Aloha Friday Message – March 26, 2010 – Sixth Friday in Lent

1013AFC032610 – The Lost Sheep

Happy Aloha Friday, Beloved! Today I am going to begin with the weekly Bible verse. It is Isaiah 53:6. I bet some of you have memorized this one and most of you will recognize it.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all

Now, I need to back up a few verses and set this in context a bit before saying anything else.

1 Who would believe what we have heard? To whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2 He grew up like a sapling before him, like a shoot from the parched earth; there was in him no stately bearing to make us look at him, nor appearance that would attract us to him. 3 He was spurned and avoided by men, a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity, one of those from whom men hide their faces, spurned, and we held him in no esteem. 4 Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured, while we thought of him as stricken, as one smitten by God and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins, upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole; by his stripes we were healed. 6 We had all gone astray like sheep, each following his own way; But the LORD laid upon him the guilt of us all. 7 Though he was harshly treated, he submitted and opened not his mouth; like a lamb led to the slaughter or a sheep before the shearers, he was silent and opened not his mouth. 8 Oppressed and condemned, he was taken away, and who would have thought any more of his destiny? When he was cut off from the land of the living, and smitten for the sin of his people, 9 A grave was assigned him among the wicked and a burial place with evildoers, Though he had done no wrong nor spoken any falsehood. 10 (But the LORD was pleased to crush him in infirmity.) If he gives his life as an offering for sin, he shall see his descendants in a long life, and the will of the LORD shall be accomplished through him. 11 Because of his affliction he shall see the light in fullness of days; through his suffering, my servant shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear. 12 Therefore I will give him his portion among the great, and he shall divide the spoils with the mighty, because he surrendered himself to death and was counted among the wicked; and he shall take away the sins of many, and win pardon for their offenses. (Isaiah 53:1-12    New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

You will recognize this as Isaiah’s description of the Passion of the Messiah. This is the result of God’s promise of Mercy. He allowed Christ’s suffering and death to be atonement for our sins. He made amends, took the punishment, brought about the expiation for our sins so that we would not have to endure the just punishment for them.

Remember I said God’s Justice precedes God’s Mercy? Here we see what Jesus did for our benefit. He was spurned, suffered, infirm, stricken, smitten, afflicted, pierced, crushed, harshly treated, condemned, chastised, killed, and all of this was done because it pleased God to do so.

Look at the list again, perhaps read it out loud. That is a lot of suffering. Remember when we talked about Abraham and how he had been prepared by God to offer up Isaac? Isaac did not have to endure this kind of suffering because God did not permit it. He was happy to let Isaac go and in doing so He was happy to confirm his covenant with Abraham. That covenant included salvation for Isaac and Abraham, and all of Abraham’s descendants, and through One descendant, it includes the whole world.

Jesus took upon himself all of this suffering as well as our griefs, our sorrows, our transgressions (disobedience), our iniquity (wickedness), and carried those in Himself so that we can be freed from God’s just punishment for all of our disobedience and wickedness. “For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) Christ did not take the title of “sinner.” He did not become “sinful.” He did not change his name to “Sin.” He bore in His body our sin. How did God do that? I don’t know. Why did God do that? It was His decision to allow Jesus to become sin by the mystery of Grace so that when Christ suffered and died He suffered the punishments for our sins and those sins died with Him. Thus He became our righteousness so that through Him we can become God’s righteousness. This entire immensely-long plan was set in place to do one simple thing: Reunite us with God and restore us to original innocence by removing original sin and all its consequences.

Next Sunday is Palm Sunday, and after that comes Easter. As you go through the days between now and Easter, please reflect occasionally (more than once) about the sin you committed most recently. That one (and every sin before and after that one) was forgiven because Christ accepted it inside his Being, suffered all the punishment you deserved for that sin, carried it to the cross for you, and let your sin die with Him. I think that perhaps God has not prepared you to go through all that suffering because He loves you too much. Instead He decided to take that suffering upon Himself through Jesus’ gift of Love. “If he gives his life as an offering for sin, he shall see his descendants in a long life, and the will of the LORD shall be accomplished through him.”

It is God’s will to reunite you with Him. Believe that in your heart and confess it with your mouth, and then make plans for that reunion. (See Romans 8:1-37)

God is merciful and He asks that you try to be like Him by being merciful, too. There is so much to do, so pick something and get down to working on it. Support the relief efforts in Haiti with your prayers, your time, and your money. All of those are much needed there. Perhaps you believe “Charity begins at home.” In your home or your community or your faith family or your city or state or country, be merciful. How? Do you see grief, or sorrow, or disobedience, or wickedness, or suffering, or doubt, or hunger, or illness, or prejudice, or fear, or oppression, or poverty, or any unmet need? Act to bring relief and ask God to bless your efforts.

This week and on through Easter morning, please join me in using The MBN Prayer every day so that everyone who prays for us and everyone who asks for our prayers gives and receives mercy through the sacrifice of prayerful praise.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved

chick (another wandering sheep)
AGE QUOD AGIS

Lenten Series on Mercy

Follow this series on Corporal Acts of Mercy

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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