Most historians believe that around three hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ, in Isaiah 53, it was prophesied…
Who has believed our message?
To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm?
2 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.
3 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.
4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!
5 But he was pierced for OUR rebellion,
crushed for OUR sins.
He was beaten so WE (YOU and I) could be whole.
He was whipped so WE could be healed.
6 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.
7 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.
8 Unjustly condemned,
he was led away.
No one cared that he died without descendants,
that his life was cut short in midstream.[c
But he was struck down
for the rebellion of my people.
9 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.
10 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.
11 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.
12 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.
If you read Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, and John 19, you see that every single detail of the prophesy was fulfilled in Jesus’ crucifixion. His death was horrible, and painful, and exposing. Although pictures of the crucifixion always have him wearing a loincloth, the Bible says that he was stripped of his clothes and Roman tradition was to crucify criminals naked. So, we know that our savior, the one who literally gave up everything, including his life; was beaten, abused, and died a brutal death, completely exposed and broken. That is what today is all about…
He did it all so that when we are experiencing brokenness, feeling exposed, abused, in pain, ashamed, sick, stuck, hopeless, in bondage, or anything other than complete wholeness and freedom; we can leave it ALL at the cross with him. Because on the third day… he rose from the dead, insuring that you and I do not have to carry ANY of the things that hurt or weigh us down in this life, but live eternally with him.
This Holy Week has been a beautiful, brutal reminder of the significance of this day and what’s to come on Sunday.
The entire world is unstable, in every possible way. I am reeling from the end of my marriage. I have spent the majority of this Holy Week alone in silence, with the exception of the hours I’ve spent face down on the floor crying out to God. When I couldn’t think of anything else to
yell at talk to God about, I have given thanks for every single thing I can think of. In all the thanksgiving, I remembered that I was not only healed of cancer eleven years ago, but I was also completely healed of all the side effects of radiation that I was told would be life-long. In the process of healing me of cancer, God exposed layers and layers of wounds that were keeping me from living fully in all of His promises, poured out the blood of Jesus on them, and healed my heart and soul. He has healed relationships that had little hope of restoration. He has healed pieces of my children that doctors said we needed to learn to live with. He has NEVER failed to provide for all of my needs. He has given me pure gold in my tribe of people. He equipped me with gifts, and talents, and intuition that have opened doors I could have never opened on my own. He allowed me to see a very large portion of this Earth before world travel became a thing of the past. And, two months away from turning fifty, I still have no gray hair. SO MUCH to be thankful for!
Also, I’ve given a lot of thanks this week for the fact that God has (quite literally) carried me through the most tumultuous storms of my life. In the moments where it was hard to breathe or stand on my own two feet, His love, grace, and strength quite literally carried me through.
As I wait for new life to be breathed into situations that feel a little hopeless and scary, I know that I know that I know that God will be faithful. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. What He has done in the past, He will do again. He heals. He sets captives free. He shines light in the darkness. He exposes evil and eradicates it. He restores. He redeems. He is love. He is grace. He is constant.
So hold on, let go, trust God. We’re all in this broken, painful Good Friday world together.
Sunday is coming.