Isaiah 53 (ESV)
For Holy Week we are looking at prophecies of the Messiah’s suffering and death that appear in the Old Testament.
Who has believed what he has heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
Hebrews 2:17-18 (NIV)
For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
1 Peter 2:24 (NIV)
“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”
This, of course, is the very heart of the gospel, the good news. Jesus took our place. As Peter puts it,He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross,(1 Peter 2:24). He took our sins and paid the price for them. He had no sins of his own and Scripture is very careful to record the sinlessness of Jesus himself. He was not suffering for his own transgressions, but for the sins of others.
Sin is a disease that has afflicted our entire race. We cannot understand the depth of human depravity until we see the awful agony through which our Lord passed, behold the hours of darkness and hear the terrible orphaned cry,My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?(Matthew 27:46). All this spells out for us what we really are like. Most think of ourselves as decent people, good people. We have not done, perhaps, some of the terrible things that others have done. But when we see in the cross of Jesus, we realize the depth of evil in our hearts and understand that sin is a disease that has infiltrated our whole lives. Man, who was created in the image of God and once wore the glory of his manhood, has become bruised and marred, sick and broken, his conscience ruined, his understanding faulty, his will enfeebled. Genuine integrity and the resolve to do right has been completely undermined in all of us. We know this to be true. No wonder, then, this verse comes as the best of news: He was wounded for our transgressions. The bruising that he felt was the chastisement that we deserved, but it was laid upon him.
The way to lay hold of the redemption of Jesus is to admit thatAll we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned every one to his own way; and then to believe the next line,But the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.He bore our punishment and took our place.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
1 Peter 2:23 (NIV)
When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
9 And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
1 Corinthians 15:26 (NLT)
And the last enemy to be destroyed is death.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.
Fine Lenten Hymn for today: HERE, from Handel’s Messiah — “Surely He hath borne our griefs,” The King’s College, Cambridge. The music is followed by a recitation of a poem, “The Coming,” by R. S. Thomas.