Isaiah 53 — He Was Wounded for Our Transgressions
Thoughts about serving others
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One Reply to “Jun 4 — Isaiah 53”
Here we come to one of the most quoted passages in Isaiah, one I can remember reading for the Christmas program as a teenager, “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain…” (Isaiah 53:3). This was part of our Christmas program at Aldersgate just a few short years ago. Several parts of this chapter are presented in the Gospel accounts as well as other places in the New Testament. Apparently, we should pay attention to Isaiah 53!
I’ll focus on one verse: 53:6, “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.” This verse is the text of Handel’s Messiah #26, “All We Like Sheep” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmeyG5LlFWU). I remember learning this challenging piece as part of a choral production where we performed the entire work of Handel. The link to the performance provides Handel’s interpretation of this verse. The beginning is playful and provides of cacophony of sounds that seem disparate, even random, until 2 minutes, 44 seconds where the piece suddenly comes together and changes from the first part of the verse to the second, “and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
Suddenly, the playful piece moves from a jovial chorus to a surreal and very serious theme. This is the nature of our battle to help others find Christ. We, like sheep, are bouncing around doing our own thing, happy and content, having fun until the reality of life catches up with us and we are faced with a decision: will we continue on our own self-centered path or will we recognize that God sent Christ to atone for our sins? Have we come to the place that we recognize we need a shepherd?
When we lived in England I learned an alarming fact: sheep are not very intelligent. They will literally walk into a stream and drown themselves because they are not smart enough to turn around. Sheep get lost, they wander, because they are senseless. This alarmed me because Jesus (and Isaiah, etc.) like to compare us to sheep. They knew sheep a lot better than this city-raised boy understands animals. So “we all, like sheep,” really? We are so ignorant that we would just wander off? Yes. We are all like sheep. *sigh*
The Good News is this: God knows we are like sheep and he sent his son, the Good Shepherd to draw us back. Praise be to the Lord Almighty for his amazing grace!