We all, Like Sheep
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. 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. Isaiah 53:3-6
Most of us are familiar with the last part of this passage: “We all, like sheep, have gone astray…” Many of us have even memorized the final verse, but have you ever taken the time to consider its context? The children of Israel in Isaiah’s day were living in captivity because of their sin. Idolatry was rampant. God had even called them a sinful nation, loaded with a burden of guilt (Isaiah 1:4). In essence, they were an evil and corrupt people who had turned away and despised the Holy One of Israel. They had cut themselves off from His help.
In this prophecy, however, Isaiah foretells salvation for His wayward children. He offers them hope through His Son Jesus Christ, the lasting hope that only God can provide. These verses tell us that Jesus took on our sin and our punishment as well as that of the Israelites and all mankind. He did it without complaining, grumbling and without hesitation. And He did this all while we had our backs turned on Him. As Isaiah’s words proclaim, the people did not care about the promised Messiah, neither the Israelites, the Jewish people of Jesus’ day, nor many today. We who know Him, however, should consider all he has done for us.
Jesus gave, so we can receive. He was beaten, so we can have peace. He was whipped, so we can be healed. He was despised, treated harshly and suffered greatly, so we can accept forgiveness. He died. Therefore, we gain abundant eternal life.
At the time, the people did not realize that He was doing all this for them. What about us today? Do we care that Jesus suffered and received our punishment on the cross? Do we realize all He did for us on a daily basis? He, who did no wrong, who never deceived anyone, who lived a perfect sinless life, took on Himself all our sin, all our wrongdoings and all our deceptiveness. What wide shoulders Jesus has, and what a tremendous display of love!
Today’s Prayer: Lord, forgive me for all my sin heaped on You on the cross. Wash me so I will be clean and pure in Your eyes. Help me be one who carries the Good News, Your message of hope to the world today. Let Your love flow through me to a lost and dying world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.