Larry Kirkpatrick

A Positive Place on the Web for the Third Angel's Message

Sinbearer 4 (of 5)

Today, Isaiah 53:7-9:

He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of my people He was stricken. And they made His grave with the wicked--but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth.

Today, an almost strange, silent response from Jesus. He is oppressed; He is afflicted, He's all quite innocent. Yet, He utters no complaint. Why not? You would think this would be a prime time opportunity for Israel to see Jesus, to hear Him speak of the injustices perpetrated against Himself, to hear Him persuasively speak of His innocence.

This is not the course Jesus takes; He remains silent. He could save Himself; He could lengthen His ministry. He could give more opportunities to repent and turn. But He keeps silent.

There is no morally neutral ground. Wickedness evokes a response from the righteous. Righteousness evokes a response from the wicked. There is selfishness and there is selflessness. Be careful; the universe does not need yin and yang, right and wrong, to exist, but the possibility of wrong must exist. If there is free will there is the possibility of doing wrong.

God and Satan nevertheless are not in partnership. When Jesus came and lived without sinning on planet earth, the planet in rebellion, it was an invasion. Satan had usurped Adam's authority and was in degree the rightful ruler of earth. But only in degree, for Adam was not the owner; God was the owner. But right and wrong cannot agree. They cannot, indefinitely, coexist.

Jesus' very presence was offensive to Satan. In Jesus, right was ascendant. Jesus refused to be bought or sold. Jesus was an invasion. All who will do right though the heavens fall are an invasion. What did Paul say?

"All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution" (2 Timothy 3:12).

He said that right when He said "evil men and imposters will wax worse and worse." There are true men and there are imposters. Who are the true men?

They are the men who are made in God's image and who are reborn into God's image. When you look around this world, mostly you see not true men. Mostly you see imposters. Imagine a planet where most of the people are fakes. Imagine a planet where almost everyone is wearing a mask. (That is a lot less harder to imagine these days.) (I'm not commenting here on covid masks.) But not a regular mask; let's say a mask where almost everyone looks like a president or a king. There they are, at Meijer, on TV, in the park. Your next door neighbor is mowing his lawn. He is wearing a Jimmy Carter Mask. Your other neighbor is working on his car. He comes up from under the hood with a Boris Johnson mask on. And so on. Of course, all of these people are imposters. They are not really what they appear to be.

But this is also what most people are. Most are imposters. Most are made in God's image--we have the attributes of humans. We have free will, rationality, emotions, and so on. But how many have been reborn from above? How many are in God's image in form and in character? I'm not asking how many are perfected, but how many are willing to be perfected? How many are willing to have the image of God restored in them? How many ready to walk this planet invading it with good? They are the true. No masks. No fakery. Just men and women, old and young, seeking Jesus, following Him, living differently, standing out, attracting the scowls and violent reactions of the imposters.

We are former imposters, yes, formerly on death row, formerly destined for destruction. We are defectors from the violent comforts of the prince of darkness. We are departing from evil, heading for the exits. God showed us our wickedness, we were repulsed and turned to Him and He seated us in the heavenlies with Him on His throne. We have nothing to say about our rights. We have been lost people who recognize something of what we were and have repented. We want to be like Jesus. We are cooperating in becoming like Jesus. We cannot wear an imposter's mask. We know we have been guilty. We are silent in that respect. We understand we can make no case recommending ourselves, we have no righteousness of our own in ourselves.

But check the contrast. Jesus is righteous. He is innocent. Right and justice have been violated in His case. He is sinless. But He is going to go to the cross for us and receive the punishment that was due us.

Think about this now. Are you and I guilty? Yes. Is punishment being meted out for our guilt? Yes. Are you being punished? No. Then who? Jesus. Jesus is bearing our guilt, our sin. If we were guilty, then Jesus is receiving the punishment for our guilt.

Then can we begin to understand why Jesus makes no complaint of injustice? He is bearing our sin and our punishment. He is taking it to the cross. He is going onto the cross instead of you and I.

Then every piece we see here in verses 7-9 should tell us something. We are implicated. We are implicated as guilty. Since there is real guilt, actual guilt, Jesus cannot complain without denying our guiltiness.

So He does not complain.

Our passage says, "He was led as a lamb to the slaughter." He not only did not complain; He did not resist. He permitted Himself to be led to the slaughter. He walked Himself to the cross.

We are drawn toward right but repelled by right. Remember Peter in the boat. Drawn toward Christ, when Jesus asked if Peter would leave Him, Peter responded, Where will we go? You have the words of life. But in the boat, Peter fell down before Jesus and said to Him, depart from me for I am a sinful man O Lord. And there we all are. We are drawn toward the good but our own wickedness repels us from the good.

Jesus is drawn toward the good too. But our wickedness repels Him from us. But His love for us overcomes the repulsion of sin. He cannot agree with our sin; He cannot excuse our sin. But He can receive the punishment for our sin in our place. His love drives Him on. He hates sin. He is of purer eyes than to behold evil. And yet He dies for a race of sinners. He knows suffering and humiliation await Him at the cross. And still He proceeds to His own slaughter. He knows that a feeling of complete separation from the Father awaits Him and yet He goes. He is conflicted. In the garden His humanity rises up and says No! But He breaths out ultimate submission to His Father's will. "Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will" (Matthew 26:39).

