Isaiah 53:3-4: “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.”

It was Friday afternoon in Israel and Passover weekend was fast approaching. The city of Jerusalem was crowded with people from out of town who came to attend the festival. Just outside the city limits executions, Roman style, took place. Three men were publicly nailed to a cross and left to die. One of the three men was Jesus of Nazareth.

The mob was angry that day. They were mad at Jesus. The Messiah was expected to free them from political oppression, but Jesus did not deliver according to their expectations. Instead they saw their Redeemer weak and defenseless suffering on the cross. Some of the bystanders hurled insults at Him and said: “Save yourself if you are as wonderful as you claim to be.” Jesus on the cross was considered a fraud. If He truly was the Son of God, He would not let Himself get killed – or wouldn’t He?

It is ironic that nobody wants to be judged while grasping every opportunity there is to judge others. Whether we become witnesses of a sad scene, or we see someone at his or her breaking point, we should never jump to conclusions. In most cases our hasty deductions are plain wrong and our snap judgments inflict considerable pain.

Who likes to hear that the Lord’s suffering on the cross was entirely our fault? Nobody does – at least I don’t know anybody who enjoys hearing that – but here is the good news: Jesus is not mad at us. He suffered greatly at our hands, but He suffered willingly; His goal was to eliminate all judgment calls, whether inappropriate or justified. He took the blame and accepted all punishment there is. Now, what is left for us?

Peace – with nothing left to blame, punish, or judge;

Healing – coming from a Savior who was in our shoes and has all the empathy for our cause that we can hope for.

Jesus picks up our broken pieces and makes us whole – and trusting Him is the key. He has loved us long before we knew Him; and our relationship with the Holy One is designed to blossom into a friendship that goes beyond our lifetime.

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