Isaiah 63: God of Justice
I think that we have an interesting picture of Jesus in America. Most of the popular imagery we have is of the gentle Jesus. He has children on His knees or might potentially be patting a lamb on the head.
On one hand, I am glad that we think of Jesus this way because it is true. Jesus came to love all of us, and I don’t want to make that seem insignificant whatsoever. However, if that is the only characteristic of Jesus that we know about, our knowledge is severely incomplete as shown particularly by Isaiah 63. Look at some of this imagery.
Isa 63:3 I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.
Isa 63:4 For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.
Isa 63:5 And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me.
Isa 63:6 And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth.
This is a different picture of Jesus, but I think that it is clearly Him. For example, He claims possession of the redeemed. Those are the ones that belong to God. Also, we know that vengeance belongs to the Lord. Our speaker has the day of vengeance in His heart. I don’t know who else this speaker could be, but it is certainly different than the Jesus you often see in Sunday School.
Why is it? Why do we not like this, or why do we not talk about this very often?
If you read the rest of the chapter, you hear about people who have rebelled again God. These are the people that God then decided to redeem. However, you can’t just have that part. Somehow we have to reconcile that with the vengeance from the beginning, and justice is the important part to remember here. Sin needs to be accounted for, and without the propitiation of Jesus Christ, it cannot be reconciled.
He is just, and justice requires standards. We all deserve separation from God and do not meet the standard of perfection, but because of the love that He showed, we can be redeemed. However, without redemption, we get what we deserve, and that is where that justice comes in.