The Reason for the Season- Celebrating Jesus’ Birth in Isaiah 53.12

December 28, 2008

Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors
.” -Isaiah 53.12

Isaiah 53 closes with one last reminder of why Jesus came: to “[bear] the sin of many” and to “[make] intercession for the transgressors.”

The child was promised to be king, and after doing what no other man could do, he was exalted as such by his Father in heaven (Acts 2.32-33, Ephesians 1.20-23).  The child given gifts by the Magi, is now given gifts by God, and in his majesty he has decided to share that gift, that royal inheritance, with those who are called by his name (Romans 8.12-17, Galatians 3.26, 1 Peter 1.3-5).

This is the good news.  This is the Gospel.  This is the reason for the season.

The Reason for the Season- Celebrating Jesus’ Birth in Isaiah 53.11

December 28, 2008

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

At Christmas the focus is on gifts.  And inevitably someone will get cliche and remark that the greatest gift of all is the one God gave to Mary: Jesus.  Is that true?  Is that the good news?  That Jesus was born in a manger?  Why is a baby born in a horse stall supposed to be good news to me?

It’s not.  Plain and simple, if all Jesus did was to be born in a manger, that’s no good news for anybody but his parents.  And that’s certainly no greatest gift.

God’s gift was not given as Christmas, it was given at the cross, where the record of our sin debt to him was nailed up with Jesus to be atoned for (Colossians 2.13-15).  The good news is that by Christ’s death, those who believe in him may have his own righteousness “accounted” to them (cf. 2 Corinthians 5.21).

We must not truncate the well-known verse, saying just, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son.”  If that’s all we have then we are in no less sorry of a condition than we were before this so-called “greatest gift.”  Thanks be to God that it’s not.