Our scripture this morning is Isaiah 53:4-6.

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

It may seem strange to read a passage from Old Testament prophecy on the day we remember Christ’s sacrifice for us, but when we read these verses from Isaiah it becomes clear. People had looked for the Messiah for generations. Many thought He would come at the head of an army to drive out the Roman occupiers. Jesus was not the type of Messiah many expected and many turned on Him.

Pilate, the Roman governor knew Jesus was innocent of any crime deserving death, but he feared an uprising that would threaten his political position and found it easier to condemn Him than to oppose the crowd. Are we guilty of the same thing as Pilate, finding it easier to appease public opinion rather than stand against evil as Jesus did? John 1:9-11 tells us “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” What a sad commentary on our human state!

However, Jesus came to offer us forgiveness for our sin and when we turn to Him in faith, we can be born again, made new and complete in the image of God as we were originally created. Jesus is willing to take us back if we are willing to give up the selfish way we have been living. He calls us all to redemption by His death and resurrection, that we might live fruitfully here and follow Him to the place prepared for us in eternity.

Gracious God, You had a plan for us from the very beginning and made a way for us to be saved through Jesus Christ our Lord. Help us to wait and watch over these three days and to be prepared for the joy of the resurrection and the blessing of new life to come. Amen.

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