“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:4-5
There is no greater picture in the Hebrew Scriptures than that of the Messiah taking the iniquities of the world upon Himself. It is through Scriptures like Isaiah 53 that we are taught that Jesus would have to be a suffering servant before He could return as a reigning King.
Serving time, unjustly.
I recently watched a very moving documentary about a famous court case in the United States. Five young boys were convicted of a crime that they had not committed. The state prosecutor was so consumed with getting a conviction for the crime that she ignored the lack of evidence against the boys and, instead, had them convicted to juvenile and then federal prison for 13 years. While these men were serving time, they were treated particularly badly because of the infamous nature of the court case. The actual perpetrator would come forward years later and confess to the crime. Because of this, the five convicted men were exonerated by the state of New York. They are free men now; however, they will never get back the 13 years that they lost or forget the trauma that they experienced while paying for a crime that they hadn’t committed.
Jesus paid the ultimate price.
I wept as I heard these poor men’s stories – my heart broke for them and their families. Then, I began to weep for a different reason. I was feeling so sorry for these five men, and yet, I know a Man who had been wrongly convicted for not only my crimes, but for every crime that was ever committed. I began to realize the weight of what Yeshua had done on the Cross, and my heart broke into pieces.
While the five convicted men were found guilty and then exonerated, Yeshua – in the eyes of unbelievers – remains guilty without any chance of parole. Believers in Him know that He took the punishment we deserved on Himself, and because we know this, we worship Him and thank Him every day. Or do we?
Do you understand the price paid?
When was the last time you realized what it means for Yeshua to have been called guilty on your behalf, to have been humiliated, mocked, and publicly ridiculed for your crimes? Like the five men, there was no evidence against Him, but the people were consumed with arresting Him and sending Him to the Cross. I felt a new weight on my heart as I realized the indescribable sacrifice that Jesus made at Calvary for me and for the whole world. I am so grateful to Him and I believe we all need to spend more time in appreciation of what God has done for us.
We need to be more grateful.
The Cross guarantees us righteousness and eternal life; our identity has been forged by the price Christ paid for us. Today, I want to publicly exonerate Yeshua; He was never the guilty party. The sin and the crime belong to us; we deserve the wrath of God for our sin. But Isaiah 53 shows us how Jesus paid the price for us all. I am forever in debt, forever grateful, and humbled each day because of what You did for the world – thank you Messiah Yeshua.
The lesson about identity is quite simple: Who are we going to allow to define our identity? Will it be God? The One who made us, created us in His image and who did not intend us to be someone's slaves? The One who created us to be His valuable sons and daughters, form whom He gave His sons life, because He loves us so much (something which gives us immense value, dignity and purpose)?
SNIPPETS FROM THE FIELD:
MASSAH PROJECT IN INDIA
KETZIA BARRON REPORTS:
What a whirlwind these past few weeks in India have been! Being here has been an incredibly eye opening experience. Thank you for continuing to lift up myself and the rest of the Massah team in prayer. From Manali to the Paravati Valley, and now in Dhara Masala (also known as the “Hummus Trail”), we have had some incredible interactions with traveling Israelis. The outreach we have been doing has been relational and invitational - going into cafes to drink coffee & play cards with Israelis, inviting them to Shabbat meals and Bible studies, going on hikes/treks, and just sitting around chatting and sharing meals.
In Manali, I developed a friendship with 3 girls named Sara, Yael and Noa*. It was so much fun getting to know them, play cards and hang out with them, hear their stories and share our belief in Yeshua. They came to our last Shabbat meal in Manali and shared with us that our friendship with them was very meaningful to them. We are still in touch and hoping to travel to visit each other in the future. Please pray that through our friendship with them they would experience the love of Messiah.
In Paravati Valley, myself and two other team members were able to invite Josh* with us on a two day trek to Kheerganga. During our time with him, he came and participated in 3 of our Mark Bible studies! He asked us many questions and said he would continue to do the studies on his own time. Please pray that the truth of the Gospel speaks to his heart.
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