He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. … He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. – Isaiah 53:3,5
Greeting cards contain words that are chosen very carefully. They are meaningful words of love and affection. Sometimes when we are sending a card to someone, we might even agonize over which one to select. We want to choose the right words that express the love we have.
How about the words printed above by the prophet Isaiah? Would you include any of his words in a card to your loved one? At first thought you would say, “Absolutely not!” Words like “despised…rejected…sorrows…suffering…punishment” would be the last choices for a such a card! But the Bible surprises us. These words from God are really a wonderful expression of his true love for people.
The first thing to understand is that Isaiah was writing about Jesus. Jesus, God’s Son, was sent to earth to be the world’s Savior. The Bible tells us that because of sin there was punishment looming for all people. But Jesus took that punishment on himself. Jesus is our Savior who suffered for sinners. He took all this suffering on himself, including death on a cross, so that people wouldn’t suffer eternally.
The second thing to remember is that we are talking about something very personal to all of us. We were the ones Jesus came to suffer for. We were the ones who were headed to the punishment of eternal separation from God. Our sinful thoughts, words, and actions condemned us. But as the prophet wrote, “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
Jesus’ love for us is deep and long-lasting. It’s much more than the love that we might receive from others, or a love that is here today and gone tomorrow. Jesus’ love is eternal. He promises that since he suffered and gave up his life for us, he will continue to love us each and every day.
Every time you open the Bible it’s like receiving a card from One who loves you very much. These are God’s words of love for you.