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"Experience Beyond Expression: A detailed sacrifice to be made" by Pastor Olowookere




TEXT: ISAIAH 53:1-10

"Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 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. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand."


This chapter is so replenished with the unsearchable riches of Christ that it may be called rather the gospel of the evangelist Isaiah than the prophecy of the prophet Isaiah. (Matthew Henry). If you know your biblical history, you will remember that Isaiah lived in Jerusalem and played a prophetic role from 742 to 686 BC. One of the greatest of the Old Testament prophets, Isaiah warned of the suffering that would ensue if God’s people failed to repent. But he also foretold a time when their suffering would end and they would enjoy the Lord’s blessings.


Several years later, one devoted Ethiopian minister took the scripture and started reading this prophetic writings and was in a dilemma for to know who exactly could be said of this story. While he was in confusion state, the Holy Spirit led Philip, the evangelist, to him in order to expound and explain what and how the prophecy he read has been fulfilled. Luke put it in this way in the book of Acts of the Apostles, "And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. (Acts 8:26-35).


In emphatic manner, it should be cleared to us that when Isaiah was predicting the experience of Messiah, he himself was feeling the kind agony as if he was in the situation, no wonder the man from Ethiopia couldn't easily decipher who he was referring to. The sacrificial death of Christ is the gateway, the basis of the gospel in that without which:
1. God's promise of a Saviour is futile.
2. The patriach's faith (eg Abraham, Moses and the prophets) are worthless.
3. Jesus' life expedition with His disciples becomes a vague exercise and
4. The veracity of the Scriptures becomes questionable.


However, the gospel accounts are so true and evidential in that historical writings like that of Josephus have also affirmed that there walked through this planet earth in a time memorial a righteous man in the person of Jesus Christ. In the words of Josephus Flavius, he wrote about Christ, "Now there was about this time JESUS, a wise man, IF IT BE LAWFUL TO CALL HIM A MAN; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. HE WAS [the] CHRIST. And WHEN PILATE, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, HAD CONDEMNED HIM TO THE CROSS, (9) those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for HE APPEARED to them ALIVE AGAIN THE THIRD DAY; (10) AS THE divine PROPHETS HAD FORETOLD THESE and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day." (Book XVIII, chp. 3, EMPHASIS MINE).


I always wonder why the world that have heard of the first advent of Christ refused to believe, but a cognisant look to the work of Isaiah in this chapter 53 will make it clear that the experience which the Messiah (God Himself, so to speak) would subjected (and as well have done) Himself to goes beyond mere human expressions. It's then not a surprise when Apostle John quickly remembered to record it that Isaiah words were fulfilled when he wrote how the people disbelieve the mighty acts of the Lord in their midst (see John 12:37-41).


Either we are able to express Christ agonizing experience or not, He has already fulfilled to the letter the sacrifice he was to made, and it will be a great loss for anyone to think that He merely did it or went through such a gory scene just to surrender His life. This is why we must not limit the reference to the Lord's death to Easter celebrations alone. The report ought to be published with emphasis that His death was not for any crime He committed but as a fulfilled requirement for our salvation. As Isaiah stated, "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken." (Isa. 53:4,5,8).


If anyone now finds it difficult to believe, it could then mean such are still blindfolded in their minds not to believe the gospel, just like Apostle Paul put it, "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." (2Cor. 4:3-4). Thus, it will be a wise decision for anyone who has not accepted Christ before to faithfully accept His lordship and believe in the sacrifice He has made (Rom. 10:9-10).


Today is another Good Friday, people have been dead and will continue to die, but the death of Christ surpasses all, because:
1. His was a mystery, the Creator dying for his creatures.
2. His was a unique one, the only channel for redemption.
3. His was victory ascertain, instead He defeated the enemy through His own death.
4. His was sacrificial, He willingly surrendered not that He was overpowered and
5. His was the basis of our justification, because if He did not tasted death He would not have rose for our justification.


I therefore make a plea for spreading this good tidings with the power of God by every believer to not be carried away by annual ceremony but to take every opportunity tell the world about the once and for all atonement of Jesus Christ. I also urge whoever that still doubt to recline on Jesus or not, to kindly seize this chance to submit your life to Jesus, because only then can the sacrifice be atoned for you and this will lead to your sealed salvation when God's kingdom shall be fully materialized.

Thank you, God bless you and happy 2020 Good Friday!


Pastor E. O. Olowookere
Minister in Charge,
Christ Apostolic Church,
Latona English Assembly,
Osogbo.

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