Astonished by the Cross

Let the Cross Affect You to the Core!

Isaiah 52, 53

March 20, 2016 AM

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland


I.        Introduction (Isaiah 52:13 “Behold”)


A.     What gets your attention?


1.       Probably less and less things shock you and grip you these days – we have all seen a lot of things

2.       TV and movies have exposed the past several generations to the most gruesome and awful things

3.       Oh, you probably would run to see a house on fire in your neighbourhood – that would get your attention

4.       Or someone bringing in a newborn baby into the room might get your attention


B.      But we are asked to ‘Behold’ something this morning – a very attention getting word


1.       Like saying, “Hey! Look at this! What do you think about this?”

2.       So, here in Isaiah chapter 52, GOD is talking, and trying to get Isaiah, and every reader to:


a.       Take a very long look at what He is describing, consider every detail

b.       And let it all sink in

c.       And then let it astonish us – surprise us, astound, dumbfound, overwhelm, even shock us


C.      Because THIS one event, more than all other great events throughout history put together, has the power to change, convert, transform, repair, release, and bless every life that hears it and believes it today!

D.     By the way, these words are all contained in a Book (the Book of the Jewish prophet Isaiah) that is proven to have been written over 700 years before Jesus was ever born


1.       A pile of ancient scrolls were discovered in 1946 in the Qumran caves

2.       One of the scrolls was a 24 foot long scroll that was written 100 before the birth of Jesus Christ

3.       So all its prophecies are valid!


E.      So, the world had better sit up and listen! And that means you and me!


II.     Background (Isaiah 52:13-15)


A.     God’s Servant (52:13a)


1.       Describing one person - The Son of God

2.       What a way to talk about Him

3.       Philp 2:6,7

4.       He was the Son of God, yet he was coming to be a servant! The lowest class of people


B.      Will be So Honoured (52:13)


1.       He shall be exalted, extolled, be very high

2.       Worshipped

3.       At the right hand of GOD the Father

4.       What a thought for a Jew that could not yet conceive that God would become a Man, and as a Man, die, and then rise again, and ascend to heaven

5.       That JESUS would be worshipped just as much as Jehovah!


C.     But before that day, He Will Shock You (52:14)


1.       Astonied means astonish, amaze, surprise, shock, blow away!

2.       Because the very Person who will be worshipped, and honoured as God’s Servant – the just One, the Son of God…

3.       That very same Person will be

4.       Marred


a.       To injure, hurt by cutting, or by wounding and making defective

b.       To diminish; to ruin what before what perfect.

c.       To deform; to disfigure.


5.       His visage means what is visible, will be so destroyed by what he will go through

6.       More Than Any Man


a.       There is no torture anywhere that can match what Jesus was going to experience

b.       The Spanish inquisition

c.       The drunken beatings of women

d.       Can’t begin to touch what Jesus experienced on that final day of His life


7.       THE most mistreated Person in all of time


D.     For What Purpose? (52:15) To what end?


1.       Paying the Price for All Nations (52:15)

2.       So shall HE sprinkle so many nations

3.       The work of THE High Priest


a.       Not Catholic priests

b.       Not Buddhist priests

c.       Not Hindu priests

d.       But ONE, perfect, Jewish High Priest


4.       JESUS sprinkles that payment of blood over every sinful nation, every sinful man, woman, and child


a.       The wages of sin is and always will be death

b.       So God became a perfect Man so that he could die for our sins


E.      And there will be no one that is not shocked and amazed


1.       Kings will not be able to speak in His presence

2.       Even THEY will have to consider


F.      Let us all consider what happened on the cross, and let it affect us!


III.  Message


A.     An Unbelievable Report (53:1)


1.       What you are about to read in chapter 53 is an unbelievable record of what was GOING to happen 700 years later in Jerusalem

2.       Isaiah is seeing things way out 700 years into the future!


a.       Not flying airplanes, and iPhones, and flat screen TV’s

b.       Isaiah was a prophet writing the things he saw

c.       He could not have dreamed these things up!


