The High Price of Peace
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - May 26, 2014
*[PIC 1] One of the most famous pictures of World War II is of five brave Marines raising the American flag on the island of Iwo Jima. More than five thousand Marines gave their lives in that horrific battle. Think about that: 5,000 Marines gave their lives to capture an 8-square-mile island from the Japanese. They did that, because the life of our nation and the lives of freedom-loving people all over the world depended on it.
*[PIC 2] Today there is a large statue to honor the men who fought and died in that terrible battle. The statue is based on this picture, and it is just across the Potomac River from Washington D.C.
*The man in the center of the Iwo Jima picture was John Bradley. After the war, Bradley moved back to Antigo, Wisconsin, married his high school sweetheart, and raised a family. John Bradley won the Navy Cross for saving a fellow Marine's life, but he preferred not to talk about the war. And he absolutely refused to accept the hero worship that others tried to put on him. When his young son James said something to his Dad about being a hero, John Bradley replied: "The heroes of Iwo Jima are the guys who didn't come back." (1)
*Our veterans would say the same thing. Tomorrow is Memorial Day and it should be much more than a day-off for us. We should remember the over one million men and women who sacrificed their lives to help make us free and keep us free.
*Today we are talking about the high price of peace, and the high price of peace is death. Someone had to die. But the only one who could die to give us peace with God was Jesus Christ. God led Isaiah to prophesy this great truth 700 years before Jesus was born. So, on this Memorial Day weekend we remember those who died for our country, and we remember Jesus.
1. We remember Jesus, because He is the one who stood in our shoes.
*Church: That's what Jesus did. He stood in our shoes.
 There will be times when we feel undesirable and ugly. Verse 2 reminds us that Jesus has been there. As Isaiah said, "He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him."
 There will be times when we feel lonely, despised and rejected. Jesus has been there. In the first part of vs. 3: "He is despised and rejected by men. . . And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him."
 There will be times when we are in sorrow and grief. Jesus has been there. In vs. 3, He was "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief."
 There will also be times when we are bruised and in pain. Jesus has been there too. In the first part of vs. 5: "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities."
*Whatever you are going through, and whatever you will go through, the Lord Jesus understands, because He has been there too. And He went there for us! In vs. 4: "Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows"
*In James Michener's historical novel "Hawaii," an old man got sick with the terrible disease of leprosy. The year was 1870, and lepers were outcasts in Hawaiian society. They were forced to live in leper colonies far from their loved ones.
*When the old man shared this sad news with his family. His wife knelt down before him and offered herself to be his "kokua." A kokua was a healthy person who willingly committed to go with and nurse a patient with leprosy. These kokuas moved to the leper colony and ran the risk of also catching that horrible, crippling, incurable disease. So before they were allowed on the ship that took them away from home, an official would stand on the deck and ask them: "Are you sure you know what you're doing?" (2)
*The kokuas had to be willing to take on the disease. They had to be willing to stand in the leper's shoes, and that is exactly what Jesus did for us. So we remember the one who stood in our shoes.
2. And we remember the one who brings our blessings.
*Jesus Christ brings our blessings! Think about the blessings of peace and healing we see at the end of vs. 5. There God's Word says this about Jesus: "The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. These are just two of the great blessings Jesus wants to give His people.
 Healing: By the stripes of Jesus Christ we are healed!
*What kind of healing is He talking about here? The best answer is: All kinds! -- Physical, emotional, spiritual, and the eternal healing believers get when we go to Heaven.
*Let me talk about physical healing for a moment. Some people think that they were healed by the doctor or surgery or medicine. And surely God uses all three. But all healing ultimately comes from God. He is the source of all of our blessings!
 And one day He will bring the blessing of peace to this whole world!
*One of the greatest periods of peace will be when the Lord Jesus returns to reign on earth for a thousand years. Isaiah 2:1-4 describes that future time of peace with these words:
1. The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
2. Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it.
3. Many people shall come and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; he will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.'' For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
4. He shall judge between the nations, and shall rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.
*And yes, Revelation 20 tells us that there will be one more major battle after that. But Jesus Christ is in the process of bringing universal peace.
