04-16-17 @North Heartland: Good Friday, Easter Sunday ... and the BUT That Changes Everything
Almost 2700 years ago, and 700 years before Jesus of Nazareth was born, God gave an amazing revelation to the Hebrew prophet Isaiah. Isaiah was lifted up from the time line of human history so he could see reality from God's viewpoint, which enabled him to speak of something in the future as if it had already happened.
This is what he wrote of the Messiah whom God would send at the proper time:
My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground.There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him.
He was despised and rejected — a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.
Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows and sickness that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins!
But he was pierced for our rebellion.
He was crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.
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. Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people.
He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave.
But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief.
Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands. When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied.
And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins.
I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels. Isaiah 53:2-12 (NLT)
I don't know about you, but that passage always gives me chills for it clearly speaks of Jesus and what He did for us on that day - THIS day - we remember as "Good Friday."
Of course, the only reason it can be called "good" is because of what happened on the following Sunday ... and the "but" that changes everything.
Hope to see you THIS Sunday at 9:30 or 11:00 as we celebrate that day. If you're out of town, make sure you go to church somewhere. :)