Sermon to be preached on Good Friday, April 19th, 2019, 7 p.m.

 

The Lessons: Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12; St. John 18:1 – 19:42

The Text: Isaiah 53:3-5

The Topic: The Lord Jesus Christ on the cross bore our griefs and carried our sorrows.

INTRODUCTION

Sometimes we do not see a connection between one Christian tradition and another.

Pete Winn told the story of how he went to the post office just prior to Christmas:

After helping me, the pleasant postal clerk uttered what is surely her standard line: “Is there anything else I can do for you?”

I quipped, “Can you help me pay for Christmas?”

Without missing beat, she replied, “He has already paid for it.”

I was stunned. Pleased, surprised, a tad embarrassed, but most of all stunned….A simple phrase had put everything in perspective.

– Pete Winn, “Citizen Link Update”

(December 24, 2003) [1]

Suddenly, the connection between Good Friday and Christmas had become clear, and the value of Christ’s redeeming death on the cross even during the commercialism of Christmas as celebrated in the twentieth century had become more prominent. To the cross we now turn our attention.

The word of the Lord through the prophet Isaiah predicting the Passion of the Lord Jesus Christ is amazing both in its entirety and in its details. One of the most poignant but telling aspects of Isaiah’s prophecy of the Passion, is his description of the Christ as “despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid, as it were, our faces from him; he was despised and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3). Not only did the Lord feel the rejection of the world during his Passion, but also he felt that God had abandoned him, as the opening verse of Psalm 22 seems to indicate, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me…? (Psalm 22:1). In all the Passion narratives, we see Jesus despised and rejected by Jewish religious leaders, the Roman Governor, Roman soldiers, and the crowds that mocked him while he hung on the cross. Speaking for Israel and for all nations, Isaiah lamented that we hid our faces from him and had no respect for him.

Why was this so? Many people came to one of two conclusions: first, how could a genuine Messiah be executed as a common criminal? How could God even have allowed that? Second, since he hung on a cross, he must have been cursed and rejected by God anyway and under the curse of the Law.

THE TRUTH OF CHRIST’S AFFLICTION: SUFFERING TO REDEEM THE WORLD

The second half of Isaiah 53:4 affirms that the people of the world continued to hold to this deficient and merely human perspective on the Passion – that God smote and afflicted Christ, whereas the first half of the same verse declares that he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. In verse 5 this truth is further explained, that he was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, and the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed. Now the fact that these few verses are quoted in various places in the New Testament ought to impress on us how significantly they contributed to the Church’s understanding and appreciation of Christ’s atoning death on the cross.

Whereas it appeared to many that the Lord Jesus’ crucifixion was a sign of rejection, the truth is rather that the Lord Jesus Christ’s Passion had the redemptive purpose of atoning for mankind’s sin and reconciling them to God, so that in effect Jesus Christ bore the sins of the whole world on the cross. The effect of this was to bring forgiveness of sins and healing to all who turn from their sins and come to him in faith. Instead of going our own way, and abandoning God’s way of life, all who have believed in Christ have turned from their way back to God’s way of life. In bearing our sins on the cross, Christ has delivered us from the burden of their guilt, and set us free to live a whole new way of life in him.

APPLICATION

As a result of the cross, how has your life changed?



[1] p. 373, 750 Engaging Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers and Writers , from Craig Larson and Leadership Journal. Baker Books, 2002, 2nd Printing, 2008.

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