Isaiah 53:6-7 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
The Prophet Isaiah notes two very typical characteristics of sheep, and makes good use of them to illustrate: (1) WHY we NEED a Saviour; and (2) HOW that Saviour SAVES us. Only a moment’s reflection should make the first of these obvious to EVERY human being, but the second is very counter-intuitive!
(1) Although it OUGHT to be obvious that, left to our own devices, we have no interest in seeking our Creator and desiring to walk in his ways. Like sheep without a shepherd we, by nature, wander wherever and however we please, totally unaware of pitfalls and dangers, and rejecting, at least implicitly, any responsibility or accountability. Moreover, strangely, this innate sense of personal ‘freedom’ usually means that we most readily express it by ‘going along with the crowd’ and conforming to all the dominant, current ‘fashions’ (I find it really hard to believe that so many people decide to have tats?). I have a theory that one of the reasons the Creator decided to make different animals with particular defining characteristics was to provide us with clear illustrations of our common foibles!
(2) The second ovine characteristic, that the Prophet applies to the Saviour, takes us a bit by surprise. In fact, because it is UNcharacteristic of the Promised ‘Messiah/Saviour’ the Jewish people were expecting, they missed him altogether! They wanted a militant, heroic, victorious King – NOT a docile, silent, submissive sacrificial Lamb.
How good it is that our loving God has spoken out through his faithful Prophet Isaiah so that we might be mentally PREPARED to embrace his wonderful Plan of Salvation. Let us NOT be found among those who miss out on God’s saving grace, either by failing to realise we are wandering lost ‘sheep’ who NEED a Saviour, or by failing to recognise and take hold of the provision a loving heavenly Father has made for us of a ‘Lamb’ who was ‘oppressed, afflicted and slaughtered’ on a Cross because all our ‘iniquity’ was ‘laid on him’ BY THE LORD himself.