All The Black Sheep

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Who believes what we’ve heard and seen?     

Who would have thought God’s saving power would look like this?

 The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling,     

a scrubby plant in a parched field. There was nothing attractive about him,     

nothing to cause us to take a second look. He was looked down on and passed over,    

 a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand. One look at him and people turned away.    

 We looked down on him, thought he was scum.

But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—     

our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.

We thought he brought it on himself,     

that God was punishing him for his own failures.

But it was our sins that did that to him,     

that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins!

He took the punishment, and that made us whole.     

Through his bruises we get healed. We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost.     

We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way.

And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong,     

on him, on him.

 He was beaten, he was tortured,     

but he didn’t say a word.

Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered     

and like a sheep being sheared,    

 he took it all in silence.

Justice miscarried, and he was led off—    

 and did anyone really know what was happening?

He died without a thought for his own welfare,     

beaten bloody for the sins of my people.

They buried him with the wicked,     

threw him in a grave with a rich man,

Even though he’d never hurt a soul     

or said one word that wasn’t true.

Still, it’s what God had in mind all along,     

to crush him with pain.

The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin     

so that he’d see life come from it—life, life, and more life.     

And God’s plan will deeply prosper through him.

Out of that terrible travail of soul,    

 he’ll see that it’s worth it and be glad he did it.

Through what he experienced, my righteous one, my servant,    

 will make many “righteous ones,”    

 as he himself carries the burden of their sins.

Therefore I’ll reward him extravagantly—     

the best of everything, the highest honors—

Because he looked death in the face and didn’t flinch,     

because he embraced the company of the lowest.

He took on his own shoulders the sin of the many,    

 he took up the cause of all the black sheep.

Isaiah 53: 2-12 Message Bible

I was the “black sheep” growing up. Oh, no one really said that, at least not out loud, but I knew. I simply couldn’t measure up to expectations. I didn’t mean to fail, to make bad grades, to get in trouble, but as my mom was fond of saying, “no, but you didn’t mean not to either”. I suppose she had a point. I tried to be good, to mean to do right, but…

The good news is, the great news is, the remarkable news is – I have a defender, a champion, a redeemer and He chose to take up my cause and the cause of all the black sheep. Wow! How amazing is that? And because of that, God’s plan will deeply prosper in my life. Who would have thought God’s saving power was meant for the black sheep of the family?  For all of us who couldn’t measure up.  Only God.

Jesus, again I say, what a wonder You are. Had I seen You back then in person, would I look at You and turn away? Would I give You a second look? Oh, how it grieves me that I might have. Even now, I know there are times when I fail to see You and Your life given for me as completely as I should. Help me to see You, to see what You did for me, to embrace all that You have purchased for me, and to share that with others who may also feel like a black sheep, unable to measure up, unable to make the grade, in need of a champion. Thank You for taking up our cause and taking away our sins. In Your name, I pray, Amen.

picture credit: vappingo.com

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