By CRAIG HARRIS
Isaiah 53: 3 - 6 (NIV): 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. 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. 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.
Psalm 22 tells us in how Jesus suffered on the cross; Isaiah 53 tells us why. What is so astonishing about this is that Psalm 22 was written a thousand years before Jesus was born, and this chapter was written about 740 years before his birth.
We have the gospel message of a Messiah who would come and pay for our sins through his death on the cross written hundreds of years before it happened. If you question whether Isaiah 53 is really about Jesus, read Acts 8 where Phillip uses it to tell the Ethiopian the good news about Jesus.
Once again, we have an Old Testament passage that tells us that Jesus was pierced for us. Psalm 22 tells us that Jesus' hands and feet would be pierced, this passage repeats that he was pierced for our transgressions. By his wounds we are healed. The King James says "by his stripes we are healed." Jesus paid it all. He, the perfect lamb without blemish, became sin for us. He took our sins upon himself and nailed it to the cross. He took our punishment so we do not have to. That is the Gospel message and it is found throughout the Bible and not just in the New Testament.
Someone has to pay for my sin. Because God is holy, my sin cannot go unpunished. I can pay for it by spending an eternity in hell — separated from God. Or I can accept the gift of the Messiah. I've made my choice. How about you?
Year one of Instant Message is now available for Kindle and Kindle apps. Go to www.instantmessagelive.com. Harris is the pastor at Brushy Creek and Mt. Vernon United Methodist churches.