He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth. Isaiah 53:7-9 ESV
Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You have said so.” But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?” But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.
When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away. Matthew 27:11-14, 57-60 ESV
Have you ever tried to put a collar on a cat? Cats don’t usually like to have things like that done to them. They’ll kick and scratch and struggle. When a sheep is sheared, young sheep sometimes struggle and fight, too. They don’t know what’s going to happen to them, and it’s scary. But older sheep who have been through shearing before know how much better they’ll feel when all their heavy, hot wool is cut off them. Older sheep sometimes seem as if they are volunteering to be sheared. They’ll come right to the door of the shearing pen and let the shearers take them and cut off their wool without fighting.
Isaiah continued to talk about the person God would send. This person wouldn’t fight or argue or even give an answer when things were going badly for him. He would stay as calm and silent as an older sheep being sheared, or as a little lamb about to be killed who doesn’t realize what is about to happen. This servant of the Lord would be cut off from his people, and they wouldn’t realize that he was going through everything for their sakes. Even though he would be good and innocent, he would die the death of a wicked person. But then Isaiah gave an important clue. The prophet said that after he died he would be buried in a rich man’s grave.
Jesus is the servant of the Lord that Isaiah saw long before. Jesus went calmly to trial, and many people accused him of all kinds of terrible things, but he never tried to answer them or defend himself. He just stood quietly and calmly, and even when the governor Pontius Pilate urged him to say something to fight for himself, he didn’t say a word. He knew what was going to happen to him, and he was ready for it. Jesus knew he was about to die on the cross for the sins of all the people in the world, and he didn’t do anything to try to stop it or to save himself. He did this because he loves us and wants us to be his people forever. Then, after he had died, a rich man named Joseph of Arimathea put Jesus into his own grave. But Jesus didn’t stay in the grave. He came out again, alive, the first Easter morning, and now he’s alive forever to love us and help us.
Dear Jesus, thank you for being willing to go to the cross for us and not trying to defend yourself. Thank you for coming back to life for us. Amen.