October 12

Isaiah 53:10-12

“Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain. When you make his life an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days; through him the will of the Lord shall prosper.” vs. 10

While it may once have seemed logical to understand the death of Jesus as a fulfillment of Isaiah 53, such a notion is now regarded by many Christians as untenable. For one thing the prophet was not referring to events that were to come, rather he was commenting on things that had already taken place, i.e. the tragic defeat and exile of Judah at the hands of the Babylonians. And secondly, he implies that God intentionally crushes those who he loves with pain. And while that belief was accepted as doctrinally sound for centuries, many followers of Jesus find it impossible to believe that God was responsible for Jesus’ death. They find it unthinkable to claim that forgiveness has come through God’s intentional sacrifice of his Son, a type of divine child abuse. It is true that Jesus died on a cross, but not because God willed it! Jesus died at the hands of the Romans as a consequence of his profound love for sinners. So what does the death of Jesus have to do with forgiveness? Some struggle with that question–it’s hard for them to find the linkage. Others don’t have an answer, but continue to see the cross as a metaphor for forgiveness, a universal forgiveness that is ours as a gift of sacrificial love.

Thought for the Day: What does Jesus’ death have to do with forgiveness?

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