The Cause of All the Black Sheep

Isaiah is a book in the old testament.  Isaiah was a prophet, or “special messenger,” from God who spoke on behalf of the Lord to His people.  His writings are dated 600-700 years before the birth of Jesus.  The following is Isaiah 52:13-15 and the entire 53rd chapter (the message). I promise if you have never read it before you will be truly amazed, and I pray touched, by God’s power…that these verses were written about Jesus and His sacrifice centuries before He was ever born…God’s plan of redemption from the foundation of the earth…all for Love.

Just watch my servant blossom!
Exalted, tall, head and shoulders above the crowd!
But he didn’t begin that way.
At first everyone was appalled.
He didn’t even look human–
a ruined face, disfigured past recognition.
Nations all over the world will be in awe, taken aback,
kings shocked into silence when they see him.
For what was unheard of they’ll see with their own eyes,
what was unthinkable they’ll have right before them.

Who believes what we’ve heard and seen?
Who would have thought God’s saving power would look like this?
The servant grew up before God–a scrawny seedling,
a scrubby plant in a parched field.
There was nothing attractive about him,
nothing to cause us to take a second look.
He was looked down on and passed over,
a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.
One look at him and people turned away.
We looked down on him, thought he was scum.
But the fact is, it was our pains he carried–
our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.
We thought he brought it on himself,
that God was punishing him for his own failures.
But it was our sins that did that to him,
that ripped and tore and crushed him–our sins!
He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
Through his bruises we get healed.
We’re all like sheep who have wondered off and gotten lost.
We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way.
And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong,
on him, on him.
He was beaten, he was tortured,
but he didn’t say a word.
Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered
and like a sheep being sheared,
he took it all in silence.
Justice miscarried, and he was led off–
and did anyone really know what was happening?
He died without a thought for his own welfare,
beaten bloody for the sins of my people.
They buried him with the wicked,
threw him in a grave with a rich man,
Even though he’d never hurt a soul
or said one word that wasn’t true.
Still, it’s what God had in mind all along,
to crush him with pain.
The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin
so that he’d see life come from it–life, life and more life.
And God’s plan will deeply prosper through him.
Out of that terrible travail of soul,
he’ll see that it’s worth it and be glad he did it.
Through what he experienced, my righteous one, my servant,
will make many “righteous ones,”
as he himself carries the burden of their sins.
Therefore I’ll reward him extravagantly–
the best of everything, the highest honors–
Because he looked death in the face and didn’t flinch,
because he embraced the company of the lowest.
He took on his shoulders the sin of many,
he took up the cause of all the black sheep.

If you find yourself reading these verses and feel a tug on your heart…a deep longing…a speeding heart…that is Jesus tapping on the door of your heart.  He may be whispering…”See, I chose to do this because I love you.  Won’t you let me into your life?”  The debt you owe to God for your sin was carried out on God Himself in the flesh of a man, Jesus…there is nothing you can do to improve on that or ever earn it.  If you long for the peace of God in your life, wherever you are…your living room, your office, enjoying the sunshine…tell Him.  Tell Him you believe Him, ask Him to forgive you for the sins and wrong choices you have made, give Him permission to take up residence in your heart and ask Him for the strength to follow Him.  In a very simple conversation with your Creator, you can be “born again” as Jesus describes it in the Bible…this just means your spirit (the core of who you are) will come alive in a very real friendship with God.  He loves you extravagantly…

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