Scripture encouragement: Isaiah 53:4-6

The journey through Lent draws our focus to Jesus and the suffering He endured to heal us.

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. 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 53:4-6

Why this scripture encourages me…

Throughout His ministry, Jesus was sought out by multitudes who clamored to be healed and hear Him teach about God’s kingdom. In joyful thanksgiving, He received a triumphal reception in Jerusalem when He arrived to celebrate the Passover. “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest,” the crowd shouted. (Matthew 21:9)

Yet a few short days later He hung on the cross, beaten, mocked and pierced. He had been rejected by all but a few who looked on from a distance. How could this be? Isaiah’s prophesy explains what happened­—every one turned to their own way. This includes me and means I am responsible for the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus. I’d like to say that I only wandered off a bit, but I know this is not true. I’ve gone astray and continue to do so every day—in thought, word and deed, no matter how hard I try not to.

Praise be to God, He knows this. It is out of His love for us that He shifts our focus to Jesus. This is where encouragement flows! Jesus has borne my grief. Jesus has carried my sorrows. Jesus was pierced for my transgressions and, because of Jesus, I am healed.

As a follower of Jesus, the Holy Spirit of God indwells me and calls me to seek His will for my life. His Spirit teaches me how to listen to Him and trust Him. It gives me the deepest desire to obey Him. Because of Jesus, my life has been transformed from one without hope, to one filled with hope. Thank You, Jesus, my Savior.

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Image: original water color by Tom Lybeck

To God alone be all the glory!