Text: ”He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised and we esteemed him not… But He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed”-Isaiah 53:3&5.
Nowhere in all the Old Testament is the rejection and suffering of Christ foretold as the book of Isaiah Chapter 53. Five hundred and fifty years before Christ was born God had opened the eyes of his Prophet to see into the very heart of Christ saving work. The heart of the saving work is the fact that Christ was a substitution; the righteous in the place of the unrighteous, the exalted king in the place of the rebel subjects. Because of our redemption the suffering servant (Jesus) suffered. He suffered:
- Rejection-: John 1:11 says ”He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him”. The world rejects His words and rejects his work (Isa. 53:1), in other words, his style, his view of life and money and possessions and lust and prayer and worship and pride and humility and fear and faith were not endorsed by the people he came to save. He was also despised and thought to be struck by God for his own sin.
- Substitution and Sacrifice: 2 Corinthians 5:21 says “He made Him sin who know no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become righteousness of God in Him”. 1 Peter 2:2 He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness of God in Him”. Being a substitute, He was crushed by our sins (Isaiah 53:6). He was punished as though He had broken the law. He bore our sickness and pain; our calamities and the unhappy results of our sins (Romans 6:23). He was opposed; he was afflicted and was led like a lamb to the slaughter. He was stripped of his clothes, his friends his honour and in all these sufferings he did not respond but was silent. Then he was cut off out of the land of the living (Isaiah 53:8). He was not just led to the slaughter but was slaughtered. Like the Passover lamb. He was not slaughtered for His own sin but the sins of others. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 says “…Christ died for our sins according to the scripture, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day.”
Beloved, the suffering servant should be our mentor, that in all our sufferings we are not to grudge but be prudent as God had said about the Suffering Servant that he would be prudent ( Isaiah 52:13), therefore, we are to go through suffering patiently with trust in God. (Peter 3:13-221). Sufferings can bring us more nearer to God and can also make us more useful.
Moreover, our response to Christ suffering is to acknowledge that we are the ones who deserve the suffering because we have sinned, rebelled against our Maker and went away from Him like the lost Sheep. Christ suffered for our atonement. Through his suffering and death on the cross we are redeemed, saved from the wrath of God coming on sinners. Therefore, we should do away with sin and come to Christ and accept Him as our Lord and Saviour so that we can benefit from His vicarious sacrifice.
Very Revd Adewale Adebiyi Ph.D