“Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off…” Daniel 9:26, NASB
The most lovely tree used to grace the woods across our street—I think it was a weeping cherry. It bloomed every spring, and I delighted in it’s delicate pink flowers. One year I took the photo above in order to capture its loveliness. I’m so glad I did.
You can imagine my sadness when I noticed our neighbor recently cut this treasure down. While a beautiful dogwood remains close by, I regret losing the weeping cherry. That little patch of pink no longer sprinkles the greenery.
But! The stump remains. New life already is sprouting, and one day the flowers will bloom again. I can’t wait.
Isaiah 53:2 describes Jesus figuratively: “He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.”
Daniel 9:26 refers to the Messiah being “cut off,” which repeats this imagery of a plant or tree.
Trees play an important part in Scripture. From the Tree of Good and Evil, to the tree that became Jesus’ cross, to the Tree of Life, we learn valuable lessons.
I’m intrigued by the term, “cut off,” as it applies to the Messiah in Daniel 9:26. Translated from the Hebrew word, karath, this verb grabs my attention. Let’s consider a few of its definitions:
To cut off a part of the body – Jesus is the head of the church, the body of Christ. Granted, the church had not been formed when He died on the cross, but the church never would have formed without Jesus’ sacrifice. He gave Himself—His body on the tree—so we might receive forgiveness and eternal life.
To eliminate – The Jewish leaders recoiled at the thought of Jesus being their Messiah. He didn’t meet their “standards,” and He certainly didn’t leave room for them to maintain control. So they sought to eliminate Him.
To kill – The Lord Jesus Christ is our Creator and Almighty God, yet He willingly submitted to His Father’s will: death on the cross. At the same time, evil men plotted against Jesus and killed him in the most excruciating way possible.
Unlike my favorite weeping cherry tree, our Savior didn’t possess attractive features. Human eyes didn’t gaze on Him with admiration. But for those who cared to peer beyond Jesus’ appearance, the wonder of His character refreshed them like a waft of floral scented air. Beauty they’d never witnessed before dwelt inside this One they knew as Teacher, Messiah, and Lord.
Until the day He was cut off.
When the Messiah was cut off, the joy people felt in His presence and the hope He ignited in their hearts also were cut off. The disciples didn’t understand that in this cutting off, new life began. Jesus Christ rose from the dead three days later. He lives now and forever, giving His people eternal life along with every ounce of joy and hope imaginable.
Despite man’s wicked actions, God secured victory over sin and death in the very act that looked like defeat.
Do you see Christ’s beauty displayed in His sacrifice? He was cut off for you and me, my friends. Receivethe life Jesus gives because He is the vine, and we are the branches (see Jn. 15:5). JESUS IS ALIVE! His beauty exceeds our imagination, and we’ll spend eternity enraptured by Him.