He was pierced for Sheila’s trangressions,
He was crushed for Sheila’s iniquities;
the punishment that brought Sheila peace was on him,
and by his wounds Sheila is healed.
The ancient words written by the prophet Isaiah didn’t really read quite like that. He didn’t know me. He didn’t use my name in the text. But, the text was written about me. It was also written about you.
“…and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.…for the trangressions of My people He was stricken.” (Is. 53:6, 8).
You see, when I dare to personalize peace, I also must look at the heinousnes of my crime, “the evil that excites the severity of divine wrath,” as the old Puritan would say. How hard is it to go low to the depths of humiliation to say what God already knows, “I am a sinner. I have sinned against You, God. “?
It is ugly. It is not what I like to think about.
Still, it is the truth about me.
And it is true for all of us, for God says, “each of us has turned to our own way.” Oh, we must admit we love our own way. We so love to be in control, and for the most part we tend to think we do okay choosing our own way. Preoccupied, we forget about God. We wake up each morning figuring out how to make our own selves happy. We do not rise in thankfulness to worship God by finding our deepest satisfaction in Him.
There rises on a hill a great piece of evidence against us to remind us of our guilt.
The old Puritan prays,
“Show me the enormity of my guilt by
the crown of thorns,
the pierced hands and feet,
the bruised body,
the dying cries.
Thy blood is the blood of incarnate God, its worth infinite, its value beyond all thought. Infinite must be the evil and guilt that demands such a price.” (Valley of Vision)
You see, what I may call insignificant, God doesn’t. We tend to grade our behavior by our own self-made, shifting standards of morality. We joke about our “one weakness.” Not God. Our holy God is just and completely righteous. He does not dwell in the gray, and His immutable character is eternally the same. But, it is the purity of His love and justice that demands that all wrong be made right. Where we might wink at wrong, God understands the devastation of evil.
The old Puritan’s pen scrawls hope for the guilty,
“Yet thy compassions yearn over me,
thy heart hastens to my rescue,
thy love endured my curse,
thy mercy bore my deserved stripes.”
The ancient prophet Isaiah writes, “…and though the Lord makes His life an offering for sin…
After He has suffered,
He will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by His knowledge My Righteous Servant will justify many,
and He will bear their iniquities….For He bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.”
God sent Jesus so that I can have peace with Him. I see the love in this indescribable gift of forgiveness. “For God so loved Sheila that He gave His one and only Son, that when Sheila believes in Him she shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for Sheila.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Truth must move from our head to our heart; we must make it our own. Do you believe? Our own hearts must confess our sinful turning away. Our own hearts must trust that only Jesus’s blood can cover the sin and set us free to live reconciled to God.