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"He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground." Isaiah 53:2

Isaiah 53 is one of the most amazing chapters in the Bible. Martin Luther once said, "Every child ought to memorize Isaiah 53." So, when our children were young, we made that a project. After every meal, we took a new verse and reviewed what we had memorized before. It took a few weeks, but the results are eternal. 

Isaiah lived some 700 years before Jesus was born, yet he gave us an exact picture of what his life would involve. Saint Augustine said, "I think Isaiah wrote not a prophecy, but a gospel!" It seems to have been written at the foot of the cross of Jesus. 

Out in the desert states of New Mexico and Arizona, there are miles and miles of desert which are dry and barren with no crops or trees or life. That is a picture of the human race as God sees us apart from the work of his grace. But suddenly, imagine a tender plant appearing where it it least expected. That is the message that Isaiah wrote for us. Jesus is that root out of dry ground. 

"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." The Hebrew word "laid" means more than just placing a load. It has in it the idea of evil rushing upon him and striking him with overwhelming force!

Therefore, in Gethsemane, the sin of the world rushed upon Jesus, struck him down, made him sweat drops of blood, causing him to plead with the Father for some other way. As a magnifying glass focuses the rays of the sun on a pile of leaves and starts a fire, some kind of magnifying glass caused the sins of the world to focus on Jesus. "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us" (II Corinthians 5:21). So from Gethsemane until he died, Jesus was made to be sin incarnate! 

I saw one hanging on a tree
In agony and blood.
He turned his loving eyes on me as near is cross I stood.
Sure, never till my latest breath can I forget that look,
It seemed to charge me with his death
Though not a word he spoke.

My conscience felt and owned the guilt
And plunged me in despair;
I saw my sins his blood had spilt
And helped to nail him there.

Alas, I knew not what I did
But now my tears are vain.
Where shall my trembling soul be hid
for I the Lord have slain.

A second look he gave which said,
"I freely all forgive,
This blood is for thy ransom paid
I died that thou mayest live.

O can it be upon the tree
The Savior died for me? 
My soul is thrilled, my heart is filled
To think he died for me.

John Newton?

"But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him." Isaiah 53:5 

One day, after hearing a sermon, Dad wrote, "He (Jesus) was pierced for Ed Wolters' transgressions, he was bruised for Ed Wolters' iniquities, the punishment that brought Ed Wolters peace was upon him, and with His stripes, Ed Wolters was healed." So I also put my name in the same places, and so may you, dear reader.

Speaking of my dear Dad, he was one of the first teachers at  Holland Christian School (begun in 1902; added a high school in 1922). He taught there until 1926. That year, the very first annual "Footprints" was produced by the senior class. A full page showed his picture and the following page included the "Dedication."

The dedication reads, "To one who first, last, and always has stood behind our class and our school in Christian fellowship, loyalty, and leadership, the 1926 Footprints is hereby affectionately dedicated."

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