Isaiah 53:5 “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

     I didn’t ask for Him to do that!  But He did it anyway.  I guess He knew me better than I knew myself. He knew there would be a time when I would need Him and He did what He had to do.  The Apostle Paul sums it up nicely; “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6,7,8)

     Isaiah describes how Jesus would appear to a world that didn’t want Him; “. . .he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” (Isaiah 5:2,3)  Nothing makes our eyes so blind as a pride hardened heart.  A proud heart wants no rescue.  A proud heart wants no savior.

     We were all proud.  We’re born proud. Scripture tells us; “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:5)  We grow up proud; “In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.” (Psalm 10:4) Iniquity and sin harden our hearts.  Left to our own inclinations we will die proud, hard and empty.

    We all need Jesus.  When did we see Jesus and want Him?  What changed?  What works that miracle of repentance?  This is the work of Jesus on the cross.  Death, sin and Satan was defeated and brought into judgement; “Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”  (John 12:31,32)  The work of the Cross draws men by conviction.  Jesus did the work.  Who is the agent of conviction?

     The Holy Spirit works a miraculous transformation within a man, opening his eyes so he can see himself for who he really is and Jesus for who He really is.  Paul’s great cry of the heart rings true to every man who has undergone this conviction; “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24,25)  When we see ourselves for what we truly are, Jesus isn’t so unattractive anymore.

    This vision of our true wretched condition comes out of a dying process that puts us right into the arms of Jesus; “We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4)  Jesus brings us through it and out of it – alive and new!  All of it is a work not of ourselves as we are unable to save ourselves; “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3:5)

     It all starts and ends with a simple prayer; “Help me, Jesus!”

    Praise the Lord!