Look the Lamb of God who received your punishment! Amen.
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
In the name of the silent Servant of the Lord, Jesus – dear Lenten worshipers:
There he stood in front of the chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin. He had just stood by listening to a whole bunch of made up testimony against him, testimony that didn’t even agree. Then the high priest demanded, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Jesus remained silent. So Isaiah prophesied – he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. Without complaint Jesus did what he came to earth to do. Without complaint Jesus suffered for us. Without complaint Jesus allowed himself to be wronged and even punished to rescue us from the curse of sin and its wages – death. Jesus is the lamb Isaiah speaks of here. So this evening we consider – A Lamb to the slaughter.
Picture the scene in Jerusalem as the Passover approaches. People, thousands and thousands of people travelling up to Jerusalem from all directions, many of them leading a one year old male lamb without any defect along with them. In the midst of all the noise and hustle and bustle, you notice all the little lambs being lead quietly through the streets. They were not making any noise. They were not trying to escape – they were going silently, albeit unknowingly to their slaughter. In a similar way Jesus goes quietly to the cross. Of course, he knows what is happening – that’s what makes this prophecy all the more impressive. The promised Messiah would come willingly, without complaint, without making a noise or an argument to go to his own death. We see in this prophecy and in the way Jesus perfectly fulfilled it, a silent willingness on his part.
In the Garden of Gethsemane we see Jesus filled with anguish and conflict. We note the temptation of the Devil to leave the cross and seek his own glory. In intense prayer Jesus turns to his Father. What is the prayer? “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” Jesus is willing to do his Father’s will. So quietly he leaves his place of prayer, allows himself to be arrested (even though he could have easily prevented it in so many ways), goes off to an illegal and contrived trial before the Sanhedrin, off to Pilate, then to Herod, and back to Pilate. When we see Jesus flogged – he goes to the flogging post without raising a complaint. When he is sentenced to death by crucifixion, he crawls out to Golgotha – he does this willingly, without compulsion. He has no second thoughts – he resolutely and lovingly takes his silent walk to his own slaughter. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; No one took Jesus’ life from him, he gave it up willingly. He did not cry out about injustice. He did not lead a demonstration in Jerusalem. He did not call up the picketers to come to the Sanhedrin and demonstrate until the injustice was taken care of. He silently went about his work. He quietly demonstrated his love for the unlovable.
There was a unique willingness in Jesus to go to the depths of suffering and death for sinners. This was his task. This was the Father’s plan, the Father’s will, the Father’s love. There would be no turning back. Jesus was all in. He was willing. This quiet willingness was also a quiet confidence.
Jesus was confident in all that God’s Word had prophesied about him. He was in tune with the prophecies and followed them to the letter. He was confident about the Father’s plan. It was first announced when God spoke to Satan in the Garden of Eden saying, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” Jesus knew there would be suffering and hardship and even the agony of being forsaken by God. Jesus knew this would be a horrible experience. Jesus also knew that he would come out victorious in the end. He trusted the Father’s plan and promise. He was in full agreement with his mission and life’s work. Jesus was convinced this was the right way, the only way. Jesus was confident it would work.
At the same time, we hear no bragging or boasting from Jesus. His confidence is a quiet confidence – one that leads him to suffer through it quietly knowing that there is something wonderful that awaits him. So in love he empties himself of his glory, majesty, and power as God and suffers as a sinner – in the place of sinners. While this was done willingly, it is also something Christ was confident in – he knew that his actions would result in salvation.
Dear Christians, let us have a quiet confidence also. A quiet confidence in Christ. Let us be sure, confident that his death has atoned for our sins. Let us be confident that he paid for our debt in full. Let us be confident that all is forgiven and eternal life is ours.
There are so many doubts that Satan tries to plant in our minds and hearts. There are so many times when he works to keep us from being confident in Christ – he tempts us to be confident in ourselves. Satan wants us to be confident in anything but Christ – for he knows full well that the only way to salvation is through Christ. Conquer the tempter with a confidence in Christ alone!
Jesus went to the cross with a quiet willingness because he loved you that much! Jesus went to the cross with a quiet confidence because he was sure that his death would give you life! Find your strength, your confidence, and your willingness in Christ, for he has saved you!
While it is true that it was our sins that caused Jesus’ suffering, it is also true that Jesus suffered for our sins – to give us forgiveness! While it is indeed true that Jesus suffered many physical hardships – we must also consider the spiritual struggle he faced in placing others before himself. While it is true that Jesus was mistreated – he doesn’t want our sympathy. What Jesus wants for us is that we repent of our sins and to be confident in him for our salvation.
Behold the Lamb of God! See him go to the slaughter willingly and confidently! See the cross and see your salvation! Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! Whoever believes in him has eternal life! Amen.