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Isaiah 53:1-9 (NIV)
53 Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. 4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. 9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
This prophecy of the “suffering servant” speaks of a lamb being “led to the slaughter” to take away the sins of a whole nation (Israel). Why? Because the Israelites had been unfaithful to God. They cared more about political power than a loving God. They cared more about financial independence and security than trusting God would provide. They feared the power of foreign nations more than the power of the Creator of the universe. They thought they were wiser and more intelligent than the God who created them. They cared more about being served by the weak and poor than caring for them. They were unjust and unrighteous. And yet God loved them and sent them a savior! Our unjust and unrighteous sin deserves punishment. Yet, that same savior who suffered for Israel suffered for us. We have been set free from the consequence of our sin and so has everyone else we meet! This is our basis for love. We have been extravagantly loved and now we ought to share that with others! Let us ask God to help us forgive, show mercy, be just and love as He has loved us.