Celebrating the Arrival: God with us Part 1, Wonderful Counselor Part 2, Mighty God Part 3, Everlasting Father Part 4, & Prince of Peace Part 5
Can you imagine the boy Jesus standing and reading the Old Testament scrolls in the synagogue and coming across this?
Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his stripes 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 (Isaiah 53:4-7).
The boy sits down and meditates on the suffering he must experience on our behalf and maybe he prays for the first time “let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39).
From eternity past the Father, Son, and Spirit have enjoyed perfect community and shared love, holiness, pleasure in each other perfectly. There’s never been even the slightest disagreement or disrespect. In the midst of that perfect communion the holy trinity makes a covenant to create and redeem mankind (Ephesians 1). Jesus agrees with the Father who agrees with the Spirit that the the Father will send Jesus into the world and crush and forsake him in place of those they have chosen to love and redeem. But this didn’t make his mission any less painful for the boy Jesus as he read those ancient words, “crushed for our inquities” and “a lamb that is led to the slaughter.”
Allow that truth to wash over you. The holy trinity made a covenant in eternity past to redeem you, a sinner, and in their perfection the only way to fulfill the terms of this covenant was for the Father to crush the son for you. Whenever I meditate on these truths it reminds of C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe when after Aslan is killed for Edmund, Lewis tells us
At that moment they heard from behind them a loud noise—a great cracking, deafening noise as if a giant had broken a giant's plate.... The Stone Table was broken into two pieces by a great crack that ran down it from end to end; and there was no Aslan.
“Who's done it?” cried Susan. “What does it mean? Is it more magic?”
“Yes!” said a great voice from behind their backs. “It is more magic.” They looked round. There, shining in the sunrise, larger than they had seen him before, shaking his mane (for it had apparently grown again) stood Aslan himself.
“Oh, Aslan!” cried both the children, staring up at him, almost as much frightened as they were glad....
“But what does it all mean?” asked Susan when they were somewhat calmer.
“It means,” said Aslan, “that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backward.”
Jesus defeated death--death itself is working backwards. Praise Jesus who was the lamb slain! Praise Jesus who was crushed for our sin. Praise Jesus who took upon himself the full wrath of the Father. Praise the Father who accepted this sacrifice and declared sinners righteous! Praise the Father who sent his Son as a baby lying in a manager wrapped in swaddling clothes! Redeemed, wait with gospel expectancy now for his second coming when he will brandish a sword of fire defeating all his enemies once and for all freeing us evermore from sin and suffering! Amen!