By His Wounds is a study and mediation for those who wrestle with the complexities of one’s Fallen Self.
In the hymn, “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded,” (Lutheran Service Book, 450), we read of the wonder of Jesus humility and love:
What language shall I borrow
To thank Thee, dearest Friend,
For this, Thy dying sorrow,
Thy pity without end?
Oh, make me thine forever!
And should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never,
Outlive my love for Thee.
Words fall short and fail us in describing the enormity of The Servant Song in Isaiah 53. What words can describe the height and depth, the breadth and length of Jesus’ sacrifice.
In session one we meditated and pondered Him who becomes ugly for us. His appearance was marred beyond recognition. He was a man from whom men hide their faces.
In session two we examined and considered Jesus who is hated and rejected by the people He came to save and by His Father in heaven. Covered in sin Jesus is revolting and repulsive, for us.
In session three The Suffering Servant becomes broken. He is divided. He is destroyed, gouged, mocked, beaten, nailed, and pierced for you and me.
In this session, session four, Jesus is silenced. He is a lamb to the slaughter. He opens not His mouth. He does not cry out or complain. Quietly and resolutely, Jesus bears the sins of the people He came to save. Jesus takes the sins of all people upon Himself. He is oppressed and judged. He is cut off from the land of the living, stricken for the transgressions of God’s people.
And by His wounds we are healed.
The Silent Jesus, Isaiah 53:7-8[See Exegetical and Supplementary Notes]
Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Like a lamb led to the slaughter, Jesus does not open His mouth. He is silent in His suffering for you and me. He does not shout or cry out. He does not object. He does not blame. Quietly, He is obedient to His Father’s Will. And by His wounds we are healed.
“A meaningful silence will always have more to say than meaningless words.”
What People Say About Silence
“Silence speaks when words cannot.”
“Silence is not empty. Silence is full of answers.”
“I have sometimes regretted my speech. I have never regretted my silence.”
As a noun, silence is a complete absence of sound or speech. As a verb, silence is to cause or prevent someone or something from speaking or making a sound.
Synonyms for silence are
Quiet, stifle, gag, muzzle, censor, hush, shush, still, stop, suppress
“He was oppressed and he was afflicted. Yet He opened not His mouth, and like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep before her shearers is silent, He did not open His mouth.” Isaiah 53:7
God Speaks About Silence
Ps 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
Pr 17:28, Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.
Ps 62:5, For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.
Lam 3:26, It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
Ps 141:3, Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!
Habakkuk 2:20, But the Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before Him.
Ps 62:1, For God alone my soul waits in silence; from Him comes my salvation.
Pr 21:23, Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.
15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.Romans 7:15-19
The Sounds of Silence
Enter the sanctuary by yourself. Enter at a time when no one else is there. Take a seat. Take off your shoes. Stay awhile.
Light will filter through the stain glass window. There will be no organ or guitar, no drum, or trumpet, or violin. There will be no preacher or reader.
You are not alone. You are in the presence of the Most High God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The earth is full of His glory. So is His sanctuary.
There will be no complaint or criticism, no sarcasm or cynical comment. There will be no news report of shootings or the corona virus.
Here in this silence you will hear God’s voice and the wonder of His love for you. He will whisper your name and remind you of your Baptism. He will say you are his child and your worst sin is forgiven by the merits of Jesus. He will tell you how Jesus suffered and died for you. He will tell you how Jesus became ugly and hated for you; how Jesus was broken and silenced for you; how Jesus was lonely and cast off and in anguish for you.
And you will hear that by His wounds, you are healed. Completely.
The Humiliation of Christ
Dr. Charles Arand, Concordia Seminary, in his book, “That I May be His own,” states,
“Jesus became my Lord in order that I might be his own and live under his care. More specifically, the Lordship of God proves itself in the lordship of Christ over all anti-God powers. Christ brings us to the Father by overcoming sin, death, and the devil, which would keep us from entering the care of the Father. Through His life, suffering, death and resurrection, Christ overcomes everything that would keep us from the Father. In a sense, Christ puts us back into the lap of the Father.” (Arand, p. 162).
Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent
1 Let all mortal flesh keep silence
And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded,
For with blessing in His hand
Christ our God to earth descending
Comes our homage to demand.
2 King of kings yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth He stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture,
In the body and the blood,
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heav’nly food.
3 Rank on rank the host of heaven
Spreads its vanguard on the way
As the Light of Light descending
From the realms of endless day,
Comes the pow’rs of hell to vanquish
As the darkness clears away.
By His Wounds
Jesus knows your heart. Jesus knows you hurt. Jesus knows you have felt silenced and ignored. Jesus is listening to you. Jesus hears you. In Matthew 7:7 Jesus says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and the door will be opened unto you.” And 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear them from heaven and I will forgive their sins and I will heal their land.” By Jesus’ wounds we are healed.
God demonstrates His love for us in this, While we were yet sinners, while we were hated and rejected, Christ died for us.Romans 5:8
Through His life, suffering, death and resurrection, Christ overcomes everything that would keep us from the Father. In a sense, Christ puts us back into the lap of the Father.Charles Arand, professor, Concordia Seminary
Beautiful, New Creations
Sin manifests itself in silence, or at least distortion of God’s Word and design. Since the Tower of Babel, the communication of people has been confused and tainted with destruction.
God has a clear direction as to what we are to say and how we are to say it. Our words are to encourage, build up, proclaim the Gospel, pray to God, and to proclaim forgiveness.
As the New Creations of Christ, made alive through Christ who was silenced for us, let us remain silent when it is fitting and godly, and when we speak, let us speak as Christ’s ambassadors and as He designs for us to speak:
Luther’s explanation to the 8th Commandment,
“We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him, slander him, or hurt his reputation, but defend him, speak well of him, and explain everything in the kindest way.”
Matthew 12:37, “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Proverbs 13:3, Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.
James 3:8-9, But no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.
Ephesians 4:29, Say only those things that edify others and build them up in their faith.
During these 40 days of vision, we see Jesus silence Himself for us. In silence we learn to listen to God’s voice and to follow Him.
James 1:22 says, “Be doers of the Word and not just hearers only.” Let us purpose ourselves to act on God’s Word and to silence ourselves.. When we are silent we are able to hear God’s voice and come to know Him personally. Do not question or resist His teaching. Allow God’s Word to bathe your soul and to wash away doubt, anxiety, and disappointment. When you are silent you can meditate upon Jesus and what He has done for you. Jesus was silent and meditated upon God’s Word. Learn from Jesus. Listen to Him. When you are silent you can ponder who God is and what God does for you. You can meditate upon your blessings. Allow your heart to be thankful. When you are silent you can call upon the Holy Spirit to guide you in God’s way. You can surrender and repent the things in your life that are not from God. Make silence a cherished discipline and part of your Spiritual growth and life.