THE SERVANT IN SUBMISSION

Last time we looked at the third of five stanzas in this amazing writing produced long centuries ago  with an vision for many centuries to come. Come with me now and think about this forth stanza beginning at Isaiah 53:7 for three more heavily significant verses.

Pay attention to Isaiah the prophet!  What is here for us to get excited about?

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. Isa 53:7

No protest, no defence. Complete vulnerability. No rescue from above. No lamb resists shearing, no bleating even when cut and bruised. Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?”  But Jesus remained silent. (Mat 26:63)

The writer of the Gospel of John tells how it will play out on the charged lips of the immerser prophet indicating to the troubled crowds: “Look, there’s the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) the Jews understood the significance of the slain lamb. They lived with the ritual of temple sacrifices continually. They remembered the great deliverance in the Exodus story with the blood of the lamb on their dwellings as the sign of their obedience to the word of God on that dreadful night.

Do you not see the details, the way it all fits with the drama played out at the hands of the enraged blinded religious Jews in cahoots with their hated Roman oppressors.

Anything but Jesus’ way, his kindness, his intimacy with the Almighty! Anyone but this man and his so-called kingdom!

Amazingly, insanely, exclaiming, shouting to Governor Pontius Pilate we have no king but Caesar!

From arrest and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? 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. Isa 53:8

Five unfair, unprofessional, hurried, frantic, illegal trials in the night, with trumped up charges, twisted testimony, lies and half-truths, desperation to do away with the very best of human beings. Get rid of him at all costs. Yes, even risking the astronomically terrible cost of judgment for murder of the Son of God.
Who gave a protest, who cared?  Disciples ran in fear, despair. Peter’s awful denial. Left alone with his tormentors. There was no man to have pity on him. Truly, he was in the world and the world was made through him yet the world did not know him. This, even as the world of human beings whom he loved, despised and rejected him. He came to his own people and they did not receive him.

There were no followers. No offspring offered any help. All deserted him bar a few of the women.

O intolerable day, the Lord of life cut off from the land of the living.

Yet also the greatest of days : for the transgression of my people he was punished. My people!

Do you get it? My people. It was for God’s people! He was the Lamb of God. beloved of God yet punished for God’s own people. Think how much we are valued, cherished, loved. Here is love, not that we loved him, but he loved us.

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. Isa 53:9

Taken down, carried into a nearby place of the dead. Placed into a rock-cut tomb. Stone dead, the Lord of Life. Note that in our ancient text, penned 400 years before what it was describing, the word wicked is plural and rich is singular. Here is a very, very precise text! For there were two thieves, and one rich man, Joseph.  That is extraordinary. We can trust this text.

As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him.   Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,  and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. Mt 27:57-59.

No sinner here. No conviction, all of history will agree. Pilate on edge finding no fault but bowing to crowd pressure and political expediency.  Pilate’s wife’s dream unnerving her, warning him to have nothing to do with that just man.  The cry of the executed thief and the conclusion of the executioner, the Roman Centurion : this man has to be the Son of God.

1 Pet 2:21f.  …… because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” 

Here is the great challenge. To live as he did. To follow in his steps. To do as he did.

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