New American Standard Version


Who has believed our message?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot,
And like a root out of parched ground;
He has no stately form or majesty
That we should look upon Him,
Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.
He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.


Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him.


He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open 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
For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?
His grave was assigned with wicked men,
Yet He was with a rich man in His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.


But the LORD was pleased
To crush Him, putting Him to grief;
If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
He will see His offspring,
He will prolong His days,
And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.
As a result of the anguish of His soul,
He will see it and be satisfied;
By His knowledge the Righteous One,
My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will bear their iniquities.
Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,
And He will divide the booty with the strong;
Because He poured out Himself to death,
And was numbered with the transgressors;
Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,
And interceded for the transgressors.



Isaiah 53
Christmas 2003
From Gunner & Cindi Gundersen


Who has believed our message?  And
To whom has been revealed the grand
And glorious arm of Yahweh?  He
Grew up before Him as a tree
Root grows up out of fractured ground
Or as a tender shoot that’s found
In habitation bleak and bare
That seems to be a worthy, fair
Environment for such a sprout,
But is unworthy if without
A hiding of the beauty of
The shoot.  This was the way of love.
For Jesus had no outward form
To raise Him up above the swarm
Of lawless men whom He called “friend,”
Who did not ever apprehend
His value, worth, and Name.  Instead,
This King put crown aside and said:
“I do not count it robbery
To equal God and therefore see
And hear the praises I deserve.
But, rather, I will go to serve
And live and die and seek and save
And wear the apron of a slave.”

Because of this, no majesty
That causes men to bow the knee
Was found in His appearance nor
Attraction that we might adore
This King.  He traded love for hate
And bartered all His fame and weight
Of glory for abuse from fools,
And immortality for pools
Of blood that thickened underneath
His cursed cross and mixed beneath
His punctured feet with earth and tears
And righteousness of thirty years.

This Jesus was despised and loathed,
A man of sorrows, and betrothed
For all His days to pain and grief.
This wedding, then, was no relief.
And matrimony was all loss
When Christ embraced the sinner’s cross.


Like one from whom men hide their face,
He was despised, and not a trace
Of honor’s fragrance did He smell,
But, rather, all the stench of Hell.
He felt the Father’s fullest hate
And bore the heavy, holy weight
Of justice that demands a death
And is not satisfied ‘til breath
Is gone and blood that flowed grows hard
And God’s own Son is bruised and marred.

But though He bore our grief and pain
And sorrows, still, we thought the stain
Of sin was His and not our own.
So blameless skin was torn from bone,
And guiltless flesh hung down like thread
From shredded back and slivered head,
And bruises from the beatings formed
As God’s wrath raged and justice stormed.

That day the Father’s scourge revealed
The first time that a scourging healed.

All we like sheep had turned and strayed.
We owed the Lamb—and so He paid.


Which one of us will not assert
His innocence, or not exert
All effort if he has the chance
To call for fairness and enhance
His case?  It is not sin nor shame
To vindicate a righteous name.

And Jesus was the spotless Lamb,
Ordained, just like young Isaac’s ram,
To die in someone else’s place.
But roaring love spoke silent grace.
For hate cannot force love to speak
But only turn the other cheek.

And so in judgment He was bound
And seized.  Who would have ever found,
Unless it had been so revealed,
That Christ was but the guard and shield
And sacrifice for Israel,
To die their death and feel their hell
And be forsaken by their God,
Obliterated by the rod
Of recompense?  It was deserved
By them and us, not Him.  He served
The sentence and He bore the stroke
That every man who ever broke
God’s law and thereby broke His Son
Had earned.  It was not we who won
Our freedom.                                   

                           Still, they had assigned
His grave with wicked men, the kind
Of men who practice violence and
Deceit, whose evil lives demand
Not that they die and lie with fine
Nobility, but with the swine
Of criminals and sinners.  We
Were meant to be His company
In death.  But it would not be so,
For Sovereignty would overthrow
This plan to heap yet more disgrace
On Jesus’ head.  No more.  His place
From then and now and evermore
Would be with those who would adore
His Name.  And so a wealthy man
Would bury Him with those who can
Lay honest claim to nothing less
Than pure and perfect righteousness.
So He was buried all alone.


And now, alone, He reigns.  Unknown
To us while He was on the earth,
The Father now has bared His worth;
As it had pleased our LORD to break,
So now it pleases Him to make
Him King of kings, of lords, the Lord—
His rightful rank, His just reward.
And as it pleased our LORD to crush,
So now it pleases Him to hush
Each blinded chant of “Crucify!”
Replaced with sight, now, “Glorify!”

Our Christmas message, then, this year,
Is not a clean and cute and cheer-
ful story.  It is dirty, deep:
A bloody Lamb saved hell-bound sheep.

So may your happiness have weight,
For blood and love met sin and hate.
And it was your Messiah’s death
That gave you now your Christmas breath.


One thought on ““Messiah”

  1. Woah…Gunner…thank you for writing this! You may not remember me, but I went to Master’s from Fall 2001-Spring 2003. You picked me up from the airport after I got done with IBEX, Spring 2003, since you were the Slight RD, I believe. Well, thanks again for this.

    David Robinson


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