Isaiah 53: 1-9

This chapter begins with a challenge to our faith. It then offers us a story that, when read from a point in time after Easter, pulls us through an explanation of the gospel that leaves us refreshed in our faith and filled with gratitude for God’s forgiveness.

“Who has believed?” this chapter asks us. It is easy to believe as Christians that the rejected one described here is the Christ, and that He was vindicated after his death, as verse 9 tells us. The middle part, though, is more difficult. Do we believe in our hearts that we are the cause of His suffering? Do we believe that we are the ones who turn away from Him, refusing to see our role in it? Do we really believe in a way that makes sense to us that God afflicted Him for our sins? Is it truly credible to us that His suffering heals us? As often as we are taught these lessons, they are still hard ones. If we can own that we do cause others suffering, that we are not wholly innocent of tremendous suffering on this earth, and that God bears all of it, then we can come to recognize ourselves in this story. As Christians, we can understand that when we are united with Christ through faith we are deemed, with Him, to have borne the suffering we caused and so to have been cleansed of it. As we see ourselves in this story, we are again amazed and grateful for this gift.

Sheila Marsh