Posted by: gmscan | April 18, 2014

It is Finished

Last night at Maundy Thursday services, our pastor read from Isaiah (53:1-10)

Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 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.

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.

Surely he has 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 has 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.

Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.

I can’t hear these words without also hearing Handel’s Messiah in my head. Handel intended his oratorio to be performed during Lent, not Advent, and it is far more appropriate for Easter than Christmas.

I have always especially loved the chorus, “All we like sheep,” dancing, bouncing, and carefree, followed by the soaring and mournful, “And the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Long before I realized I was a Christian I would choke up when I heard this music.

But it is breathtaking how this prophecy was fulfilled at the cross – “he opened not his mouth,” “he was pierced for our transgressions,” “they made his grave… with a rich man…”

In this town, the YMCA closes for Good Friday and holds an early morning service. This morning, they read from John (10: 10-18)

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

I am the good shepherd.  I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.

And I have other sheep that are not of this fold.  I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.

For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.

No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.  This charge I have received from my Father.

He did it. God’s prophets predicted it and Jesus fulfilled it. He laid down his life of his own accord to save his sheep from the wolves. It is done. It is finished.

Praise be to God.

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Responses

  1. Amen!  Thanks be to God!


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