“Who has believed our message, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces, He was despised, and we held Him in low esteem.
Surely He took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered Him punished by God, stricken by Him, and afflicted. 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.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way, and The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
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. By oppression and judgment He was taken away. Yet who of His generation protested?
For He was cut off from the land of the living, for the transgression of my people He was punished.
He was assigned a grave with the wicked and with the rich in His death, though He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth.
Yet it was The Lord’s Will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer, and though The Lord makes His life an offering for sin, He will see his offspring and prolong his days, and The Will of the Lord will prosper in His hand. After He has suffered, He will see the light of life and be satisfied.
By His knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and He will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give Him a portion among the great, and He will divide the spoils with the strong, because He poured out His life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors.
For He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors" (Isaiah 53).
This Scripture predicts the manner by which we shall all be saved, through the suffering of The Son of God. This is not the way we would expect God to come to us, as one of us, born into this world, taking His Divine nature and uniting it fully to our human nature. But He did.
God became man in the person of Jesus Christ, who took upon Himself the sins of the world. Because of the actions of Adam and Eve, who disobeyed God's command, sin and death entered the world. Mankind rejected the paradise God created for us, and now lives in a sinful nature, in a sinful world. With sin comes suffering. We were unable to right this wrong. So God sent His Son to make up for our sinfulness. Jesus came to conquer sin and death by taking our sins upon Himself. He bore the punishment that really belongs to each one of us. He made up for what humanity lacked, and through Christ, all who believe in Him can receive the grace He won for us on The Cross, the gift of eternal life. Why did He do this? Because He Loves us. God is Love, and God Loves what He has created. He loves each one of us - to death. And if you were the only person on earth, He would have done it all the same .. just for you.
Jesus died so that we may live, forever in Heaven. We need a Savior. We needed a Savior then, and we need a Savior now. Sin is still a choice to us, in fact it's everywhere, but through Christ we can reject that choice, reject sin and choose Heaven through the Cross of Christ, by receiving Jesus into our lives.
Today our personal relationship with God can grow significantly if we open our hearts and reflect on what He did for each of us. Let's pray and ask God for the grace to understand this better, and to become more loving, even in our own sufferings.
With gratitude for the life of Christ, as we meditate on His suffering and death, lets remind ourselves that He did it "for me." He didn't just do this for someone else. He did it for you. We can truthfully say "He bore my sins, my weaknesses, my guilt, my punishment .. so that I don't have too." We receive the benefit of His death when we accept Him as the center of our life. Let's finally let go of our old way of living, and start living for Christ, in a New Way, Today.