Over two thousand years ago the Son of God clothed Himself with human flesh, suffered for us, died on a Roman cross for us, and rose from the grave for us. He came that we might have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10). All who come to Him through faith will be enveloped with His grace. All who do not, will be judged.
Isaiah 53 is a heart-wrenching prophecy of Christ’s first advent. It tells the account of our Lord’s suffering that provides the payment for sin that God requires and that only He could pay on our behalf. None of us are qualified (Romans 3:23).
We are most familiar with the following passage in the KJV translation, and I love to read it in the KJV, but for this writing I have chosen to present it in the NLT.
“Who has believed our message? To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm? My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.
He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people. He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave. But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands. When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins. I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.” (Isaiah 53 NLT)
The first time Jesus came to us He rode on the foal of a donkey, a beast of burden.
“Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.” (Matthew 21:5 ESV)
We can see plainly that His burdens were many, and He bore them all for us. He came as a suffering servant to pay our sin debt. He provided the only way for reconciliation between God and man. He is the way. There is no other. Works fail. Religions fail. Nothing can reconcile us to God but the shed blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is through Him, and only Him, that we can have victory over sin and death. “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:55)
We look to the past and see a bloody Roman cross and an empty tomb that were once occupied by the Son of God. Today, that is man’s only hope for salvation, just as it has always been. Our Lord’s victory from the cross and the tomb provides eternal life to any who will come to Him by faith, putting all their trust in Him and Him only.
For those of us who have put our faith in Him, He has given eternal life in return. We live for Him day to day. We long for His return. We long to see Him face to face.
In the last verse of Isaiah 53 we are informed that Jesus, the rider on the donkey at His first advent will be returning to us someday in victory. The following passage is even clearer:
“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.” (Revelation 19:11 ESV)
He came the first time riding on a beast of burden, carrying all our burdens upon Him. He will return soon, upon a white stallion, to claim His own. To the victor go the spoils. As a victorious soldier, He will claim all who are His; every man, woman, boy and girl throughout all time. From Adam and Eve to the very last person, He will lose none.
He came the first time to suffer. He will soon return to claim all that are His and to judge those who have refused His offer of salvation. None who are His will be lost, and none who have rejected Him will avoid judgment (Hebrews 9:27).
Most people today are living apart from God in their lives and have little to no regard for their souls. Others don’t have time for Him, but are expecting to be joyfully accepted in Heaven anyway. We either accept the Jesus who rode upon the donkey the first time He came, or we will be judged by the word of His mouth when He returns upon the white stallion.
Place your faith in Jesus who rode on the donkey, and ride with Him when He returns upon the white stallion.