3.       He records what was going to happen to that Servant

4.       And he didn’t think ANYBODY would believe what he was writing would EVER happen!


B.      An Unlikely Saviour (53:2)


1.       The world looks to HEROES! Our modern generation has picked up the word HERO again


a.       It is cool to be into Marvel Comics – the Avengers, Iron man, Captain America

b.       All amazing people that have special powers, and that save the world


2.       Well, what Isaiah sees is no hero on the outside

3.       Only a tender, gentle “child”


a.       Will start off as a child

b.       And then, Grows up! What a thought!

c.       He will be tender – no massive biceps

d.       Like a dry root that breaks under stress

e.       Not what you would expect of a Saviour!


4.       Notice his appearance


a.       No form – as if to say, he has no fancy form, no style, no signature act!

b.       No comeliness – no beauty

c.       Nothing that would make people desire Him


1)      He would never be hired by Hollywood!

2)      And would not be welcome most anywhere today!


C.     An Unwanted Man (53:3,4)


1.       Not just undesirable - unpopular

2.       But despised

3.       He will be firmly REJECTED by people


a.       Especially by men

b.       Women will like Him more than men – always been that way! Shame!


4.       What Isaiah is seeing 700 years into the future shocked him


a.       Here was a Man who would be God’s answer to our sin problem, and our heart problems, and our home problems, and our money problems, and our health problems…

b.       And then watching everyone, absolutely everyone rejecting Him – pushing Him away – not wanting Him

c.       Closing their eyes to what was happening to this Servant of God

d.       To ‘esteem Him not’ means, they figured he was only rubbish, and not worth living (Luk 23:13-23)


D.     An Unhappy Friend (53:3,4)


1.       This best friend of sinners (Luke 7:34)…

2.       He will be: NOT a good-time Charlie


a.       A Man of sorrows


1)      Not a partying man – not a rockin’ roller

2)      But a man that experiences sorrow – the deepest sorrows known

3)      Lam 1:12  Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the LORD hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger.


b.       Well acquainted with grief


3.       Not His own sorrows or griefs


a.       Most of our sorrows are for our own failures and regrets

b.       Grief is emotional pain due to loss, and failure – again, not His own failure


4.       THANK GOD! THANK GOD! Thank God!

5.       He is affected by OUR loss, OUR hurts (Heb 4:15)!


E.      An Unreleased Criminal (53:4,5)


1.       Notice the words, “But he WAS wounded… stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted” “bruised, chastisement, stripes”

2.       Criminals should only pay for the crimes THEY have committed

3.       Not for the crimes of others

4.       That would be a Miscarriage of Justice


a.       A miscarriage of justice is the conviction and punishment of a person for a crime they did not commit.

b.       It has happened throughout history


1)      The Birmingham Six are said to have been innocent, but they were imprisoned and punished for 16 years before their conviction was shown to be in error


c.       The Scandinavian languages (viz. Danish, Norwegian and Swedish) have a word, the Swedish variant of which is justitiemord, which literally translates as "justice murder." The term exists in several languages and was originally used for cases where the accused was convicted, executed, and later cleared after death.


5.       Well, Jesus paid for crimes HE never committed


a.       Many people have been convicted for crimes they never committed

b.       But only ONE man paid for the crimes that EVERYONE else had committed


6.       As a matter of fact, remember that a convicted and proven criminal named Barabbas was released, and Jesus took his cross and died on it!


F.      An Unfair Exchange (53:5-9)


1.       He, and all that He is, was exchanged for us, and all that we are!

2.       All of us – notice even Isaiah himself – have gone astray – gone our OWN ways


a.       We have made our beds

b.       And we should have to sleep in it

c.       We should have to take the responsibilities for our wrong choices and wrong actions


3.       But instead…


a.       HE was wounded

b.       HE was bruised

c.       HE was chastised

d.       HE was whipped


4.       And we are forgiven!


a.       There is no more record of our sins, and iniquities

b.       It has been “blotted out” – can’t read the official record anymore

c.       What a crazy a swap – He got my sins, and MY punishment, and I got HIS righteousness, and freedom!


