The divine plan of redemption reveals the magnitude of God’s love for his creation, particularly the human race.  Who but God, knowing all that is to be known concerning all things, never surprised as to what occurs with its implications and ramifications, would proceed to create the first man, form the first woman from man, and place them in perfect environment.  What love and grace He revealed from the beginning of time.  The prophet Isaiah presents to the nation Israel a vivid picture of God’s wondrous love and faithfulness.  Seeing prophetically both the First and Second Advents of Christ as one whole, he sadly proclaimed… “Who has believed our message?  And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed” (Is. 53:1 NASB)?  Both the glories and sorrows of the Servant of God had been preached but God’s message to Israel through the prophet had fallen on deaf ears due to their unbelief.   Acceptable to the people was that portion of prophecy that dealt with Messiah as ruler over the nation.  But before He could rule, He must suffer at the hands of the people for the sins of the people.  God’s solution to man’s alienation from Him must be addressed first.  Thus Isaiah wrote of God coming as a man to resolve the sin issue inherent in all men so that relationship with God could be restored. The God-Man, totally unique in His essence would appear before others as an ordinary person.  In today’s world, His birth would have made no headlines.  Not even his roots would be recognizable for the line of David had long disappeared.  “For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him” (Is. 53:2 NASB). That was all part of the divine plan for Messiah to be accepted on the basis of faith and not royal pomp.  As the God-Man He would reveal Himself as the Suffering Servant, demonstrating obedience to the Father’s Plan and becoming the sacrificial substitute for the sins of the entire world.  By one sacrifice, one time, by one person, the enmity which separated man from God would be removed thus providing reconciliation between God and man on the basis of faith in the accomplished Work of the Cross.  Israel would know of this Suffering Servant if she believed the message of the prophet under the inspiration of the Spirit of God. Instead he had to record the rejection of the Messiah by the nation Israel. “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” (Is. 53:3 NIV).  But the nation’s rejection did not hinder the Plan of Redemption, for God still had to judge the sins of the world on His Servant.  “Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.  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” (Is. 53:4-5 NIV). What the prophet is describing was more than the physical abuse suffered by Messiah.  These words speak of God’s judgment upon Christ.  Our sins were placed upon Him, but not in Him. This was a divine imputation that permitted Christ to bear the sins of each individual, without becoming a sinner himself. The sacrificial substitute for mankind had to be without sin in order to satisfy the righteousness of God.  Thus Peter declares …”For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Pet. 1:18-19 NIV).

Comment