“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; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.” (Isaiah 53:6-7)
📷: Dan Kiefer
Isaiah 53 must be one of the most sensational chapters in Scripture. While sitting securely in the Old Testament, it reaches forward into the New with such exquisite accuracy and vehement intensity that one struggles to imagine its writer not having been at the foot of the cross. Right in its centre we read the above-mentioned two verses and the entire chapter pivots around them. Therein, both mankind and Messiah are compared to sheep. “All we like sheep” we read. Then, “He was led as a lamb, as a sheep to the slaughter” we are told. In short, the Son of God became the Lamb of God. The Messiah became a sheep so He could save His sheep. The concept makes no sense. The shepherd can defend His flock because He is stronger, wiser, more able. The shepherd becoming weaker so He can save better is nonsensical. The Apostle Paul called the Gospel foolish (1 Corinthians 1:18). It is foolish to the minds of unredeemed men. Yet, it is perfection. It was, is and forever shall be the perfect salvation plan.
We are hurrying towards Christmas and during this wonderful season, we hail the incarnation of Christ. We mediate on God becoming a man. We celebrate the Good Shepherd becoming one of His sheep. Why was this necessary, however? The sin problem could be dealt with in no other way. In Leviticus 17:11 we read: “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.” Until Christ, sin needed to be dealt with using the blood of animals. An animal is without sin, not because it knows the difference between right and wrong and always chooses right, but because it is incapable of knowing and choosing. An animal is driven by instinct. It has no true conscious, no spirit like ours. This “sinless” blood served as a covering for sin in the Old Testament. It covered sin with enough “innocent” life to shield the sinner from the eternal consequence of sin until a better blood could be offered up. Nay, not better but the best. This blood did not belong to any animal but rather, it belonged to a man. This man was also sinless, yet, he was not sinless because He was incapable of knowing and choosing but because even though He knew, He chose rightly, every time. His blood was truly sinless. Holiness was its substance. This blood was the answer. This blood, when applied to sin, does not merely cover the sin of the sinner but utterly abolishes it. This, dear friend, is the blood of the Lamb!
As we celebrate Christmas, let us remember that we are celebrating the first and utterly essential step in the salvation process. We are honouring the Good Shepherd becoming one of His sheep, so He could become the Lamb on the cross, the Saviour of us all. All hail the Lamb! Our eternal redemption has been secured. Wishing you, dearest friend, a very Merry Christmas.