From Our Fears and Sins Release Us Day 11
Open Your Bible
Isaiah 53:1-12, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Romans 6:1-14, 1 Peter 2:24-25
BY Ginny Owens
I love the advent season for all the joy and longing it stirs in me. But the frenetic pace with this time of year can drown out the beauty and awe. There are Christmas concerts to do, church activities to help plan, gifts to purchase, and little time to contemplate what we’re celebrating. The things that remind me of the truth and beauty of the season might surprise you. It’s the Christmas card arriving in the mail that someone had transcribed into Braille or the home-baked cookies I’m given because they’re my favorite. These small tokens of affection shout, “I love you and want to show you just how much.”
If cards and home-baked cookies demonstrate the love of friends and family, today’s Scriptures shout about God’s gift of love to us. I cannot read these words without tears: “But he was pierced because of our rebellion, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on him, and we are healed by his wounds” (Isaiah 53:5).
Isaiah spoke to God’s people of the gift of love that would change the course of history and their lives, but His description is unnerving. God would come in humility, in an unimpressive form (v.2). He would be pierced, punished, judged, and oppressed, though he had done no wrong thing (vv.3–9). And all this would come upon Him solely because of us—our sin and rebellion, the reason for all His suffering.
As heart-wrenching as these verses are, the next is astoundingly joyful. Jesus would be crushed to save us—for our justification, freedom, our joy (vv.9–12). Not only that, but you and I are given as gifts to Him. We are the Father’s gift to Jesus Christ. He earned us, and now we belong to Him! Forever!
Paul and Peter write about Christ’s work with joy, explaining that our old selves were crushed with Him so sin may no longer hold power over us (Romans 6:1–14)—we are free to live in righteousness (1Peter 2:24–25). In their letters, I hear the call to let Jesus’s gift of life be central to our lives. This gift needs daily unwrapping.
These verses remind us that we are free, forgiven, and healed in Christ. Unwrapping this gospel gift brings affirmation when we feel overlooked or misunderstood. It is hope when life feels unfair. And the more we unwrap, the bigger our view of Christ grows, until one day His love will be fully realized when we look into His eyes and see the hands and feet that bear the physical evidence of our rescue. My prayer for all of us is that this gift will pierce through our busyness, self-doubt, and fear. And that we would unwrap each day the forgiveness, freedom, and healing we’ve been given until it pours out of us in delight, hope, and love toward others.