Isaiah 50:1-11, Isaiah 51:1-23, Isaiah 52:1-15, Matthew 27:26-31, John 16:33
As soon as Adam and Eve sinned, they began to point the finger at each other and at God (Genesis 3). Their instincts went from perfect love to hateful accusation. “She did this to me!” “He did this to me!” “This woman you gave me, God!” They wanted someone to take the blame—anyone but themselves. False accusations galore. Revenge aplenty.
False accusations against Christ and His people will eventually be shown for what they are. It is not our job to point fingers and get revenge, even though it feels so easy and so satisfying. Today’s three chapters from Isaiah foreshadow the suffering of Jesus, who, unlike Adam and Eve, stared sin and accusation and humiliation in the face and defeated it.
Isaiah 50 says “the obedient servant” turned His back to those who beat Him, and was willing to be spit upon by His opponents. He knew revenge was not the answer. Instead, He trusted: “the Lord God will help Me” (Isaiah 50:7).
In Isaiah 51, we are reminded that God’s people should look to God for vengeance and rescue. We are told that His “righteousness is near” and that His “arms will bring justice to the nations” (Isaiah 51:5). Adam and Eve missed this—they didn’t look to God for comfort, but instead they shifted their blame toward Him.
In Isaiah 52, God eventually lifts up the “Suffering Servant”—later called a “man of sorrows” who was beaten and scorned—even though others literally and figuratively tore Him down. In the end, Isaiah says, He will be the King and earthly kings “will shut their mouths because of Him” (Isaiah 52:15).
In each of these passages, we see the work Jesus would do long after these passages were written. Jesus came into the world as a man, but not only as a man—as the Second Adam (Romans 5). Jesus came to undo what Adam had done.
Rather than seeking revenge or shifting blame, Jesus went all the way to cross for us as an innocent sacrifice.
Rather than trying to get out of the false accusations that led Him to the cross, Jesus knew that God would vindicate His innocence.
Rather than exercising His kingship immediately, Jesus surrendered to earthly kings because He knew He was the King of kings.
In the person and work of Jesus, we see that we are free to be humble, forgiving, and sacrificial, even when we don’t feel like it. His death on the cross reminds us that even the innocent are vindicated in resurrection (1 Corinthians 15). Revenge is bitter, but God’s grace is sweet.
Written by Brandon D. Smith