An Unlikely Hero | Isaiah 53

Welcome to Real Life. What does strength look like?

Those who give much
without sacrifice
are reckoned as having given little.
–Erwin Lutzer

“Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” Isaiah asks. Because the Word from God he’s about to deliver is not an easy one to believe. In Isaiah’s day, Jerusalem was surrounded by enemies and facing annihilation. God’s people were seeking a political messiah to swoop in and rescue them. Instead, God would send an unlikely hero. Not someone to save them in the moment, but the One who could save their souls for all eternity.

Who would God send? Not a Samson, but a man of sorrows, despised and rejected. It was our pain and punishment he bore.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
Seven hundred year after Isaiah's prophecy, the arm of the Lord—his strength in reaching, rescuing, saving us—is revealed. It begins in Gethsemane. In anticipation of all he is about to suffer, Jesus Christ prays with an intensity that mingles sweat and blood. He is betrayed by a friend with a kiss. He is arrested by an angry mob. The Son of God is scourged, punched, whipped, mocked, and crowned with thorns. Bloody and bruised, he is forced to drag a wooden beam through the crowded streets of Jerusalem and up Golgotha’s hill. Nails pierce his hands and feet. He is crucified between two criminals.


 
This is God’s power? The arm of the Lord is revealed in pain and tears and blood? Yes. For on this horrible Good Friday, with his final breath, Jesus declares, “It is finished!” And the earth quakes.

It is finished. Our God is just. His justice demands a punishment for wrongs committed. The mountain of debt we have accrued from Adam’s rebellion through millennia of selfishness, immorality, and violence to the curse we uttered this morning has been paid in full with his blood. It is finished. The justice God required; he himself provided. The One who created us[1]  suffered to save us. 
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
From the cross, the arm of the Lord reaches down to rescue you and me. Good Friday, however, is not the end. Sunday is coming! This, too, Isaiah prophesied.
After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied.
Jesus Christ arose! "I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! I hold the keys of death and Hades," Jesus tells the Apostle John on the Isle of Patmos.[2] The arm of the Lord conquered sin, death, and the grave to free us from sin, death, and the grave. This unlikely hero saves us to the core of our being. Only he who paid our debt can offer to forgive us, wash the darkness, filth, and shame from our souls, and raise up beauty from our ashes. Only the source of love can heal us with his love. Nothing is impossible for him. This unlikely hero has transformed the cross—an instrument of cruel torture—into the universal symbol of faith, hope, and love. This is the arm of the Lord! 

“Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” Isaiah asks. I believe. Do you?

Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank you for suffering for me.
Please forgive me for the horrible things I have done.
Wash me, cleanse me with your blood.
Come into my heart and save my soul.
I love you, Lord Jesus.
I want to live for you.
You are my hero! 
Amen. 


Take it further…
  • Jesus Christ is alive! Talk to someone about beginning a personal relationship with Jesus Christ at Need Him

  • In addition to Isaiah's prophecies, Jesus Christ’s life and ministry, death and resurrection, fulfilled hundreds of Old Testament prophecies. Learn more at Got Questions

  • Read the prophetic words God spoke through Isaiah seven hundred years before Jesus Christ was born:

Isaiah 53
Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our 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 its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.
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 an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
(NIV)




[1] John 1:1-3
[2] Revelation 1:18
Cross image by Free Bible Images.

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