How do you view Jesus?
Today, Good Friday, as I read through Isaiah 53, my view of Jesus became clearer than ever before. (I love the way that happens!) Many verses in this chapter of Isaiah, I know by heart, but had I really heard the message? As a Christian, I know Him as a gracious loving God who extends mercy and grace to his children. Jesus stood in our place, taking on our sins all while enduring excruciating pain as the Roman soldiers drove nails into His hands and feet.
As I watch the news, I am befuddled and angered by the many accounts of people pushing anything to do with God from schools, from public signage, and from their lives. We’re living in an age of declining Christianity. Or are we?
Isaiah states that Christ had been “despised and rejected by men.” (v. 3) Even then, when Jesus walked this earth, people snubbed Him. The passage states they actually hid their faces from him. Can you imagine passing people in town, greeting them with a smile, only to have them turn their heads and shun you? I can’t.
“He was a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.” (v. 3) This verse can be applied to the crucifixion, but it goes on to explain that the people of the day “considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.” They pushed Him and the life He offered away. And to sooth their conscience, they treated Him like a castoff from God.
But did Jesus complain? Did he lash out at those that beat him and nailed him to the cross? No. He took on the sins of everyone past and present. As He hung on that wooden cross, He watched his accusers, the sheep that had gone astray, the people that had ignored His message, the same ones that treated Him with distain and mocked Him. As part of the Godhead, He knew the future. He knew they would bury Him with the wicked, He knew how they’d turn from Him even now. But did it stop Him from doing what God asked of Him?
Why? Because He loved us with a love greater than any one of us can fathom. So great that, “He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (v. 12) He prayed for those people two thousand years ago and He is praying for those who turn their backs on him now.
He prays for you. Today. Every day.
Are you going to shun Him like his peers did? Or walk into His embrace?