Submission to Death

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.  By oppression and judgement he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people?  And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.  Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief… ~Isaiah 53:7-10a

 

            The prophet Isaiah helps us discern the hand of God in the death of Jesus.  Some have concluded that Jesus died a tragic death due to the anger of the Romans or the Jews.  Some have thought that he was simply the victim of political factions and that things got out of control in his ministry.  This passage reminds us that none of this is true.

            First, the passage clearly describes the circumstances of Jesus’ death.  He died with the wicked though he had done no violence.  Jesus was crucified – a death usually reserved for violent criminals of the worst sort!  He was crucified along with two of those violent criminals.  He was with the wicked in his death.

            When he was dead, Joseph of Arimathea along with Nicodemus came and claimed his body.  They buried it in the unused tome of Joseph, a rich man.  In his death, Jesus’ grave was with the rich. 

            Isaiah prophesied these things hundreds of years before they happened and, by this, we see that they were not accidental but by God’s design.

            Further, we see that Jesus understood this.  He was silent through most of his trials and his death.  He went willingly to the slaughter and did not fight or allow others to fight for him.  Jesus knew his purpose was to die and he went to it willingly. 

            Most significantly of all, Jesus did this for the transgressions of others.  He intentionally died as a sacrifice for the sins of his people.  He died so that we would not have to.  Isaiah foretold this great miracle.  Jesus fulfilled it.  We get to look back on it and benefit from it.  As we near Easter, give thanks for God’s great gift of a substitute to pay the price of OUR transgressions. 


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