Isaiah 53:4-6 (NLT)
4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! 5 But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. 6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.
Isaiah had previously described how the Gentiles would gladly receive Christ when He appeared. In these verses Isaiah is now talking about the amazing unbelief of the Jews who knew Christ was coming. He describes how Christ will carry the sorrow of the people to the point others thought it was His own punishment. He describes how Christ was punished, pierced on the cross, and crushed by the rejection of the Father as He took on all our sins. Like sheep the Jews wandered away and in doing so also led others astray. Yet God was still willing to give up His son for the hope of all to find salvation.
Sheep are interesting in they have strong flocking instincts. They will gather in the numbers of a 1000 or more without a single leader of the flock. If one dominant sheep decides it is going to move for whatever reason, the rest of the crowd follows. There is one recent report of 400 sheep dying because one sheep tried to cross a 15 meter ravine and failed. The rest followed to their death. Sheep become highly agitated if they are separated from the flock. Sheep have a strong desire to be fed. If a sheep is not eating it is a good indicator it is sick. Sheep have keen senses to detect danger, but they will often put their heads in a corner so they can’t see the danger hoping it will go away. It is no wonder the Bible refers to people as sheep. We try to ignore the dangers of sin by reasoning if we just don’t think about it; the sin will go away. We want to be fed by things of this world, but we need to be fed by the word of God. We huddle around each other waiting for anyone to show us the way. Often it’s the wrong way and we follow them to sin. We should be following the only one that counts and that is the Lord. We become agitated if we can’t have our way of being with the crowd. And yet we should be apart from this world and be lights for others to follow. If you have been a sheep, it is ok. The Lord Jesus Christ is there to be your shepherd. He is there to lead you, to protect you, to show you the right ways. Praise the holy name of Jesus. Praise him for the grace He bestows and the mercy He has provided.