A country song by John Michael Montgomery called “The Little Girl” tells the story of a little girl in an abusive family. She would hide behind her couch when her mom and dad fought. One day while hiding her father killed himself and her mom in a domestic dispute. The little girl was taken to a family that went to church. She saw a picture of Jesus on a cross. In the words of the song, she said…
“I know that man there on that cross. I don’t know his name, but I know he got off. ‘Cause he was there in my old house, held me close to his side as I hid there behind our couch the night my parents died.”
She didn’t know His name. His name is Jesus. In Isaiah 53 we find a unique description of the man on the cross. Who is this man on the cross?
1 – The Misunderstood Messiah.
“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their face, he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.” (Isaiah 53:2.3)
People just did not know who Jesus was. The religious leaders despised Him. Even though His disciples recognized Him as Christ the Son of God, they all left Him.
They expected Him to be a king, but He came as a sacrifice for sin. They despised Him for His suffering. They had no use for Him. He was not the sort of Messiah they expected. But He was exactly the type of Messiah they needed.
You can be wrong about many things and still go to Heaven. But you can’t be wrong about Jesus and go to Heaven. He is the Son of God who died to pay for your sins.
2 – The Suffering Substitute.
“Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering… 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.” (Isaiah 53:4-6)
Why did Jesus die? He died for us. Notice the use of “our” and “we” and “us”. What He did, He did for us.
He took our pain and griefs. Because of Jesus, your pain will not have the last word. Without Jesus, there is no answer to the grief of death.
He took our punishment. There is no other God but Jesus who has wounds. His wounds were for us. Yet, His death is not the end of the story. Because He took our punishment, we can have peace with God.
He took our place. God laid our sins on Him. Jesus paid the price of the debt of your sin so you could go to Heaven.
A 9 year old boy was sitting at his desk in school when all of a sudden there was a puddle between his feet and the front of his pants were wet. His biggest fear came true. When the boys would find out he’d never hear the end of it. And the girls would never speak to him again. He bowed his head and prayed “God this is an emergency. Help me!” As the teacher makes her way to his desk, another classmate, Susie, is carrying a goldfish bowl filled with water. She stumbles and dumps the goldfish bowl in his lap. He pretends to be angry but prays “Thank you, Jesus!” Now, rather than ridicule, he is the object of sympathy. The teacher rushes him out to dry him off and get a new pair of pants. When he comes back the kids are all trying to clean up the mess. As Susie tries to help, they scream “You’ve done enough, you klutz. Leave us alone.” The ridicule that should have been his was transferred to Susie. As the day progresses, the sympathy gets better and better and the ridicule against Susie gets worse and worse. Finally, at the end of the day, they are waiting at the bus stop. The boy walks over to Susie and whispers, “Susie, you did that on purpose, didn’t you?” Susie whispers back, “I went my pants once too.”
Like the little girl, Jesus willingly suffered our shame.
3 – The Silent Savior.
“He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7)
His submissive silence reveals that He did not resist the charges against Him. Though innocent, He accepted guilt. No one spoke up for Jesus. He finished all He came to do.
You find out what you really believe when others mistreat you. Sometimes you are known by what you don’t say.
He was not completely silent on the cross. We discover much about Jesus’ heart by the seven saying of Jesus on the cross.
- Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.
- Today you will be with me in paradise.
- Behold your son: behold your mother.
- My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
- I thirst.
- It is finished.
- Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
4 – The Conquering Christ
“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. After he has suffered, he will see the light of life[d] and be satisfied.” (Isaiah 53:10-11)
What’s so good about Good Friday?
Jesus was crushed. This pleased and satisfied the Father. Because Jesus died and suffered, we can be brought into God’s family. Jesus would rather die than live without us in Heaven.
Yet, He is rewarded. His life is prolonged. Jesus would rise again. The devil could not stop Him. The cross could not defeat Him. The grave could not hold Him.
In Los Alamos, NM. Dr. Louis Slotin worked on the Manhattan Project (research for the first nuclear weapons). He conducted experiments on what was known as the ‘demon core’- a mass of plutonium slated for use in a third WW2 nuclear bomb. When Japan surrendered in 1945, experiments continued. He would push two hemispheres of uranium together. Just as the mass became critical, he would push them apart with his screwdriver. But on May 21, 1946, the screwdriver slipped, and the uranium came too close together. The room durned blue. Instead of ducking to save his life, he tore the two hemispheres apart with his hands and stopped the chain reaction. He saved the lives of all 7 persons in the room, but 9 days later he died in agony.
2,000 years ago the Son of God walked directly into sin’s most concentrated radiation, allowed Himself to be touched by its curse, and let it take His life. By His one act of death, He broke the chain reaction. He broke the power of sin, death and Hell.
Who is the man on the cross to you?