Challenge Accepted?

He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! (Isaiah 53:3-4)

We often hear this passage quoted on Easter. It carries the message of a Messiah - the rejection of the one who would come to save us from our sins and restore our relationship with God the Father. Yet, do we hear the real message of this passage? "And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God..." We thought...just how many things do we get wrong when we think one way, all the while forgetting there could just be a different perspective we aren't privy to at all? God gave this prophecy so many years before the Messiah came, yet many missed it because they 'thought' one way and refused to see Jesus as the redeemer of all mankind.

Our weaknesses he carried - our sorrows weighed him down. He didn't go to the cross because he was evil, or there was any guilt with which he could be condemned. He went to the cross carrying a burden too great for any one man and more misery than any of us could ever endure. In the most literal sense, he took our place that day. He stood in for us as the perfect sacrifice for the most awful of sinners - bearing all our sins and weaknesses - none of his own. Probably the saddest part of this passage: "He was despised...and we did not care." We were being given the greatest gift of all time and we didn't care!

We may try to look the other way, but Jesus stands before us today and asks us to look his way. To see the tremendous gift of his love and grace. To do more than 'note it' as a nice thing to do, but to acknowledge our need of both his love and his unending grace. What will you do with the message of Easter today? Will you embrace it, or will you remain 'uncaring' and 'untouched' by it? The choice is yours, but I challenge you to embrace it! Just sayin!

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