Friday, April 3, 2015

Crushed for Our Iniquities

Anthony van Dyck

"Surely he hath borne our griefs,
and carried our sorrows:
yet we esteemed him stricken, 
smitten by God, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities:
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray:
we have turned - every one - to his own way;
and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

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 judgment 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."

Isaiah 53:4-9, ESV


"It's all too easy for devout Christians to imagine [Jesus] as a kind of demigod, striding heroically through the world without a care. Some have even read John's gospel that way...but certainly Matthew is clear that at this crucial moment Jesus had urgent and agitating business to do with his father. He had come this far; he had told them, again and again, that he would be handed over, tortured and crucified; but now, at the last minute, this knowledge had to make its way down from his scripture-soaked mind into his obedient, praying heart. And it is wonderfully comforting (as the writer to the Hebrews points out) that he had to make this agonizing journey of faith, just as we do.

"'If it's possible - please make it that I don't have to drink this cup!' The 'cup' in question, without a doubt, is the 'cup of God's wrath,' as in many biblical passages (Isaiah 51:17, Jeremiah 25:15, and elsewhere). Jesus was resolutely determined to understand this fateful moment in light of the long scriptural narrative that he saw now coming to its climax in his death. But precisely because of that, he realized in a new and devastating way that he was called to go down into the darkness, deeper than anyone had gone before, the darkness of one who, though he was the very son of God, would drink the cup which symbolized God's wrath against all that is evil, all that destroys and defaces God's wonderful world and his image-bearing creatures."       -  Lent for Everyone, N.T. Wright

Worthy is the lamb that was slain.

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