his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance

Isaiah 52:14-15 (ESV)

14 As many were astonished at you—
his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,
and his form beyond that of the children of mankind—

15 so shall he sprinkle many nations;
kings shall shut their mouths because of him;
for that which has not been told them they see,
and that which they have not heard they understand.

This prophecy flies in the face of what the Israelites no doubt expected of a Messiah.

For Him to be brutally treated, marred, beyond human semblance, is painful to read.

How could mankind murder the Prince of Life?

Whip Him, and beat Him, and bash Him to a pulp. So much so that He was unrecognisable as a human being.

At the time of its release I thought The Passion of The Christ, the movie directed by Mel Gibson, was incredibly graphic and harsh. That the treatment of Christ depicted in the film was possibly exaggerated and certainly overemphasised.

But upon reflection, after reading this passage, perhaps it was too tame.

When we deceive ourselves that we’re not as bad as the next guy. That we’re, generally speaking, a pretty kind-hearted person. Someone who doesn’t do too much bad. Certainly less bad than good. Then perhaps we need to consider the blood on our hands from this cold-blooded killing?

We are all guilty of the death of Christ.

To think otherwise is to ignore our corporate responsibility as human beings.

Fortunately, His blood will “sprinkle many nations”. That is, His sacrificial death will bring blessing to the whole world, not just the Jews.

What appears to be a man-made calamity is actually a God-ordained “victory” (1 Corinthians 15:54f).

The truth of the gospel, this new revelation, is that Christ Jesus is not just the “King of kings” (Revelation 17:14) but that He was crucified on a cross, rose again from the grave and then ascended into heaven to sit at God’s right-hand.

And that those who believe will share in His resurrection.

Yes, this is hard to “understand” and was once a “mystery” (1 Corinthians 15:51). But now these “kings” of the earth will be enlightened.

And not just them but “all people” (John 12:32).


prayer : thank you God for revealing your “mystery” to me (Romans 16:25ff)

action : help me to be an instrument revealing your “mystery” to others (Ephesians 3:9)

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