Last night we looked at verse 5 with the youth group. When we started talking about the torture (there’s really no other way to describe it) that Jesus bore before going to the Cross, I think some of the magnitude of Christ’s sacrifice began to hit home with them. This is the price the Lord bore for us. I’ve expanded the verses for today’s devotional to include through verse 10.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his 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 her shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
And who can speak of his descendants?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was stricken.
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 a guilt offering,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
– Isaiah 53:5-10, NIV
The details contained in these verses reference back to Leviticus 4-6 with the sin and guilt offerings and Leviticus 16 with the Day of Atonement and the scapegoat. Those chapters in our Bibles tell us the sacrifices required for sin under the old system, under the Old Covenant. Jesus fulfilled those sacrifices once and for all, but by taking the place of those sacrifices. In other words, dying for us. I’ve talked a lot about truth, the importance of truth, and the fact we should stand up for the truth, regardless of the cost. And it’s really, really easy to say, “God’s asking too much!” But is He really?
These verses, which foretold the suffering Christ would undergo and the death which He would willingly accept, remind us that God has already paid the ultimate price for us. He has saved our eternal lives by giving His life on the Cross. Therefore, though we can still say, “God is asking too much,” He is not. He’s not asking of us anything more than He’s already done for us. And really, when we start thinking about His sacrifice, anything He asks of us is not too much. How can we ever repay God sacrificing His own life for ours? And that’s the question that drops everything into the proper perspective.
In this holiday season of glitz and merchandise, remember the reason we celebrate the season. Yes, some of our traditions are bound in old pagan practices. And yes, Jesus’ birth was more likely in the fall, around September-October. But that doesn’t mean we have to stop celebrating Christ. We should honor and exalt our Savior, not only during this time, but throughout the year. He is deserving of all of our worship and praise. Remember His sacrifice upon the Cross. He did that for all of us. He did it because He loved us. He did it because we couldn’t. While the rest of the world forgets Him in the pursuit of stuff, food, Christmas parties, and decorating contests, let us take time remember our Savior. Remember the cost.