5.       He came into the world, meek, lowly, kind, gentle, loving, careful, tender

6.       And yet we caused every sin we ever committed to be laid on HIM


a.       Every SIN – the small ones AND the awful ones!

b.       Every wrong thought

c.       Every wrong attitude

d.       Every sinful look

e.       Every hateful word

f.        NOT just YOUR sins – as small as you think they are

g.       But the sins of Hitler, and Mussolini, and Attila the Hun, and Jeffery Dalmer, and Jack the Ripper!

h.       The sins of every lying politician, and every murdering abortionist

i.        The sins of every paedophile, homosexual, trans-sexual, and pervert

j.        The sins of every murderous dictator like Joseph Stalin, Pol Phot, Mao Tse Tung, and Idi Amin

k.       All of them, every last one…

l.        Was laid on HIS back! Was dumped on HIS record! Was blamed on HIM!


7.       What kind of exchange is that?

8.       Where is the fairness? Where is the justice in that?

9.       He never defended Himself – opened not his mouth in his own defense


a.       He LET wicked religious men falsely accuse Him, then beat Him, and then drag Him before Pilate

b.       He LET Pilate hum and haw over His case

c.       He LET the crowd call for His execution

d.       He LET Herod mock Him, and beat Him

e.       He LET Pilate’s soldiers whip Him, and mock Him, and beat Him, and strip Him, and then  parade Him through Jerusalem, and then nail Him onto a 15 foot high cross

f.        And then, beyond belief, Jesus STAYED on that cross, in spite of the pain, and the shame, and the abandonment


10.   Why? I am glad you asked!


G.     Providing an Unlimited Forgiveness (53:10-12)


1.       Jesus did something that no one else could do!


a.       He Pleased God

b.       By HIMSELF bearing our iniquities

c.       To satisfy the righteous wrath of God against all those sins

d.       To make any condemned sinner, who wants to be, made right – justified – completely forgive!

e.       Atonement – all past crimes paid for


2.       THAT’S why Jesus is GREAT… and strong, and mighty like no other

3.       That is why Jesus was able to pray “Father forgive them”


a.       Because Jesus Himself carried them onto the cross, and there, He died, paying the penalty for every last one of our sins!

b.       Now you know what it cost Jesus to make sure that prayer could be answered

c.       No longer will any believer carry their sins…

d.       Now you know why He was able to say IT IS FINISHED!

e.       Jesus interceded for YOU


4.       Have you let HIM make the exchange? I did 35 years ago!

5.       It is unlimited. There is nothing He didn’t die for. No sin you have committed, and no sin you will ever commit that he hasn’t already fully and completely paid for!

6.       But it can not be experienced by you unless your self righteous pride breaks, and start all over

7.       Accepting forgiveness, not as a good man or woman, but as a sinner, ready to


IV.  Conclusion


A.     1Co 1:17,18  For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

B.      So, what happened on the cross?


1.       Something Unbelievable – no wonder people have problems believing it

2.       An Unlikely Saviour was born

3.       Who was rejected and dumped

4.       Who took on all OUR sorrows and griefs

5.       And became the guilty criminal, “wounded… stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted” for crimes HE never committed

6.       And Accepted an Unfair Exchange – a swap – He got my sins, and MY punishment, and I got HIS righteousness, and freedom!

7.       Unlimited Forgiveness was made freely available


C.      THIS is what got my attention 35 years ago

D.     And what has gripped my life ever since


1.       God’s call on my life was NOT fought, because of this one event!

2.       Jesus earned the right to direct my steps, and govern my life

3.       Instead of me just inviting Jesus into my life, the cross, and what happened their drove me to my knees and compelled me to claim that blood as for me, and beg for mercy when it should have been ME paying for MY own sinfulness and shame!


E.       What will you do now?


1.       I know what I will do! Praise Him, and live absolutely and totally in awe of Him

2.       What about YOU?

3.       Will you take the free gift today? Not tomorrow. Not next Sunday. Today!