It was in the 1932 World Series that the all-time baseball great Babe Ruth stepped up to bat. Heckled and jeered by the “bench warmers” in the opposing Chicago Cubs’ dugout, he looked at them, then pointed toward the centerfield bleachers. Although it has never been confirmed, it is widely believed the Babe promised to deliver a home run that very moment. Then with two strikes against him, Ruth crushed the next pitch 440 feet deep into the centerfield seats. Many considered it to be the greatest home run of his legendary career.
One of the awesome characteristics of God is the fact that He calls his shots ahead of time. “Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets,”1 proclaimed Amos, a prophet himself. How amazing—and how humbling—this Sovereign over all creation would love us so intimately as to confide in us about His plans and the things that are important to Him!
Of all the Old Testament Messianic prophecies—God shots called in advance—perhaps none describes the first “Holy Week” more clearly than Isaiah 52 and 53. In them, we see the suffering of the Christ who was yet to come: His rejection, disfigurement “beyond human likeness,” crucifixion (“piercing”)—our punishment. Here God also foretells the Messiah’s sacrificial death: His “slaughter,” being “cut off from the land of the living,” and His burial.
These are truly remarkable announcements of things to come 700 years later, yet God had still more to confide, pointing toward an event far beyond the vision of our imaginations: Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. “Though the Lord makes [the Messiah’s] life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days. . . . After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied. . . . I will give him a portion among the great . . . because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors.”
In the first Holy Week, God made good on His word in the person of Jesus Christ. And the new life to which He arose also flows to all who live in Him through faith, for through His suffering, death and resurrection, He would “justify many, and heal their iniquities. . . . He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” How do we know we will rise as He arose? Simple. God has always called his shots ahead of time, and God has always batted a thousand.
Happy Easter, everyone. Christ is risen!
Read Isaiah 52:13—53:12 and take heart at God’s word spoken through Isaiah, the prophet.
1 Amos 3:7