He Did It For Us
HE DID IT FOR US!
Some years ago, a 14-foot bronze crucifix was stolen from a cemetery in Arkansas. It had stood at the entrance to that cemetery since 1930, and had been valued at the time at $10,000. The thieves apparently cut it off at its base and hauled it off in a pick-up. Then they cut it into small pieces and sold it for scrap.
They figured that the 900-pound cross probably brought about $450. They obviously didn’t realize the value of that cross.
The question I raise tonight is—do WE realize the value of the cross? Do we understand the value of what Jesus did to bring us into a right relationship with God?
Or has Christianity become so comfortable and so familiar that we take it all for granted?
today , we’re going to take a look back at Isaiah 53. We’ll talk about the rejection of Christ, the suffering of Christ, and the value of what he did for us on the cross. Then I’m going to invite you respond to what Jesus did for us on the cross.
The book of Isaiah is all about the plan of God to establish justice and righteousness for everyone, even though we are sinners. And the plan is laid out for us right here in Isaiah 53. In verses one through three, we see the rejection of the Savior. Isaiah says "Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?" In other words, ’I’ve been telling people for years that God loves us and that He’s going to send the Messiah to die for our sins, and no one believes me!”
How many of you have ever tried to tell someone the truth, and they didn’t believe you? It’s very frustrating! Some of you feel just as frustrated as Isaiah. You work with people who are bitter and discouraged. You know deep down that a relationship with God could make things better. And they don’t show any interest! They don’t get it! You feel like throwing up your hands in frustration and saying, "Lord, who has believed our message?"
What do you do in a situation like that? You keep praying! In Romans 10:1, Paul says “My heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they might be saved.” Paul never stopped praying for the people he loved. And we shouldn’t stop praying for the people WE love!
Isaiah goes on to say "who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?" Do you remember the Arm and Hammer baking soda box? Remember the picture of the flexed arm on the front? The arm is supposed to be symbolic of the power of the baking soda. But in the Bible, the arm of the Lord is a symbol of the power of God. Jeremiah 32:17 says that the Lord made the heavens and the earth by His great power and outstretched arm. And Isaiah 51:9-10 says that it was the arm of the Lord that parted the Red Sea and helped the Israelites escape to freedom.
And here in Isaiah 53, Jesus Christ is the arm of the Lord. He’s the one who gives us the power to live a holy life. HE’S the One who gives us the power to overcome the past. HE’S the One who helps us with our problems. And those who reject the message are hurting because they don’t have this kind of power in their lives! Because they reject the message, the arm of the Lord has not been revealed to them.
Another way people reject Christ is by rejecting him based on his appearance. Verse three says, "He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him." In other words, "We’re not going to accept Him as our Messiah because he doesn’t act like the Messiah! He doesn’t dress like royalty. He hangs out with tax collectors and fishermen. He hangs out with common people! The Messiah wouldn’t be doing that! He’d be hanging out with us!"
You know what? The same things the Pharisees hate about Jesus are the very things I love about Jesus! I love it that He hangs out with common people! I love it that He’s approachable and accessible! And I love it that the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords came from a small town like Potter. Praise God that we worship a savior that we can relate to!
Another way people reject Christ is by rejecting his person. Verse three says that "He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not."
They hated him because He wasn’t the kind of Messiah that they wanted him to be. They wanted the Messiah to be a warrior like King David! They wanted a Messiah that would bring peace to the world! But instead, Jesus preached about loving your enemies. He preached about getting right with God. He preached about leaving your material comforts behind to follow Him. And the people didn’t want that kind of a Messiah. They wanted a puppet Messiah who would do what THEY wanted Him to do.
So far, we’ve been talking about the rejection of the Savior. But now as we move on to verses 4-9, we see the suffering of the Savior. The people think that Jesus is dying on the cross because he is being punished by God. But the truth is that Jesus is dying on the cross because He’s taking OUR punishment! Verse five says that "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."
And the awesome thing is that Jesus went through all of that pain for us! Verse six says that the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all! Jesus was punished for every sin you ever made. And every sin you ever thought about. Why? Because God loves you so much that He was willing to sacrifice His only Son to pay the price for your sins!
God’s sacrifice reminds me the story of a man who operated a drawbridge over a bay in a small ocean town. Every day, he would pull the lever up, and the drawbridge would go up, and the boats could go through. Then he would push the lever down and the draw bridge would go down so that the trains could cross over.
Almost every day, his little boy went with him to work. He loved watching his dad raise and lower the bridge. One day, the dad received a message that an unscheduled Amtrak was on its way, and he needed to lower the bridge.
Just as he was about to pull down the lever, he saw his son playing in the huge gears of the bridge next to the shore. He yelled for him, but his son couldn’t hear him because of all the commotion and noise near the water.
The dad was struck with a horrible truth. If he didn’t push down the lever right away, the train would plunge into the sea, and hundreds of passengers would die. But if he lowered the bridge, his son would be killed.
At the last possible second, he made his terrible decision. He raced back to the station. He pulled down the lever. He fell to his knees in agony as his little boy was crushed to death.
With tears streaming down his cheeks, he looked out and saw the train racing safely over the bridge. He could see into the window of one of the dining cars that people were eating, drinking, and laughing. They were completely unaware of the great sacrifice he had made so that they could live.
Many people are unaware of the great sacrifice God made so that WE could live. But we don’t have to be unaware, anymore. Isaiah 53:10 says that “It was God’s will for Him to pay the price for our sins.
Before we take communion on this Holy Thursday night, I want you to think about how much God has sacrificed for you. My prayer for you tonight is the same one Paul prays in Ephesians 3:17: “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge.”
Your problem is not that you don’t love God enough. It’s that you don’t understand how much He loves you! If you could grasp just a little bit of how much God loves you, you’d surrender every area of your life to Him! If we were the only people on earth, God would still send Jesus to die for us! If we were the only passengers on that unscheduled train, God would still lower the drawbridge at the expense of His child – to bridge the gap between us and Him. He loves you THAT much
All I want you to do tonight is to say “Thank You, God! I love you too! Thank you for paying the price for my sins.” Let’s pray together.