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 not beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed ad afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
And who can speak of his descendants?
For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of my people he was stricken.
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 a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
After the suffering of his soul, 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.
For he bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors.
Isaiah 53 (NIV)
Oh glorious day! This account in Isaiah was written almost seven hundred years before Christ’s death and resurrection. And yet it is told with great accuracy. How amazing is God? Very amazing indeed.
Today, as we celebrate the resurrection of Christ we must not forget His motive–love! Yes, because He loved us He set aside His deity and took our sins. Making intercession for us, He suffered the death that should have been ours and because of His righteousness the grave could not hold Him.
I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death.
Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?
Hosea 13:14 (NIV)
Check out the meaning for the word grave she’owl in Strong’s Concordance:
-place of no return
-without praise of God
The King James Version says, “O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction”
Yes, Jesus Christ suffered for us. He conquered death for us. He did this because His father God loved the world. He did this to honor His father’s will. He did this because He loved us, too. He did this so that whoever believes in Him, and the power of His death and Resurrection, would not perish but have everlasting life.
Folks, as we dress in our Easter best and attend our family gatherings I want you to take something into consideration–God loved us, He loves us. Jesus loves us.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8 (NIV)
That took a huge unselfish act of love and forgiveness. A lot of forgiveness. So, as we celebrate His glorious Resurrection and His motives for doing so, let’s try to be imitators of Christ. Love unconditionally and forgive those who’ve transgressed against us. For God’s word is clear in Matthew 6:14-15 that if we forgive men, He will forgive us, but if we don’t forgive men their sins, He won’t forgive ours.