God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21/niv).
In Christ, God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so that we could be put right with God (2 Corinthians 5:21/message).
Jesus Christ, You bled Your love, laid down Yourself, And gave me life. In naked shame You hung and You were lifted high. Here I lay in awe and wonder. I am afraid. For no one’s ever sacrificed and loved me this way. So on my face I fall under Your heavy grace. Here I lay in awe and wonder, And I wonder. (Leeland)
Maybe like you’d kind-of-expect on Good Friday, my meditations are beginning with Jesus.
(Pause. Think. Thank.)
(Pause. Remember. Never forget.)
And you know, this morning, as I'm reading and praying, I'm not only thankful for His death, (although I am forever and ever thankful), but also for His life.
Not only thankful for the sacrifice of His cross, but also the way in which He put on flesh forever, out of this incredble-and-I-don’t-really-understand-it love for His exiled bride.
Because His sacrifice wasn’t just His death, and the apparent injustice of a completely sinless man, dying for the many crimes of a depraved humanity. His sacrifice wasn’t just demonstrated when the Father turned His face away in a heartbreaking cry that tore the fabric of the Trinity for the only time in eternity and rocked the very cosmos. This is central.
Jesus drank a cup of wrath with my name of it, and only His death declares me innocent in the courts of Heaven.
But His sacrifice was also shown in the very way that the fullness of the Deity, clothed Himself in human form and became a man. When, for the sake of love, Jesus left His Father’s throne, searching out His bride and the desire of His heart. Searching for us. Despite our sin, and our rebellion, and our adultery. He was searching for His bride. Making the way for us to be with Him.
And He put on flesh forever. He still bears the marks in His hands and the wound in His side. And they will speak of His love and mercy for us. Forever. And ever.
Jesus made Himself equal with humanity in order the identify with the lowest. He was friends with the lost and the sinful and the abandoned. He hung out with the poor. He healed the sick. He challenged the religious. He socialised with outcast women, and tax collectors, and He loved children and restored sinners.
And after He had lived a perfect, blameless life and been rejected by those He came to save, He was crucified. His cross found in the place of the outcast, at a rubbish heap out of the city.
The Great Rescue.
These last two weeks, Isaiah 53 has dropped back into my heart with a weight of realisation.
Because Isaiah 53 described Jesus prophetically.
The suffering servant. He who had no stately majesty or appearance to attract us to Him. He who was despised and forsaken of men. A man of sorrows who we knew not. He who carried our griefs. Who carried our sorrows. Who was pierced for our transgressions. For my transgressions. He who was bruised and crushed for me. He who did no violence. He in whom there was no deceit. He who took the inquity of the world upon Himself and bore it willingly in love. He who drank the cup of wrath with my name of it. And He who rose, and who lives to make intercession for us. Our merciful, faithful High Priest.
And my thankful, humbled thoughts and ruined heart again land here this morning.
Although verse 2 of this chapter says that Jesus had nothing in His physical appearance to attract or draw us to Him, I can’t help but think that this passage describes a God so magnificently beautiful in more ways than my heart and spirit can even comprehend. A perfect man, who would take my imperfection? A holy God, who would bear the consequences of my sin and rebellion in His own flesh? A God who saw that I deserved nothing but hell, but who chose to bestow on me mercy unending? As the song sings, ‘Oh the beauty of this man’.
The innocence of Jesus has struck me again. He was despised and forsaken and rejected. He was oppressed and afflicted. He was beaten and bruised and condemned. He was murdered. But yet he was totally innocent. When I am slandered or spoken about or rejected, I am not innocent. Not really. None of us are. We are at our core sinners in need of a Saviour. Redeemed to be lovers of God, but still battling with our flesh.
But not Jesus.
Perfect, spotless, sinless, Jesus.
He deserved none of what was given Him. None of what He chose to bear. I can’t imagine the physical pain he bore in His body, but I definately can’t come close to imagining the heartbreak of facing the rejection and slander and accusation of those He loved enough to die for. That walk to the cross. Knowing even the Father turn His face away.
And choosing it in love.
Which leads me onto my final reflection.
The meekness of Jesus.
The meekness of Isaiah 53.
Being meek is a choice. It’s not weakness. It’s strength under control. It’s Jesus. It’s Jesus, not opening His mouth in the face of accusation, when He holds the wisdom of the ages inside of Him. It’s Jesus, allowing them to take Him away when He held the strength of the God-head inside. It’s Jesus, nailed to a cross for the sin of the world when He could have called legions of angels to His rescue.
It’s Jesus. Perfect in meekness. Perfect in beauty. Perfect in Isaiah 53. And the absolute meditation of my heart today.
That's where the flood that washes our sin away gets really, really real.
I was reading an article recently that had this phrase that hit me hard in the spiritual-gut.
Jesus' hands displayed the ultimate sacrifice – how do mine? Jesus let's His hands be the bridge between God's generosity and people's scarcity.
It's not a holding on, it's a letting go, that brings hope.
Opening my hands wide to display the generosity of God.
Not just a grace that we grip onto personally and have to keep inside of us, but an overflowing and an outpouring type of grace that is a boundless ocean of His love. That we open our hands and open our mouths and open our hearts and risk everything on this journey of love.
And when I look past Isaiah 53, I remember that He’s the Lion as well as the Lamb. And that resurrection always follows.
It's a Good Friday people.