December 24: Jesus is the Crushed Servant

Isaiah 53:3-12

He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of suffering who knew what sickness was.
He was like someone people turned away from;
he was despised, and we didn’t value him.
Yet he himself bore our sicknesses,
and he carried our pains;
but we in turn regarded him stricken,
struck down by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced because of our rebellion,
crushed because of our iniquities;
punishment for our peace was on him,
and we are healed by his wounds.
We all went astray like sheep;
we all have turned to our own way;
and the Lord has punished him
for the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth.
Like a lamb led to the slaughter
and like a sheep silent before her shearers,
he did not open his mouth.
He was taken away because of oppression and judgment;
and who considered his fate?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
he was struck because of my people’s rebellion.
He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
but he was with a rich man at his death,
because he had done no violence
and had not spoken deceitfully.
Yet the Lord was pleased to crush him severely.
When you make him a guilt offering,
he will see his seed, he will prolong his days,
and by his hand, the Lord’s pleasure will be accomplished.
After his anguish,
he will see light and be satisfied.
By his knowledge,
my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will carry their iniquities.
Therefore I will give him the many as a portion,
and he will receive the mighty as spoil,
because he willingly submitted to death,
and was counted among the rebels;
yet he bore the sin of many
and interceded for the rebels.

Today is Christmas Eve. If you have followed along this Advent Season, I hope that these daily meditations on Jesus have been beneficial for your soul. I know they have helped me. I have saved this passage for the end because I think it holds the essence of Christmas. The birth of the Messiah was not the ultimate purpose. The hoopla of the Nativity was not the point, the cross was the point. Here, in Isaiah 53, we have that heart put on display. The birth of Jesus leads us to the death of Jesus. We cannot forget this. The humbling journey that Jesus made to Earth in His Incarnation was climaxed in the humbling journey he made up Golgotha to His crucifixion (Philippians 2).

You may have plans tonight to participate in a Christmas Eve Service of some kind. Many will be by candlelight, with a somber and quiet tone. While others will be bright, exuberant celebrations, like a birthday party. In either case, don’t let the ultimate purpose of God be overrun lesser pieces. In Jesus, all roads lead to glory, but only as they detour in the Cross.

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