Saturday, March 22, 2008

Good Friday

Not many people read the Bible, but if they did and they happened to open up to Isaiah 52-53 in the Old Testament, this is what they'd find:

52:13 Behold, my servant shall prosper,he shall be exalted and lifted up,and shall be very high.
52:14 As many were astonished at him his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the sons of men
52:15 so shall he sprinkle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which has not been told them they shall see, and that which they have not heard they shall understand.
53:1 Who has believed our message?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
53:2 For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or comeliness that we should look at him,and no beauty that we should desire him.
53:3 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.
53:4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions,he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed.
53:6 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.
53:7 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 dumb, so he opened not his mouth.
53:8 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?
53:9 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.
53:10 Yet it was the will of the LORD to bruise him; he has put him to grief; when he makes himself an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand;
53:11 he shall see the fruit of the travail of his soul and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous; and he shall bear their iniquities.
53:12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out his soul to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

There are many remarkable things about this passage but most striking to me is that it was written 700 years before Jesus lived. It is the most famous Messianic propjecy in the Bible and even those not familiar with the Bible can't help but recognise the person of Jesus Christ descibed in its words.

For this, and many other reasons, I am a follower of Jesus and today quietly acknowledge again the irony of this day, Good Friday.

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