Who Has Protested?
Isaiah 53:8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.
We interpret Isaiah 53 in light of our understanding of a prophetic word about the coming Messiah. The graphic depiction of his life and death are quite astounding. The word “oppression” may also mean “arrest,” allowing us to visualize the night he was arrested and judgment was made in regard to him. This is the way that it happened that night in the garden. Jesus was there to pray when the one betraying him appeared with the officials who had planned his demise. Just a few days earlier he had arrived in the city of Jerusalem to great pomp and yet now on this fateful night and the upcoming day, who would protest? Who would speak up in defense of this man, the one they had come to believe was their Messiah?
The silence was just as deafening as the cheers had been previously. He was led to the executioner’s cross where he hung until he finally succumbed to death. “He was cut off from the land of the living,” because he suffered the punishment for all of humanity. And who protested?
My neighbor Larissa wanted to tell me a little bit more about her parents. Her mother was a medical doctor and her father was a lawyer who worked for Joseph Stalin. A new apartment building was being erected for all of Stalin’s faithful assistants where they would be able to live in luxury beyond the norm. However, living in that kind of luxury meant compromising with a leader that, at times, would do the unthinkable. One day the unthinkable happened when Larissa’s father was gathered up by Stalin’s henchmen and dragged into the courtyard where he was shot in front of all the neighbors. Evidently he had done something that had made the man unhappy and was now suffering the consequences. Larissa’s mom was now a widow and the two little girls would never experience life with their father. And yet, no on protested.
Even after executing Larissa’s father, the family was invited to move into the new building. Her mother refused. She would not accept anything from the man who had killed her husband and as a result she was sent to the front to work as a physician throughout the second world war. The children were farmed off to relatives in Ukraine where they lived most of the war suffering under enemy control.
The neighbors who never protested were moved into the beautiful new building, expecting their lives to go on without any difficulty. One by one they offended their leader, Stalin. Eventually every adult that moved into that building was either executed or sent to the gulag because they found themselves on the wrong side of the leader. But no one protested.
Jesus was an innocent man who had come to set humanity free. He had done good to the lives of so many who had witnessed his miracles of healing and transformation and yet, no one protested his arrest.
Today there are Christians around the world who are suffering persecution because of their faith in Jesus Christ. “Yet who of [this] generation has protested?”
Lord, I pray for my sisters and brothers around the world who are facing persecution today. Amen.