In preparation for Easter I’d like to give you a paraphrase of Isaiah 53 which, in my opinion, is the most concise, complete and profound description of who Jesus is, what he endured, what God’s plan was and what was accomplished:
Who has believed what we’ve been saying? Who of you recognizes the power of God’s salvation given to us in Jesus? He grew up before God as a tender young plant, like a root coming up out of dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance. There wasn’t anything special about the way he looked that drew us to him. In fact He was despised and rejected, a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We refused to acknowledge who he really was and even looked down our noses at him.
Yet he suffered the things we should have suffered. He took on himself the pain that should have been ours. We assumed that his suffering was a sentence from God, punishment for his own sins! But he was wounded, pierced for our rebellion. He was bruised and crushed because we had sinned and done what was evil. The punishment that bought us peace was put on him. Because of His wounds we are healed. He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth.
All of us are like sheep. We have wandered away from God. Every one of us has rebelled and gone our own way. And the Lord has placed on him the wickedness of us all.
He was arrested, sentenced to death and taken away. And did anyone really know what was happening? He died without a thought for his own welfare, beaten bloody for the sins of all people; for my sins. He had done no wrong, never said one word that wasn’t true, but he was buried like a criminal; put in a rich man’s tomb.
The Lord says “It was my plan to crush him and cause him to suffer. I made his life a guilt offering to pay for sin. But he will see all who are brought into the family of God because of him. In fact, he will continue to live. My plan will be brought about through him. When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will know it was enough and will be fully satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous one will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins.”