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To Take Our Place

Dr. Ray Pritchard
Dr. Ray Pritchard

Billy Graham with President Eisenhower
Billy Graham with President Eisenhower

“All we like sheep have gone astray;  we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).
 
Someone has said that Isaiah 53:6 is the “John 3:16 of the Old Testament” because it makes the way of salvation so clear that we cannot miss it.
 
Note that “all” is the first and the last word of verse 6.

We have all sinned.
We have all gone astray.
We have all missed the mark.
We have all turned to our own way.
 
We’re all in the same boat, and the boat is going down.
If God doesn’t do something, we’re all going to die.
 
At this point we encounter the great, glorious news of the gospel.
God has done something!
 
He could have looked at the mess we made and said, “They deserve it. They messed up. Now let them face the consequences.” If God had said that, he would be 100% justified. God was under no obligation to rescue us when we wandered astray.
 
We said, “Leave me alone!”
But God said, “I can’t do that.”
 
“And the Lord has laid on him.” That’s Jesus! That’s the great Servant of the Lord who came from heaven on a divine rescue mission.
 
God laid our sins on Jesus.
That’s the doctrine of substitution.
That’s the heart of the gospel.
He took my place when he died.
God laid my sins on him.
 
When President Dwight Eisenhower was hospitalized for the final time before he died, Billy Graham paid him a visit. At one point President Eisenhower asked, “Can an old sinner like me ever go to heaven?” Billy Graham assured him that even “old sinners” can go to heaven by trusting in Jesus. But there is good news for “old sinners,” “young sinners,” “big sinners,” “small sinners,” and everyone in between. Jesus paid the price in full so that you can go to heaven. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done or how bad your record might be. If you know that you are a sinner, you can be saved.
 
We can be sure because the Lord has laid on him the iniquities of us all.

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for not giving up on us when we sinned against you. Thank you for Jesus whose death paid in full the price of our salvation. Amen.

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Originally published December 16, 2014.

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