"‘…Like a lamb to the slaughter…’ "- Isaiah 53:7 NIV
Journalist-missionary Pierre van Paassen tells how prior to World War II, Nazi soldiers arrested an aging rabbi, stripped him naked, and demanded that he preach the sermon he’d prepared for the following Sabbath. With great dignity the old man asked if he could wear his yarmulke and his captors agreed, thinking it added greatly to the joke. Then, while they jeered and prodded him, the elderly rabbi talked about what it means to walk humbly before God. Phil Yancey writes: ‘When I read of the torture and execution of Jesus, I think of that naked rabbi standing humiliated in a police station. And I can’t fathom the indignity and shame endured by God’s Son…the bullying game of Blind Man’s Bluff in the high priest’s courtyard…the professional thuggery of Pilate’s and Herod’s guards…the catcalls of spectators up the long road to Calvary, and finally the cross itself…I marvel at the self-restraint God showed throughout history, allowing the Genghis Khans, the Hitlers, and the Stalins to have their way. But nothing compares to the self-restraint shown that dark Friday in Jerusalem…Legions of angels awaited His command. One word and the ordeal would end.’ Isaiah said, ‘He was “led like a lamb to the slaughter, and…he did not open his mouth.”’ Jesus could have appealed to His Father, and He would have provided ‘more than 80,000 angels’ (Matthew 26:53 AMP). Instead He chose to endure the cross and its shame to save you. That’s the wonder of Easter!