The picture here is of a lynching that took place in 1920 in Minnesota in the USA. Its a pretty shocking sight isn’t it? Three young men were first beaten and then hung in public for a crime they almost certainly did not commit. It is an horrific photo, that I find hard to look at - especially because of the way the men’s bodies have been disfigured by the hanging.
Welcome to the world of Isaiah 53.
In this chapter we meet a man whose appearance was so disfigured by his beating and vicious execution that people found it hard to look at him; we meet a man who had done no violence and told no lies, yet is despised and unjustly put to death. And then here’s the shock. Isaiah tells us this man is “the arm of the Lord”. That means this man is God’s strength and God’s power being displayed in the world. WHAT!!??? And then Isaiah explains how this works - how this disfigured lonely figure is God's servant who saves the world. Because this man was not suffering for his own sins - but for ours. His horrific death was actually God's punishment for our sins being laid on him. And because of his lynching we are forgiven, and because of his beating we find peace with God. Thats what the arm of the Lord achieved.
Who could have dreamt of a God who does that….?