April 3 I Saturday
“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 53:12
Some of us may wonder: Why did Jesus have to die such a cruel death? Beneath everything that transpired, there was a more profound story going on than any of the players in the story ever knew––something not even the Sanhedrin, Pilate or the disciples realized.
Centuries before the birth of Jesus, the prophet Isaiah writes, “Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer, and though the LORD makes His life an offering for sin....” What happened to Jesus was part of God’s plans, but the prophecy did not end there. Isaiah continues, “He will see His offspring and prolong His days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in His hand” (Isaiah 53:10). The latter part does not conclude at Jesus’s death but makes reference to Jesus’s resurrection and what He accomplished through His death.
At the surface, the cross may have satisfied the unjust wrath of the Sanhedrin in its historical setting. But at the core, the cross satisfied the just wrath of a holy God on sin. Jesus was without sin, but He took our sins upon Him as a substitute to face the wrath of God on behalf of us. Isaiah 53:4-5 tells us, “Surely He took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered Him punished by God, stricken by Him, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” Did we notice the amount of first-person plural pronouns in the passage? Jesus’s crucifixion was not about Himself, but about us: our pain, our suffering, our transgression and our iniquities. It is through Jesus that we find peace and through His wounds that we are healed and made whole again.
This week in history changed the world, not because it was the worst miscarriage of justice, as there had been many other miscarriages of justice in history; rather, Jesus did what no other man or woman in history could ever do and as a result, He made it possible again for men and women to be reconciled to God. As the old hymn goes, “There was no other good enough to pay the price of sin. He only could unlock the gate of heaven and let us in.”
Because of the sin of the first Adam, we are barred from the gates of heaven, but the second Adam––Christ––opened the gates of heaven. We can be forgiven, not because we deserve it, but because Christ paid it all.
Prayer: Gracious Lord Jesus Christ, thank You for paying the price for me to be reconciled to God. I am eternally grateful for the forgiveness that You bestowed on me. Amen!