This morning we had a short, intimate, Good Friday communion service at our house for our church family. We sang, prayed and broke bread together and I preached a simple message on the Prophetic Portrait of Christ Crucified in Isaiah 52 and 53 – one of my favourite pictures of the cross, painted around 700BC by the prophet Isaiah. While the whole passage is dripping with graphic, humbling gospel truth, there is a verse towards the end that just gets me every time:
“Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.” (Isaiah 53v11)
Several years ago a good friend of mine cycled from Bangor to Cardiff in 48 hours to raise money to purchase some bikes for missionaries in India (amazingly he did it, whilst suffering from colitis too!) I remember him telling me afterwards that there were several points on the ride when he had felt like quitting because he was so tired. What kept him going, however, was a vision of a young Indian girl who signified to him that his sacrifice was going to make a difference in real lives for the gospel in India! He pushed through the pain and raised a fat wedge of cash for those bikes.
This verse in Isaiah reminds me of that, though obviosuly on a much larger scale. I’m forever blown away by the grace of the cross of Christ. It’s preached every single Sunday in Hill City and we take communion every week to make sure that the cross is at the heart of all we do and are as a Church. However, it’s sometimes easy to forget the cost of Calvary. Jesus was fully man and therefore the agony of the cross was something that He had to bear in His humanity, and the temptation to give up would have been as real to Jesus as it would have been to any of us (Gethsemane teaches us that!)
But He didn’t quit! Why not?
Because through the pain, through the blood, and through the “anguish of His soul”, Jesus saw something that satisfied Him. Something that made the cross worth enduring and that inspired Him to push through.
That something was me!
Jesus was satisfied that His sacrifice was worth it as He saw beyond the physical, emotional and spiritual torment He was facing and fixed His gaze on the “many to be accounted righteous.” He knew that through the cross He was redeeming for the Father a people whose sins would be completely forgiven and who would be robed in His own beautiful righteousness!
We are why Jesus died. We are who He saw through the blood, sweat and tears of Calvary. We are who He was saving!
Thank you Jesus, my precious Saviour – you’re awesome!