*Robert Capa was a famous photographer who specialized in taking pictures of war. He recorded some of the most intense moments of the Spanish-American War and World War II. In 1954, while on assignment in Indochina, Robert Capa was killed by a land mine. Mr. Capa used to joke that hopefully one day his business card would say: "Robert Capa, War Photographer -- Unemployed" Someday, all war photographers will be unemployed. But that is a blessing that can only come from the Lord Jesus Christ. (3)
*Someday, God will bring the blessing of peace to His world! But right now, you can have the greatest peace of all! Right now, through the Lord Jesus Christ, you can have peace with God. That's why Romans 5:1-2 says this to all Christians:
1. Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
2. through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
*You can have peace with God and peace in your heart, knowing that one day Jesus Christ will bring the blessing of peace to this whole world! All real blessings come through the Lord Jesus, so, we remember the one who brings our blessings.
3. And we remember the one who suffered for our sins.
*In today's Scripture, Jesus Christ is the suffering Lamb, and He suffered for our sins. God's Word stresses this truth for us seven different times in vs. 5&6. Seven times in two verses!
5. But He was wounded for OUR transgressions, He was bruised for OUR iniquities; the chastisement for OUR peace was upon Him, and by His stripes WE are healed.
6. ALL WE like sheep have gone astray; WE have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity OF US ALL.
*Jesus Christ suffered and died on the cross to take the punishment for our sins. He took on this mission with the strongest commitment, and we begin to see the Lord's commitment in vs. 7: "He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth."
*This prophecy was fulfilled during the trials of Jesus in the hours before the cross: First before the chief priests in Matthew 26:
59. Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death,
60. but found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none. But at last two false witnesses came forward
61. and said, "This fellow said, 'I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.'''
62. And the high priest arose and said to Him, "Do You answer nothing? What is it that these men testify against You?''
63. But Jesus kept silent. . .
*And Jesus remained silent until the high priest forced Him to say under oath whether or not He was the Son of God. The high priest said:
63. . . "I adjure you by the living God that You tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God.''
64. (Then) Jesus said to him, "It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.''
*Jesus was also silent when He was on trial before the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate. In Matthew 27:11-14:
11. . . Jesus stood before the governor. And the governor asked Him, saying, "Are You the King of the Jews?'' So Jesus said to him, "It is as you say.''
12. And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing.
13. Then Pilate said to Him, "Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?''
14. And He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly.
*Pilate was amazed by Christ's silence in the face of His murderous accusers. Jesus uttered not one word of protest, when a word was all it would have taken to end that travesty of a trial.
*Earlier in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus had asked the disciples: "Do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than 12 legions of angels?" (Matthew 26:53). Church that is over 70,000 angels! Jesus could have easily called for help. For that matter, He could have handled all the armies of Rome all by Himself.
*But Jesus was silent before His accusers. And why was He silent? -- Because He was immovably committed to go to the cross for us! Jesus was totally committed to suffer for our sins, and we see more of the Lord's commitment in vs. 8&9. There Isaiah said:
8. He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
9. And they made His grave with the wicked but with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth.
*Verse 9 says: "They made His grave with the wicked, BECAUSE He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth." For years that verse confused me, but it is really very simple: Jesus died, not because He was bad, but because He was good.
*Jesus Christ is the only perfect man who ever lived. He was the only spotless Lamb who could ever die for the sins of the world. That is why vs. 10 says: "It pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin . . ." God the Father made His Son, our Savior, a sacrificial offering for our sins!
*And in vs. 11, we see that our Heavenly Father was fully satisfied with the cross. "He shall see the travail of His soul, and be satisfied." The Heavenly Father was satisfied, because of the perfect obedience of His Son, Jesus Christ. And the Heavenly Father was satisfied, because our sin debt had been paid in full.
*He was also pleased back in vs. 10, because the Father loves us, and because He knew that Christ's suffering was the only way for us to be saved. God the Father was so pleased in vs. 10 that He prolonged the days of His Son. Jesus Christ rose again from the dead!
*And by receiving the Risen Son of God as our Lord and Savior, we are justified. That's why vs. 11 says this about Jesus: "By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities."