Jesus is wide awake. His eyes are open. Ahead looms the cross in all darkness. But Jesus continues toward it. He is the Lamb of God. The Lamb must go to the altar. And yet, He does this freely.

Isaiah asks, "Who will declare His generation?" That is, who will present, share, preach, Jesus' character? Who will look at the cross and live for God? I want you to think about this statement from the book, The Desire of Ages:

By the life and the death of Christ, the thoughts of men also are brought to view. From the manger to the cross, the life of Jesus was a call to self-surrender, and to fellowship in suffering. It unveiled the purposes of men. Jesus came with the truth of heaven, and all who were listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit were drawn to Him. The worshipers of self belonged to Satan's kingdom. In their attitude toward Christ, all would show on which side they stood. And thus everyone passes judgment on himself (The Desire of Ages 57).

We are thankful that Jesus would die for us. But are we in on His call to us? Jesus' life was a call to self-surrender, and to fellowship in suffering. Do you face temptations? Do you face testings? Jesus' life calls you to do more than say thank you. His life prompts us to join Him in self-surrender. Christianity is more than being glad Jesus died for us. It is a fellowship. In the fellowship are our fellow believers. Do not feel alone. When you are faced with a spiritual test, when you are ready to falter and indulge yourself in an unresolved point, do not feel alone. Know that your brother, your sister, are facing their own trials, their own old habits loom and shout and threaten to rise up. And your brothers and sisters, in all quietness, they resist too. They are with you; you are not alone. We are in this together. And Jesus is in it with us.

Remember what we were told: "Jesus came with the truth of heaven, and all who were listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit were drawn to Him." When we are facing temptation, and when we want to overcome but are at risk of wavering, just then know that we are being drawn by the Holy Spirit toward Jesus. When you are in that moment of temptation, realize, understand, acknowledge, tell yourself, "Right this moment the Holy Spirit is drawing me toward Jesus. What a precious gift from heaven! I want to say Yes Lord. Please help me to say yes to you right now."

Who will declare His generation? Whose lives will help others to see in Jesus' life a credible witness? Some lives. But which lives?

The lives of believers who join Him in self-sacrifice, who join Him in fellowship in His sufferings, who resist previously self-constructed sin-decision-paths.

Jesus was cut off from the land of the living for our sins. Sin destroys. It destroys relationships. It destroys families. It destroys trust. It destroys health. Sin is the ultimate toxin. Sin destroys character. Sin satanifies.

When the church preaches against sin, the church prospers. When the church takes sin lightly, the church is corrupted. On our own human wisdom, we will err in a way that destroys. We tend to be either too light in dealing with sin, or to hard in demanding justice. Only Jesus can guide His church so that souls can be redeemed instead of destroyed. We need to be led by His Spirit or we will harm each other.

Finally, let's think together about this fact from Isaiah: Jesus had done no violence, nor was any deceit found in His mouth.

Jesus said and did some hard things. He uttered woes against the pharisees and lawyers. He called them whited-sepulchers full of death within. He overturned the tables of the money changers where they had set themselves up in the temple. He drove those thieves out of the temple with a scourge cord. But we believe Isaiah. Jesus did no violence.

The woes were uttered near the end of His ministry, when all thee men had had long opportunity to turn to God and hadn't. The money changers were drove out of the temple but they had desecrated the temple. Jesus was restoring its sanctity. His sternness was also a final chance for them to see their sins were wrong. I say again Jesus did no violence. All that work was restoring the breach. That was Isaiah 56 and 58 stuff.

When you and I urge people to follow Jesus, to give up practices that are harming and destroying their physical and spiritual health, we are doing them no violence. It's not doing someone violence to help them stop smoking. We have to respect the free will of others. But the church must be a place of peace, a place where God's kingdom is on display. So, in the church there will be victorious Christians. They'll owe it all to Jesus. They'll have the victories only on the basis of Jesus' forgiveness and power. But in His church God will be displaying and showcasing active obedience, true faithfulness, and lives He has beautified. But even then we will never be saved by righteousness of our own apart from Him. Jesus' expensive journey to the cross which gives us so much is exactly that--the single source of divine gifts by which He conquers in us. We submit to His internal working. We have no personal glory. We are beggars who know where to find Jesus. All glory is to Him.

No deceit is found in Him. Do you remember that picture of Jesus and the 144,000 in Revelation 14? There is Jesus standing on Mount Zion, and with Him, 144,000 who have His Father's name written in their foreheads. They are described in the passage as being without deceit in themselves.

All this is the glory seen resulting from Jesus Messiach in Isaiah 52 and 53. Jesus will heal us. He will go silently, all innocent to the cross and He will heal us. Do not despair trembling soul. You and I have failed many times in our walk. We are likely to fail many times, let go of Jesus many times in our huan frailty. He loves you; He knew you would struggle but He empower you to get up again and again. So get up again. Do not worry about failure. Ask forgivenness and stand up and fight the next round. In the end He will bring you through as more than conquerors!

He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of my people He was stricken. And they made His grave with the wicked--but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth.

This is our Jesus. All hail.


Muskegon MI SDA 2020-9-12