Deliver Us From Evil – Part Two
Isaiah 53:4-12

Last night as we came together and relived and remembered Jesus marvellous actions of washing his disciples feet and celebrating for the first time the first Holy Communion we began again the journey of reliving and reiterating Jesus actions that led to us being delivered from evil.  Today as we gather again we have begun by hearing Isaiah’s prophecy that has surely come to pass in the life of Christ.

It is interesting that Isaiah’s text is written in the past tense, “Surely he has borne our infirmities, and carried our diseases, we accounted him stricken, struck down by God and afflicted”.  Yet what Isaiah was prophesying didn’t happen until Jesus became a human being and walked this earth among us.  I’d like this short sermon to lead us into hearing John’s account of Jesus’ Passion and help us to see it as the fulfilment of Old Testament Scripture.

We will again hear the account that sees Jesus “Wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.”  So many of the events that take place in the passion account are prophesied by Isaiah.  It can be difficult for us to hear such a graphic and painful account of the death of another human being.  This is made even more difficult when we realise that this is the son of God who is being beaten, whipped, told to carry his own cross to the mountain of his crucifixion and then nailed to it.  Then it is made more difficult for us again when we remember that it is because of our sin that it had to take place, we are guilty of sending him to his death.

What a horrific realisation that can be, as we hear it again it convicts us, we feel the burden not only of our sin and the sins of those around us and throughout the generation, but the burden of having someone else have to suffer for them, in our place, on our behalf.  That is why some people won’t come to the Good Friday service during Easter, they can’t bear to hear that they are to blame, or that someone else would suffer because of them, and still others just want the ‘happy’ part of the story.

But really this part of the story is essential to our understanding of what a wonderful gift God was giving us through his son, because he suffered and died, we don’t have to.  We have already begun a new life through him.  He has delivered us from evil by bearing the full brunt of it himself.  We don’t have to abide by all of the ritual laws that God put in place for the Israelites in order for us to made right before him.  Jesus has done it for us, as we heard last night he has given us a new commandment, that we love one another as he has loved us.

He showed us his love for us by suffering and dying on the cross for our sake and as we are reminded each Easter Sunday and at many other times throughout the year, he rose again in victory over death and the devil.  Without the suffering and dying their could be no victory, it was an essential part of the salvation story and we need to hear it, we need to believe and we need to be thankful for it.

As we hear this gruelling account, give thanks to God for all his goodness to you, be grateful that he did it for you and that you don’t have to endure it yourself, know that Jesus did it willingly and out of love for you and listen with the knowledge that on the third day he rose again from the dead to bring about your salvation.

Amen.