“He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their face, he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted” (Isaiah 53: 3-4)
“Who has believed what we have heard?” This is the question Isaiah 53 begins with. It seems incredulous to read through the passages leading towards the crucifixion as the crowds mock aloud “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One” and “if you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” (Luke 23:35,38)
In the past I would have proclaimed pridefully: how could they– how could the crowd scoff and reject Jesus? Had they not heard? Did they not know that he is the true King they waited for so long? However, the past few weeks I’ve come to a deeper awareness that I am no different from this crowd who crowns Jesus with thorns. Many times in my life, as I have chosen my own way, my own kingdom over Jesus’ kingdom, I too have seen no form of majesty to look towards Him. I’ve seen no beauty to desire Him in my actions towards my own way (Is 53:2).
In the path of self righteousness and pride we hide our face like the crowd before Jesus; we look away seeing no beauty in a wounded, bloody man on the cross. Our fickle hearts and sinful tendencies also reject the marginalized and outcast as we selfishly look away and turn our face from the homeless, the immigrant, the refugee, the hurting and the other.
He has borne our grief and carried our sorrows as a community and individually. As the lamb led to the slaughter is silently stricken, Jesus satisfied our rightful place on the cross becoming an offering for our guilt and iniquity. We are counted righteous through the death of the most innocent one (Is. 53:11).
So, let us sing out to the hymn:
“Man of Sorrows,” what a name
For the Son of God who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim!
Hallelujah! what a Savior!
Hallelujah What a Savior.
Today, I invite you to look to Jesus, the man of sorrows who poured out his soul to death to intercede on our behalf and bear our iniquity so we could enter his kingdom of justice, mercy and freedom (Is. 53:12). Taste and see true majesty and beauty displayed on the cross. Have we truly believed what we have heard?
Believe in Jesus who brings reconciliation to the Father and is transforming you to reflect Him even in the midst of sin, grief, pain, and confusion. Since “It will be counted to us [righteousness] who believe in Him who was raised from the dead Jesus our Lord who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” (Romans 4:24-25 )