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. Isaiah 53:6 (NASB)Common language skills tell us that the words “ALL OF US” in this passage refers to you and me. The phrase “LIKE SHEEP” compares us with those wooly creatures who, if you have ever spent much time around them, provide consistent evidence of lack --- lack of stellar intellect, lack of self-direction, lack of awareness, the list could go on and on. They provide beautiful wool for my sweaters; but let’s face it, the comparison of people with sheep is anything but complimentary to the people. We often lack intelligence, self-direction, and awareness, too, most especially when trying to follow our Shepherd; hence, the phrase “GONE ASTRAY.”
And to where have we all strayed? To the happy land of “self.” In our sinful state, we spend most of our waking hours concerned with our own lives, our own goals, and our own problems. We don’t spend a lot of time worrying about others or what the Lord thinks is important. We can’t help it; it is just the way we are. In the Lutheran church, we confess these words, or something similar, in our liturgy on a regular basis:
We are by nature sinful and unclean and have sinned against God by our thoughts, words, and deeds.And just who is going to rescue us from this condition, assuming that to remain in such a sinful state would be detrimental to our eternal health? Christ, of course; hence the phrase “BUT THE LORD HAS CAUSED THE INIQUITY OF US ALL TO FALL ON HIM.” Jesus took all the punishment for all the sins of all the people ever born (and whoever will be born). As a stray sheep, I can do nothing to save myself. I need Christ to stand in my stead, to provide the covering for my sin that I cannot provide for myself. In the words of my pastor:
I can wear a coat of righteous wool shorn from the Lamb of God Himself.That coat is a free gift provided for each of us. All we need to do is accept it.