Derek Smith, Lead Pastor LHBC 

Isaiah 53:1-6
Who has believed what he has heard from us?
    And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 For he grew up before him like a young plant,
    and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
    and no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men,
    a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
    he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 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.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

The book of Isaiah is such a significant book. This book is quoted twice as much in the New Testament as any other major prophet and more than all the minor prophets combined. Jesus Himself quoted Isaiah 61:1-2 at the beginning of His ministry from the Temple. The book is mostly about the coming Kingdom of the Lord Jesus, but right in the middle of this discourse on the joy and salvation coming to Israel we have this passage of sacrifice. Isaiah 53, some would argue, is the greatest Messianic prophecy in the Old Testament. It directly speaks to the price Christ paid for our sins on the cross. However, the Jewish people as a majority deny Jesus fulfilled this passage. They are still looking for the conquering Messiah to come, all the while missing the fact that Christ had to first suffer and die for our sins at Calvary. 

But, they are not the only ones who have missed the significance of sacrifice. It’s easy even for those of us who have placed faith in Christ to forget the power in sacrifice. The cross of Jesus is God’s wrath being satisfied toward us. It is Christ in our place taking the punishment for our sin. The cross is our forgiveness and justification before God. However, it is also a picture of the Christian life. Jesus went on to say during His earthly ministry that those who wanted to follow after Him had to take up their own cross, deny themselves, and follow His will. 

The Christian life is all about sacrifice. Sacrificing my desires for His desires, my possessions for Heaven’s treasure, my time for others’ encouragement, and my attention for others’ eternal well-being. Jesus said the greatest among you will be your servant, and it’s more blessed to give than receive. 

So, what have you truly sacrificed lately? When you give, does it affect the way you live or is it just a token gift? When you serve, do you serve in such a way that you are spent for the gospel or is it convenient service? Are you willing to risk sacrificing a friendship by sharing Christ with that person or is Jesus not worth it to you? What about sacrificing your pride so your marriage will be strong or is the cross not enough? That may sound harsh, but the cross was no hallmark movie. There’s nothing politically correct about the cross. It was brutal, harsh, violent, gore all for the sins of mankind. Pierced, crushed, one from whom men hide their face….doesn’t sound very appealing does it? 

I challenge us all today (including myself), let’s not tarnish the cross of Christ with half-hearted service. Let’s not insult God with our leftovers. Let’s not offend the holiness of God with our excuses or our preferences. Today, let’s remember the cross of Christ and step into the significance of sacrifice. Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe. That’s more than a song, it’s our life’s purpose once we trust in Him. 

Father God, forgive me for what I have made this walk with You. You ask me to die to myself daily, but I have lived for me more often than I would like to admit. Lord, fill me with Your Spirit today and help me to live the sacrificial life for Your glory. In Jesus name, amen. 

Zephaniah 3:17
The Lord your God is in your midst,
    a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
    he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.