Powerful ponderings from an open pastor:
Always, always, always, do not interpret scripture out of its original context. And I repeat: always, always, always do not interpret scripture out of its original context.
It would be very easy for us at this juncture to read Isaiah 53:1-6 into story of Jesus– to say that the Isaiah writer was actually giving us a prophetic message for what would happen in the incarnation of Christ thousands of years later. And, while yes, we can’t help but understand our reading of anything from Isaiah (and the other prophetic books for that matter) in light of the WHOLE story of the Bible as we read it cover to cover which includes the formation of a new Christian community, we can’t forget the context of the original hearers.
Interestingly, after taking a Spring class called The Cross, I can’t help but continuing to ask the same questions:
Was this, I wondered, what the gospel were really all about? Was the gospel something that can be melted down into a 5 step plan that makes children feel sorry for their sins knowing the Jesus replaced their punishment on the cross?
Maybe the most effect evangelism is being honest about what you are learning with your congregation.