Irony is at times a convicting thing. When a fire station burns down, there is an impact. Something happened. Was it faulty wiring? Possibly a failure in building codes. Was it human error? Possibly firemen need more training. Did the chimney need sweeping? Perhaps they needed to heed their own public service warnings. Regardless, when something happens or an ignorance is portrayed publicly where one should be an expert, and the supposed ignorant actually display great insight it is the epitome of irony. The simple wisdom of a child is probably the most poignant example in our daily lives.
In John 12:19-26 we have one of these ironies. It harkens back to the great ironic appearance of the Magi from the East at Christ’s birth. You have often heard me ask, why do these gentiles know to follow the star, yet the Pharisees, Scribes and Sadducees did not? Why did Herod’s advisors find the evidence in scripture to follow the star and the sage soothsayers of the temple completely missed these humble truths?
These prophecies and hopes should be the very things they should be teaching the downtrodden of Israel in the first century – that the Messiah is coming! Regardless the pain and suffering of this world, Isaiah 53 will become manifest. The messiah will fulfill all these prophecies.
The Christ will grow up a tender plant in a barren ground like ours. He be despised just as Jesus of Nazareth is. He will be filled with sorrow and acquainted with grief, do you remember is weeping (Jhn 11:35). He will be despised and rejected, and Jesus is just such a man. Further to that He will accomplish many things for our salvation. He will bear our griefs, carry our sorrows. He will be wounded for our transgressions. The glory He speaks of will accomplish his being stricken, smitten of God and afflicted for us. God will chastise Him in order to make peace with mankind. With His stripes we will receive healing.
However, Isaiah 53:6 tells us other things as well. We are like sheep. We all go astray. We all fall away from Him toward our own concerns. This is what these Israeli leaders did. Instead of looking for God’s glory, they look for glory among men, glory and approval among the worldly. This is sinful and this sin is laid upon the Lord for the salvation of the world.
Like the Magi from the east, these gentiles looked to this salvation, looked to the reconciliation through Jesus with the one true God, sought release from their sin and assurance of eternal life. Apparently they may have known it, the Jews didn’t, certainly their spiritual leadership did not.