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 (Isaiah 53:6).
Paul details the Israelites idolatrous history in today’s reading from 1 Corinthians as a warning to the church… “let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (10:12).
We, too, should heed Israel’s history, for hidden in her history is the love of Jesus Christ for the sinner.
Consider the flow of today’s passages from Isaiah.
Isaiah 51 is written to the Babylonian exiles. Why were they exiles? God’s chosen people were being punished for the gross sin of breaking God’s Law, especially for the sin of idolatry.
God gave his afflicted people good news. He exhorted them to no longer fear men – because He would rescue them from their oppressors! And God, in Isaiah 52, promised that His people would return to Jerusalem in peace for the sake of His name!
The exiles experienced the gospel. They experienced salvation based on grace, alone!!
And then we come to the final servant song…the familiar words of Isaiah 53. Here we learn how forgiveness is made possible…how grace is made available to us all…Forgiveness and Grace are available because of The Servant…
He was pierced. He was afflicted. He was silent before his accusers. He was the sacrificial lamb, led to slaughter.
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.
Here is the gospel – written by Isaiah 700 years before Jesus came in the flesh!
This gospel must be the agent for change in our lives…for we are also called to walk in the way of “the servant.”
This is the message Paul has been preaching to the Corinthian church over the last few chapters of 1 Corinthians…
He teaches that as members of Christ’s body, every decision and action we make should be influenced by affecting good to others (10:24) and bringing glory to God (10:31). We are called to lay aside our self-interests. We are called to become like The Servant.