*Believers: Jesus took our sins on the cross, so we are justified. And it really is just-as-if-I'd-never-sinned, because in vs. 12, Jesus "poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." That is why on this Memorial Day Weekend, we remember Jesus.
*But we also remember those who died for our country, because if it wasn't for their sacrifice, we might have never even heard of Jesus. And their sacrifice is a picture of what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for us all.
*Melvin Newland is one of my favorite preachers. Please listen to a small part of Melvin's testimony about his missionary family during World War II.
*"My family – my parents, a younger sister, and two younger brothers – were prisoners of the Japanese during World War II. When they had set sail for the Philippines in January of 1941, I had been left behind for further schooling, with plans for me to join them later. But then came Pearl Harbor, the start of World War II, and the Japanese invasion of the Philippines.
*For most of the war years there was no news concerning what had happened to them. I didn't know whether they were alive or dead. I learned later that when the Japanese invaded their island that they decided not to surrender, but to flee into the interior, to live and minister in the high jungles among the primitive mountain peoples. For six months they lived up in the mountains, and were even able to start four churches among the mountain peoples.
*After an extensive search, the Japanese printed leaflets, and began dropping them by airplane all over the island. They set a deadline for my family's surrender, and warned them that after that deadline no mercy would be shown, and that they would be shot on sight. So they finally surrendered and were prisoners for almost 3 years.
*At first, as civilians, they were not too badly treated. But then, when the tide of war turned against the Japanese, all foreign prisoners throughout the islands were moved to Manila. And there the Japanese Army began taking out its anger on them, deliberately starving them – men, women and children – even while the prison storehouses were filled with food.
*For the last 10 months of their imprisonment, they received only one watery cup of rice per day, plus salt and any weeds, grass, tree leaves or bugs that they could find to eat. During the last few weeks of their imprisonment an average of 7 men a day died of starvation. My father, who normally weighed over 175 lbs., weighed only 95 lbs. when they were rescued.
*Yes, they were rescued! On February 3rd, 1945, the American Army was still 60 miles away from Manila. On that day, they learned that the Japanese Commandants of the Prisons had received orders that on the next morning all male prisoners in both the civilian and military prisons were to be executed. And that the women and children were to be used as human shields against the American forces.
*That's when 900 men of the First Cavalry Division were given orders to get into their tanks and trucks, and in the darkness of night, to barrel their way as fast as they could right down the highway, through 60 miles of enemy territory, making as much noise as they could to make the Japanese think that the entire Army was behind them. That night these 900 brave men, on what might have very well been considered a 'suicide mission,' crashed though the enemy lines, and charged into a city containing nearly 50,000 Japanese soldiers.
*They broke into the military and civilian prisons, and held them secure against repeated counterattacks for almost 3 weeks, until the rest of the American forces fought their way into Manila to relieve them. It was because of them that my family and many others were saved. And I will never forget their bravery and the sacrifice that they made. (4)
*Church: This same kind of sacrifice and courage is being shown by our Armed Forces today. We must never forget that. But as believers we know that an even higher price has been paid for us, the highest price of all. Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, and rose again forever to save anyone who will put their trust in Him.
*So trust in the Lord! And on this Memorial Day Weekend remember those who died for our country, and remember Jesus Christ.
(1) James Bradley with Ron Powers, "The Man in the Photograph," Flags of our Fathers - Reprinted in Reader's Digest, Nov. 2000, pp. 125-129 - Source: "Memorial Day" by Angela Akers - John 15: 12-17 - Dynamic Preaching sermon - May #6 - 2002
(2) Illustration by Steve Stephens in "Answers to Life's Most Perplexing Problems" - compiled by John Van Diest - Sisters, OR: Multnomah Books, 1998 - pp. 63-64 - Source: Dynamic Preaching sermon "Loving from the Heart" - I Peter 1:17-23 - 2nd Sunday of April, 2002
(3) Allison Adato, "Camera at Work" - Life Magazine - March 1997 - pp. 98-100 - Source: "Dynamic Preaching" sermon "Your Heart a Manger" - Isaiah 2:1-5 - 2nd Sunday in December, 2001
(4) SermonCentral sermon "There Is a Purpose" by Melvin Newland - Ecclesiastes 1:2-11