"Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?  For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him" (Isaiah 53:1-2).  Seven hundred years before Jesus came, the prophet Isaiah told the Easter story.  He foresaw the general unbelief of the people.  Though Jesus fulfilled the report of Israel's prophets, yet He was rejected.  He was God's saving power, the "Arm of the Lord", yet the people refused Him because of his everyday appearance.




"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not." (Verse 3).  We know that those who were needy and humble were drawn to the Lord.  But His refusal of sin and worldly values caused the people to despise and reject Him.  The world wants to meet friends that fit in at a party, not a man of sorrows acquainted with grief.
"Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted" (Verse 4).  Reflection tells us that the griefs and sorrows He encountered were not His own but ours.  He could have stayed in heaven instead of coming to this vale of sorrows.  Yet, when His hour came to be nailed to a Roman cross, the people thought he was getting his just desserts.
"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed" (Verse 5).  The real truth is the punishment He received was for my sins.  It was by this payment of the sinner's debt that God made a way to provide forgiveness of sin and salvation from wrath for me.
"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Verse 6).  Who could give the Easter message better than Isaiah did here?  Ours is the guilt.  His was the punishment.  All so salvation can be ours.  We need only turn from our sins and receive the resurrected Saviour by simple faith.
 
 
"LORD, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth.  Gather not my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloody men" (Psalm 26:8-9).




Verse 8 gives a present testimony.  David declared his relationship to the Lord in terms of his love for God's house.  He is speaking of a place of true worship, a place where God's honour was upheld, a place that God could bless with His presence in a special way.  This life of communion with God also meant David refused those worship places that did not honour the Lord.  "I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked" (Psalm 26:5).




Verse 9 gives his future expectation.  He looked for salvation from that judgment of God that would overtake sinners.  Death is compared to a harvest, but there are two different gatherings.  "Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn" (Matthew 13:30c).  David looked to be gathered with the children of God.  Where do you fit into this harvest?
The connection between verses 8 and 9 is clear.  A walk with God in this world will end with the last step taking God's child to His house above.  Jesus confirmed this truth in Matthew 7:14 when He said "narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life".  The narrow path of holiness is the road that ends in heaven.  There is no need for surprise or mystery about your eternity.  "The desire of the righteous is only good: but the expectation of the wicked is wrath" (Proverbs 11:23).
The only thing remaining to make clear is Jesus' instruction about how to get on that narrow road.  In  Matthew 7  we read, "enter ye in at the strait (narrow) gate".  We must get off the broad road that leads to destruction by going through the narrow gate.  We need a personal experience of salvation to set us on the road to heaven.  Jesus is this narrow gate.  One at a time we must repent of our sins and receive Him as our Lord and Saviour.  We are never taught in the Bible to trust our own works, but to trust His work of dying for our sins on the cross and rising again to be the living Saviour.