Summary: Because of our terrible lostness, God had to go outside the human race to provide a solution to the universal problem of sin. He needed a lot more than image; someone unaffected by the world’s sinful value system, someone who trusted God perfectly.

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Passage: Isaiah 53:1-9

Intro: We have had front-row seats for quite a show these last 3 weeks.

1. watched with pride and amazement as the brave men and women of our military have dismantled the regime of Saddam Hussein

2. precision aerial bombardment, bunker busters chasing Saddam from one hidey-hole to another.

stuff, the awesome power to topple Saddam as well as kindness towards those who have suffered under his rule.

4. as far as a human solution to a human problem, it’s been about as good as it gets.

5. but some problems are just too big for us to handle, in spite of our pride

Il) Humanist Manifesto says “We can discover no divine purpose or providence for the human species. While there is much that we do not know, humans are responsible for what we are or will become. No deity will save us; we must save ourselves”

6. on this Palm Sunday we hear once again what God has been saying to us for thousands of years. “You are lost without Me!”

7. v6 well-known, speaks to the universal nature of sin. “We all…have gone astray”

8. but there’s more here…the consequences of that sin in terms of our relationship to our Creator.

Il) Hengstenberg..”We walked through life solitary, forsaken, miserable, separated from God and the Good Shepherd, and deprived of His pastoral care”

9. the Biblical image is used for a reason: domesticated sheep that have wandered away from their shepherd, needy, helpless, easy prey.

Il) Phillip Keller, “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23”, sheep are: timid and easily panicked, w/out means to defend selves except to run, 292 killed in one night by 2 dogs, will overgraze and ruin habitat, “cast”=fallen and can’t get up, will die. “No other class of livestock requires more careful handling, more detailed direction, than sheep”

10. God’s flock was widely scattered, dying from starvation, thirst, wolves, being “cast”

11. separated from our shepherd by our own sinful choice. What could God do?

I. Because of the Depth of Our Need, God Needed Character More Than Image.

1. the terror of the human condition is the human condition.

2. we have become used to our helplessness, and have forged ways to deal with lives separated from God

3. we have developed our own system of values and substituted them for God’s.

4. health, physical prowess and beauty, money, things. We hide our desperate need behind a veneer of image.

Il) lose the fat and bulk up the muscle, whiten our teeth, get our eyes lasiked, dye our hair to get rid of the gray, get a bigger house, vote for the tallest candidate, idolize the handsomest, most beautiful. Not bad to have white teeth, nice hair, etc. But is that our hope?

5. because behind the image, the lostness persists, the helplessness continues

6. when God sent His Son, notice the lack of image-orientation.

7. in fact, so counter to the image expectations of the culture that most refused to give His message any credence. V1

8. “tender shoot”=sucker growth on a tree. We cut it off

9. “root out of dry ground”=a plant without a chance to survive.

10. despised and rejected…why? He told the truth to a people who preferred the lie of worshipping false gods.

11. but the last thing we needed was more shallow image, more lies dressed up with glitz,

il) we’ve been treated to preposterous lies of Iraqi minister of information lately.

12. the world looks for image, and Jesus came with impeccable character, and so was a person who pleased God and was rejected by most of mankind.

13. to deal with the terror of universal lostness, God needed someone with depth of character, not just the flash of image.

14. we shouldn’t be surprised that God continues to develop the same character in those who are called to continue telling the truth to a lost world.

II. Because We Were All Lost in Sin, God Needed Someone Uninfected By the World’s Sinful Value System.

1. God couldn’t accomplish His goal of rescue by using one of us.

2. every human being was infected by the sin virus, as v6 states.

3. but this passage fairly reeks with substitution, putting someone else in the game to replace someone who can’t do the job.

Il) watching baseball, pitcher struggling, we start to cry out from our lazy=boys, “get him out of there!”

4. because of the universal infection of sin, no one on the bench or in the bullpen qualified. Had to come from another team!

5. God then sent someone so different, so unique, so uninfected by sin that we couldn’t stand him.

6. and when he died on public display, those watching thought he was getting what he deserved.

7. but vv4-5 tell a different story: that he was getting what we deserved.

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