Isaiah 53 is an incredible passage. It describes in detail the crucifixion of Christ. This is probably not all that amazing in itself, until we realize that it does this 800 years before the crucifixion of Christ. It is one of those passages that clearly remind us of the supernatural nature of God’s Word. That truth alone should cause our heads to spin, but this is not even the most amazing thing about Isaiah 53. The most amazing and seemingly unbelievable thing about Isaiah is that it shows us more thoroughly the character of God. Isaiah opens up asking to questions.
Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? -Is 53:1
In other words, “How incredible is this? Check out the arm of the Lord!” The statement “the arm of the Lord” has meaning to Isaiah and to Israelite tradition. This is a derivative of the common phrase referring to the miracles of God. After all, when God made the universe, He used His miraculous power in His finger (Ps. 8:3). When He rescued Israel out of Egypt and fulfilled His promise to the children of Abraham, He used His mighty hand (Ex. 13:3). When it comes to the cross, God uses his mighty arm. Isaiah outlines the unbelievable nature of the cross by a clear escalation of language. This is the most incredible at of God. Ironically though, immediately after this resounding introduction he talks about how God became a humble man. Jesus had no fanfare, no beauty, and in fact, Isaiah says that He will be despised, rejected, tortured and mistreated.
There is something that is incredible that we learn from the cross. It is something unbelievable that Isaiah is sharing with us. God became man. It is not unbelievable that God would create the universe. By definition of being God, creating the universe is not that uncharacteristic of him. The same could be said of saving the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. However miraculous it was, it is not unbelievable to see God doing this. The cross, however, is different. For God to become man, not just any man but a normal, hated, despised and murdered man, is incredible. We might think that it is uncharacteristic of someone who is God. After all, if we were God, we would have done things very differently. If we had condescended to humanity, if we had been treated with disregard, if we had received even a wrong word, all bets would be off for humanity. Thankfully, God is different. He is willing to endure the worst to save the least. Jesus reveals to us more fully the most amazing thing about who God is. He is willing to endure the worst for creatures who hate Him. This is the definition of love. Giving selflessly is the essence of pure and perfect love. God’s character as perfect love is revealed through the miracle of the cross.
This leads us to understand the incredible work of the cross. When we look at sin, it’s destruction, the hatred and the evil that it bore in creation, we may see it as something that is overwhelming. The incredible thing about the cross is the plan of God’s redemption. If we had never had sin, if we had never experienced brokenness, if the world remained perfect, then we would never truly understand the depth of God’s love. It is in the cross that we are introduced to a God that seemed distant and unsearchable before. We see the depth of love in the grace, long suffering and passion of the cross. In this, the plan of the cross redeems even something as terrible and overwhelming as sin, and changes it into something that reveals more perfectly the character of the God who has called us to be His children. The amazing thing about the cross is that it shows us God’s character in a way that we wouldn’t know in a perfect world and in so doing it redeems the fallenness of man through the revelation of divine love. This is the crescendo of God’s miraculous works. He is now the God who we can know, and in knowing Him we are inspired to worship Him.