When the “Empress of Ireland” went down with a hundred and thirty Salvation Army officers on board , one hundred and nine officers were drowned, and not one body that was picked up had on a life-preserver. The few survivors told how the Salvationists, finding there were not enough life-preservers for all, took off their own belts and strapped them upon even strong men, saying, “I can die better than you can;” and from the deck of that sinking boat they flung their battle-cry around the world – Others!’
Our loving Savior carried His cross to Calvary, until the weight of it crushed him to the ground, and Simon of Cyrene was forced to carry the cross the rest of the way. Added to the weight of the cross was our weaknesses that He carried and our sorrows that weighed him down (Isa. 53:4). He allowed himself to be pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins, beaten, and whipped. He did it so that we could be whole and healed (53:5). Crucifixion day was a agonizing and violent day for our Lord. We call it Good Friday because it was not the end of the story.
Why would He do this? Why would He be led like a lamb to the slaughter and not even say a word? “All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet The Lord laid on him the sins of us all” (Isaiah 53:6, NLT). The Lord laid on Christ the sin and rebellion of the people. It was “the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause (His only begotten Son’s) grief; to make His life “an offering for sin” (53:10). Isaiah saw that the Suffering Servant “would have many descendants;” that he would “enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan would prosper in his hands” (53:10b-11). Others!
God’s good plan was to send His Son to the cross for us. Today is Friday, but Sunday’s coming! “When (God) sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of His experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for He will bear all their sins” (53:11). Jesus took no life-jacket! He was “a victorious soldier,” and “because he exposed himself to death, He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels” (53:12). The cup of death that He drank was for others. It changed our lives forever: “In him,” Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding” (1:7-8). He did all for you and me–others!
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