Is 53:4-7 –A Man Sent for You
It takes a while to get used to it and I certainly wonder how I will one day react when the falls are greater and the damage worse. Now though, I can’t help but to just take it all in. That’s how it is for me as I watch my son walk sometimes carefully, sometimes like a careless madman, around the house. So, it is that, from time to time, as he continues to become more acquainted with his feet and his balance, I hear the all to familiar sound of a little body tripping and falling to the floor. Sometimes it’s a headfirst dive, as he barely catches himself with his hands, other times it’s a slow-motion sit, and I realize now why God, in his wisdom, fashioned our posteriors in the way he did. Yet, even as I take in these moments, I still react. I might tell my child on the ground whose lip is starting to quiver, “That it’s okay, you’re fine.” Or, as the tears begin to flow, and I know he needs to be held, I’ll quickly go over and pick him up to comfort and console. It’s in that interaction between a fallen child and his or her parent or guardian that we glimpse a deeper relationship, that of us and our heavenly Father.
In the words that I will soon read, the prophet Isaiah shares with us how our Father reacted to his fallen creation. First, he saw. He saw each of us, you and me, and we were far from him. We had gone astray. We had each turned our own way. We had fallen face first, conceived and born into a world wrecked with sin. And by nature that life filled with sin, filled with failure, filled with guilt, was all that we could reach out to. Had we been left that way, left in sin, we would’ve only been able to grasp things that gave no true hope: our works, our pride, our reason, and we, each of us, would’ve been lost forever. This is what our Father saw. This is how he found us, but this isn’t how he left us. He picked us up.
God picked us up in a way we could never imagine. He sent a man, his own Son, to find us. Tonight, we will look at this man. We will discover why we need him, and we will hear what makes him so unique. So, let’s look at him, together. What do we see? We see a man beaten. We see a man bent over, carrying our sorrows; crushed underneath our sins. He doesn’t seem very impressive. He doesn’t appear strong, but this was the man God sent. This was the man God used to pick us up as we sat lost in our own sin. And that man, he did not fight the punishment he was afflicted with. He didn’t beg for mercy or run and hide. His mouth remained shut because he saw you, fallen. He saw you, lost. He saw us, and with love reached out and spread his arms on a cross to bring us peace…to save us. Do you see that man? His name is Jesus. He is your Savior. Let us listen to the prophet Isaiah’s description of him.
Isaiah chapter 53 verses 4-7.
Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.
5 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.
6 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.
7 He was oppressed and 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.
He 2:10-18 – A Man who fulfilled your need
Young children, infants, can at times struggle to articulate to an adult or a parent what they need. Sometimes they are not sure what they need, they just know they need something. Sometimes they know exactly what they need but they are too young to speak their need. And then there are the times when they just don’t know they have a need at all until someone or something supplied what they were lacking.
It’s interesting that often the parents, after spending time around their children, can quickly understand and supply the needs that those children have. For instance, I once listened to my young niece, barely two, speak utter gibberish then I watched in amazement as her mother knowingly gave her the exact item off the counter that she was asking for, and she went away happy that her need was fulfilled. Only someone who lived and heard that gibberish everyday could understand what was needed at that moment of time. Which is why our Father in heaven sent his Son to walk among us, because he knew what we needed.
God our Father looked at us and saw flesh and blood. We are all frail things. We go through life and each day brings with it new sufferings and new hardships. We face temptation and doubt and are often left to question and wonder, as our lives seem beyond our control, if God has any concern for us at all until, until eventually, we die. We are slaves to an end that we cannot avoid. That is our lot, that is our life, or so many might think. Yet, as God looks on our miserable state, our fragile human lives, he sees the true need. That need is something we could have never guessed. We needed someone just like us.
We needed someone who could share in our humanity. We needed someone who could walk on this earth, someone who knew what temptation was like, who knew what it meant to suffer. We needed someone who could die. We needed Jesus. Jesus was made in every way like us, human in every way, but he had one difference: God sent his Son to be for us what we could never be…perfect. He never sinned, not once. Had he sinned he could have never fulfilled our greatest need. He could have never been our Savior. Yet, that is what he is, your Savior.
Jesus came to this earth. He walked among us. He made us members of his family – he calls us his brothers and sisters! He died a human death that set us free from the fear of death, from a very real hell. He is our priest who sacrificed himself to take away our greatest need, to make us at one with our God. And now he is with us every day ready to supply all our other needs, ready to help us at a moment’s notice. Why? Because he loves us. He loves you. And his love is all we need let us then never take it for granted and let us grow in the knowledge of him who offered himself for us. The writer to the Hebrews speaks of our need and God’s Son who fulfilled that need.
A lesson from Hebrews chapter 2.
In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. 12 He says,
“I will declare your name to my brothers;
in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises.”
13 And again,
“I will put my trust in him.”
And again he says,
“Here am I, and the children God has given me.”
14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
John 1:29-34 – A Man who took away the sin of the world
Have you ever looked at a child and wondered what their future holds? What will the world be like when they grow up? How will it be different? How will it be the same? Who will he be? What will she accomplish? What will be unique about this specific child? For a number of summers when I was younger, I worked for a member of my Father’s church as a carpenter’s apprentice. His wife used to be my babysitter and on more than one occasion found it amusing that a little baby whose diapers she once changed was now older and working for her husband.
We can be amused, we can marvel, at all the unique ways a child or infant will change as they get older, and we can wonder how their lives will impact the world, but have you ever heard of a child who grew up to be a Savior? That’s an interesting thought, don’t you think? How many millions and billions of people have been born on this earth? And how many of those millions and billions grew up to save him or herself from sin and death? How many grew up to save someone else from that same fate? I’ve only heard of one. We look at him tonight.
He’s walking towards a relative, John the Baptist, and we hear John’s description of him, “Look, the Lamb of God. This man was unique – one of a kind. He wasn’t just a man, he was also true God. This is what set him apart, what made him different. Tonight, he has been revealed to you. Tonight, we see that man, God’s only son, and we marvel at him, that he lived a perfect life that we could not, that he died a perfect death and it wasn’t done in vain. This the lamb whose sacrifice was foretold. This is the Son of God born for one purpose – to do what millions before him and billions after him could not do –born to take away the sin of the world. Born to save you.
Now, by Jesus’ birth, each of us is unique. Through his sacrifice, our great high priest, has bestowed upon us the same title that he bears, “Child of God.” We have been marked by the Holy Spirit through baptism, that washing of water with the Word, and we now wait with bated breath for our Savior knowing that the man whom we looked at tonight is one day coming to take us home with him forever. Let us glimpse our Savior Jesus one last time. Let us look and rejoice as we read about him and let us testify to the world that this man, Jesus is the Son of God!
A lesson from John chapter 1.
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”
32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.”