:1-8, John 19:28-30, I Peter 2:24, 3:18). Additionally, verse 18 points out, “…for the transgression of my people was he stricken”. Our sin was placed on him who had no sin of his own. The father laid his hands on the head of the Iamb and confessed the sin of the world.
• “The chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (v. 5). The Message Bible sharpens the focus of this word picture, “…He took the punishment, and that made us whole…” Because He went to the Cross and took the punishment for our sin we can be made whole and complete. Truly, the blood of Jesus brings healing and redemption to all of humanity
(Ephesians 1:7, 2:12-16, Colossians 1:14).
• “… The LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (v. 6). Because of the waywardness of humanity (“gone astray”, “turned every one to his own way”) Christ submitted to carry our iniquities up Golgotha’s hill (I Peter 2:24). All of our sins were ultimately nailed to His cross (Colossians 2:13-15). Additionally, verse 11b says, “…he shall bear their iniquities.”
• “He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter” (vs7). Near the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, John the Baptist declared, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Jesus was our Passover lamb — the willing sacrifice that addressed the sin problem of humanity (Exodus 12, 1 Corinthians 5:7). Silent before his accusers, Jesus stood as the spotless lamb (Matthew 27:11-14).
Author Richard J. Foster said, “Love, not anger, brought Jesus to the cross. Golgotha came as a result of God’s great desire to forgive, not his reluctance. Jesus knew that by his vicarious suffering he could actually absorb all the evil of humanity and so heal it, forgive it, redeem it.” Truly, love was Jesus’ driving emotion and redemption His ultimate purpose. Only by bearing all the iniquity and evil of humanity, as the spotless Iamb, could His sacrifice result in our healing, forgiveness and redemption.
Never forget! Jesus willingly laid down His life on Calvary (Matthew 26:53-54, John 10:1718). Because of His sacrifice our sins can be washed away; we can transition from outcasts of iniquity to redeemed of the Lord (Isaiah 1:18, Galatians 3:13, I Peter 1:18-19). Because Christ gave His everything each of us can experience the born again, new birth transformation that leads to eternal life (John 3:16, 3:1-8, Acts 2:37-39, II Corinthians 5:15-17)!
As Christians, we must treasure His willing sacrifice. We must treasure His blood that was shed for us. We must treasure His love that was freely given. We must treasure Christ, The spotless Lamb.
The above article, “Christ Crucified,” is written by Tim Morey. The article was excerpted from Focus on Alabama March-April 2014.
The material is most likely copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.