1 Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 He grew up before him like a young plant and like a root out of dry ground. He didn’t have an impressive form or majesty that we should look at him, no appearance that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of suffering who knew what sickness was. He was like someone people turned away from; he was despised, and we didn’t value him. 4 Yet he himself bore our sicknesses, and he carried our pains; but we in turn regarded him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced because of our rebellion, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on him, and we are healed by his wounds. 6 We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the Lord has punished him for the iniquity of us all.
In 1968, Frank Sinatra released the song “My Way,” which became an anthem for those who wanted to be haled for independently living life on their own terms, without bowing to anyone. The ending lyrics declare:
For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows, I took the blows
And did it my way
Yes, it was my way
Rumor has it that Sinatra deeply regretted releasing this song, saying that it was self-serving and self-indulgent.
The reality is that Sinatra’s song captures the human condition and the truth which this passage in Isaiah clearly conveys—we all have turned to our own way. Whether we are proud of it or not, we have at times all strayed from God’s way and done things on our own terms.
The truth is that our way can never compare with God’s way. God says in Isaiah 55:9:
For as heaven is higher than earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways,
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
God is infinitely wiser and more capable of determining the way we should go. One incredible demonstration of how different God’s ways are can be found in Isaiah’s prophecy about Jesus in Isaiah 53:6:
We all went astray like sheep;
we all have turned to our own way;
and the Lord has punished Him
for the iniquity of us all.
Although it’s hard for us to comprehend, God loved us so much that He allowed His own son to suffer so that we might know Him and His ways. Incredibly, despite our rebellion against God and His ways, we don’t have to take the blows that ol’ Blue Eyes so proudly accepts in his song.
Jesus, in His great act of substitutionary sacrifice, not only took the blows for us, but died in our place. Verse 5 says, “He was pierced because of our rebellion and crushed because of our sins.”
Before you and I ever strayed for the first time, Jesus anticipated our need for atonement, and He sacrificed Himself for us. Consider the magnificent gift Jesus offers you, and trust that His way is the only way to abundant and eternal life.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Reflect on some of the “blows” you have been spared because Christ has taken them for you. Gratefully thank Him for His grace and His sacrifice for you.
- The way of Jesus looks so different than what we in our sinful nature typically prize and value, things like independence, pride, and self-will. The way of Jesus requires dependence on His grace through humility and surrender. Are there areas of your life where you haven’t surrendered or depended on Him?
Pray through the day today for brothers and sisters in Christ in as many countries as you can think of. Pray that the global church would be strengthened and devoted in following Christ.