TO CHEW ON: "He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities.
The chastisement of our peace was upon Him
And by His stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:5
Today's magnificent reading is Isaiah's final Servant Song. A footnote in my Bible describes it: "...one of the greatest passages in the Bible, the mountain peak of Isaiah's book, the most sublime messianic prophecy in the Old Testament, relating to so many features of Jesus Christ's redemptive work" - New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 936.
This passage is teeming with prophecies fulfilled through Jesus (listed in a sidebar article in my Bible - p. 937):
- He will be exalted (Isaiah 52:13) - Philippians 2:9.
- He will be disfigured by suffering (Isaiah 52:14; 53:2) - Mark 15:17,19.
- He will be widely rejected (Isaiah 53:1,3) - John 12:37-38.
- He will bear our sins and sorrows (Isaiah 53:4) - Romans 4:25; 1 Peter 2: 24-25.
- He will make a blood atonement (Isaiah 53:5) - Romans 3:25.
- He will be our substitute (Isaiah 53:6,8) - 2 Corinthians 5:21.
- He will stand silently, giving no defence (Isaiah 53:7) - Matthew 26:63; 27:12-14.
- He will voluntarily accept our guilt and punishment (Isaiah 53:7) - John 10:11.
- He will be buried in a rich man's tomb (Isaiah 53:9) - John 19:38-42.
- He will justify many from their sin (Isaiah 53:10,11) - Romans 5:15-19.
- He will die with transgressors (Isaiah 53:12) - Mark 15:27; Luke 22:37.
What I am most struck by, though, is the tenderness of Isaiah's writing as He depicts this Servant. There is no doubt this is God, the Holy Spirit inspiring Isaiah. It is God the Father seeing Jesus through Isaiah's eyes, describing His one and only Son through Isaiah's pen:
"His visage was marred...He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant.... He is despised and rejected...He was wounded...He was bruised... He was oppressed and He was afflicted...He was taken...He was cut off..."
At the same time, it is Isaiah's regret-filled reaction:
"And we hid as it were, our faces from Him. He was despised and we did not esteem Him... Surely He has borne out griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken by God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities..."
It's as if he is saying "What have we done?"
That is the emotional response that wells up in me as I read this. And not only what have "we" done, but what have "I" done? I doubt that I would have been much different from the people in Jesus' time who scorned and accused Him, who refused to realize He was dying not for His own sins but theirs (Isaiah 53:4-5). I too am a sheep who has gone astray in the past and still easily wanders.
I turn my eyes away. I can't look as this "tender plant" is "cut off" for me. Thank You Jesus!
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank You for taking my sin on You. Thank You for enduring all the pain, humiliation and undeserved blame to buy me back. Words feel inadequate to describe what You've done, and how much I am indebted to You. Thank You over and over! Amen
MORE: When I Survey the Wondrous Cross - Kathryn Scott
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.