Friday 25th March 2016
Daily Reading: Isaiah 52:13-53:12

We all know about the Easter story. We know how Jesus was betrayed; how he was falsely accused; how he was beaten, bruised, and battered. We know how he was forced to carry his own cross until he could physically no longer carry it himself. We know how he got weaker and weaker, and at the same time still got beaten and mocked. We know that he was hung on the cross and left to die a criminal’s death, as onlookers continued to look on, shouting insults and mocking him. We know about the nails going through his hands and his feet. We know about the crown of thorns being forced on his head, and the spear being stuck into his side. We also know the story doesn't end there. We know that Jesus rose again 3 days later, and that death was defeated.

And here is what Isaiah, hundreds of years before, said about it: "He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all."

Look at what the prophet Isaiah has to say about it: Isaiah says that Jesus was pierced for our transgressions. Jesus was crushed for our iniquities. The punishment that was on Jesus brings us peace. By His wounds we can receive both spiritual and physical healing! We have all turned to our own way; we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), and so God sent his Son, Jesus, and laid on Him the iniquity of us all, so that we could then, through Jesus, come back into relationship with the Father.

Isaiah continues "Yet it was the Lord's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand."

This was God's doing! Jesus was no victim of circumstance or political power. It was the planned work of the Lord, to bring sinners back into relationship with Him. This was God's victory! It accomplished the work of reconciling the world to Himself, and that was pleasing to God. Over the next two days, we will look at what this victory means for us, should we choose to believe it and walk in it.

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