October 15

Isaiah 53:4-9

“But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.” vs. 5

The prophet was speaking in the context of the greatest disaster that the people of Israel had ever experienced. The temple had been destroyed and large numbers of them were now living in exile. Trying to make sense of what had happened the prophet paints an image of a suffering servant, one who had been wounded to make his people whole again. After the death of Jesus as the disciples searched their scriptures for an explanation of his suffering they found their answer in the prophet’s words. The whole purpose of the cross was to bring healing to humanity. Jesus had been crushed for their iniquities. In the centuries that followed this insight was passed from generation to generation and has become the central focus of the Christian faith. Instead of being a mark of shame the cross become the image of love and forgiveness and dominates our places of worship. In our day the followers of Jesus lift high the cross, gather around it at times of sadness and celebration, and find in its message their greatest consolation. Because it is such a common symbol of the faith we can easily forget its radical testimony. Think of it! The salvation of the world comes, not through conquering warriors, but through the suffering and the oppression of victims! It’s a truth so profound we can’t possibly understand it…but as we affirm it, we are healed.

Thought for the Day: What is the message of the cross?

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