I feel like I left out the most important part of the story when I wrote about finding self-worth in Christ instead of others, in Painful pruning. Indeed, the measures of worldly worth are deceptive. Instead, we can look to Jesus–who died on a different kind of tree, demonstrating His love for us so personally. We can look there to measure our worth! We cannot appreciate how good the Good News is until we understand how bad the bad news is … We are, as author Alan Kraft writes, “More sinful than you ever dared believe, and a lot more loved than you ever dared hope.” But Jesus, the Servant of the Lord Himself, suffered on our behalf for our sins. There is no suffering Jesus did not experience. He was rejected, He was alone.
In my BSF classroom last week, the Bible story we presented was this very truth. I figure if my story was simple enough for two year-olds (and that’s debatable of course), I can share it with you. Side note: The guidelines for the story are that I must include main truth: “God’s anger toward sin was put on Jesus, who never sinned, instead of on sinners.” In addition, it’s recommended to use at least one related point provided (I used all of them). We also have to relate the story to Isaiah since that’s the study this year.
The Bible is God’s Word. God’s Word is true. God’s Words tell people what to do. But people say “NO!” to God. We often do what we want to do instead of what God wants us to do. That’s sin. But God is perfect and holy and just. God is angry about sin because it separates us from Him.
But God had a plan. Isaiah wrote about it in the Bible. God’s plan was for Jesus. Jesus was like no one else. He never sinned against God. Never. Not even once. God’s plan was for Jesus, who never sinned, to be punished so we don’t have to be. God’s anger toward sin was put on Jesus instead of us–people who say “no” to God.
His plan made a way for us to say “I’m sorry” to God. So that we can be with God forever in heaven, no longer separated. What a great plan!
But God’s plan meant that Jesus would be punished. God had to punish sin. Jesus was born a baby (we celebrate His birth at Christmas!). He was God’s Son. He grew up to be a man who walked on earth just like us. But Jesus never sinned. Even when life was hard, Jesus obeyed. He always did what God wanted Him to do. Isaiah called Him God’s perfect Servant.
Still, Jesus was put on a cross made of wood. He was rejected by His friends. Jesus was alone. He was thirsty. Jesus’ hands hurt. His feet hurt. He could hardly breathe. Jesus’ punishment hurt SO much that He died. He died on the cross. But Jesus’ death was part of God’s plan. Jesus took all the punishment needed for sin. Even though it was really hard, He did it because He loves you. And me.
After He died, Jesus was placed in a tomb (buried). He was there for 1, 2, 3 days. On the third day, Jesus rose again! Jesus was stronger than death. He was ALIVE! That, too, was part of God’s plan.
God’s perfect Servant Jesus did all that God wanted him to do. Jesus took the place of people who sin so they would not be punished.
Yet, every bit was worth it. According to Isaiah 53, Jesus is “satisfied” because believers are justified (“just as if they had never sinned”). You can be justified before a holy God and Jesus says His sacrifice was worth it, every bit of it … Like a mom who suffers the pain of childbirth. It was God’s will, His plan. It was not a mistake. It wouldn’t have happened if God hadn’t allowed it, and Jesus had absolute commitment to the will of God. It was a willful choice, an act of love.
“Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.” Isaiah 53:11