Piercing . . . but Forgiven

Don’t worry, I haven’t taken up “Body Art.”

Recently, our church did the “Disciple’s Path” small group study. In it, the author describes a bible study method he called the “S.O.A.P.Y” method (you’ll see what the letters stand for below). I’ve been doing it lately. It helps. You should try it!

I get a “Verse of the Day” e-mail every morning from Bible Gateway. A few days ago it was Isaiah 53:5-6:

He was pierced because of our rebellions
    and crushed because of our crimes.
    He bore the punishment that made us whole;
    by his wounds we are healed.
Like sheep we had all wandered away,
    each going its own way,
    but the Lord let fall on him all our crimes.

Here we go . . .

Scripture: (at this point, I usually put the passage in my own words) Jesus was pierced because of our rebellions and crushed because of our crimes. Because of those wounds – that we gave him – we are healed. We were wandering sheep whose crimes were all thrown on Jesus.

Observation: (this is where I write down what I think the passage means – it can get wordy!) Traditionally, folks have thought Isaiah was talking about Jesus. He was writing about a “Suffering Servant” to come, and Jesus certainly fills most of those requirements. A lot of things, especially these verses, sound like something Jesus will experience on the cross.

To be honest, I’ve always been bothered by the way most Christians explain how the cross “works” in our salvation. They say something like “Jesus took the punishment for our sins,” or “God had to have a perfect sacrifice to atone for our sins.” I will refer you to a smarter man than I, a better writer, Steve West. Read his post about it. But, what if . . .

What if, considering the Trinity, it was God himself on the cross, allowing himself to bruised and broken by our iniquity, withholding his righteous anger and justice, all to prove he still loves us in spite of our sin? Maybe?

What if, Jesus, after struggling to fully accept his call to be the Messiah, decided at his baptism to go “all in,” and be who God (his “Daddy”) wanted him to be? Along the way, he began to realize that the message that came with that call, the “Good News” of the Kingdom of God, was not received well. Because of humanity’s sin, those in power began to collude to silence him. He couldn’t stop because he had to fulfill God’s purpose. Our sin, our desire to “shut him up,” our inability to tolerate the pure love of God, our refusal to hand over control of our lives to God, lead us to crucify Jesus! Our sin pierced him. Our sin crushed him. Our sin killed him.

Jesus could have backed out, I guess. Told Pilate he was sorry and wouldn’t disturb Rome anymore and gone home. But he didn’t because he had to carry out God’s message no matter the consequences.

Then, in the Resurrection, God showed us how much he loved us. He took all that we could dish out and still came back and loved us. That love is so powerful it still lives today!

Application: Sometimes, we have to take all the world can dish out, and, in God’s love and power, keep standing! We just keep following God’s plan, like Jesus did.

Prayer: Lord, forgive my killing desire to shut you up and shut you out of my life. Forgive my laziness and cowardice. Help me to stand strong and love like you loved!

Yield: I have to yield my fear of standing up and proclaiming the Good news no matter the consequences.

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