The world views strength as conquest. God’s power is shown in surrender. Jesus said, “I have power to lay down my life.” Nowhere is God’s power shown more clearly than in the cross, portrayed graphically by Isaiah seven hundred years before.
The prophet writes that “he had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering” (Isaiah 53:2,3). Far from being attractive or domineering, he was an insignificant “root out of dry ground.”
The prophet shows us three ways that the slain Lamb demonstrates might, the kind the world knows nothing about.
THE CROSS BRINGS HEALING FROM SIN. Some may say, “We don’t need healing; we need forgiveness.” Jesus said to the Pharisees: “They that are well have no need of a physician but they that are sick.” Sin is a sickness.
But “there is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul,” like the song goes. For “he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed” (5).
Thankfully, the cross brings healing not only from the penalty of sin but also from the power. Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery, “Neither do I condemn you.” In those words she experienced the acceptance of grace. It gave her power to receive the truth: “Go and sin no more.” “He breaks the power of cancelled sin, He sets the prisoner free.” That power is found in the cross.
THE CROSS BRINGS HEALING FROM SORROW. We have sinned, and we have been sinned against. Sin brings guilt; sorrow brings shame and sadness. The devastating work of sin has brought untold sorrow. A man abandons his family, leaving a wife and children to cope. Another hopes for a promotion and is terminated unjustly after thirty years of service.
Jesus heals broken hearts. His home-town sermon was taken from Isaiah 61: “He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted…” (1). He did that through the cross: “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows…” (4a).
He can give us a “crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair” (Isaiah 61:3).
People who have walked with sorrow may say, “Impossible.” But that power comes from the cross.
THE CROSS BRINGS HEALING FROM SICKNESS. Matthew was a reject like Jesus, but of a different kind; he collected taxes. But Jesus made the right choice. Years later, Matthew painted one of the most beautiful portraits of Christ ever penned. When Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law, Matthew thought back on the day, adding these words: “This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: ‘He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases’” (Matthew 8:17).
I find no greater reason to pray for the sick than this, that when Jesus died, He carried our sicknesses as well as our sins and sorrows. May you know the power of the cross in your life—today!