“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (KJV). Isaiah 53:5 is probably one of the most famous prophesies in the Old Testament about Jesus. We’ve memorized it, quoted it, sang it, and prayed it. That verse generates faith and excitement as not only a prophesy, but also as a promise. I could write multiple devotions on that one verse, but that’s not the verse I’m going to write about today.
I want to look at verse 4, the one right before it. I’ve found that in most cases, many of my favorite memory verses were preceded by powerful verses that gave depth and context to them. This verse is no exception. Verse 4 says, “But he endured the suffering that should have been ours, the pain that we should have borne. All the while we thought that his suffering was punishment sent by God” (GNT). That last sentence is what struck me. We thought (and still think) His suffering was punishment sent by God.
His punishment was not sent by God. It was sent by us. By me. By you. You see, we like putting the bad guy stuff on God while we get to reap the rewards of what He endured, but it wasn’t like that. He was wounded for OUR transgressions. It wasn’t for anything He did to God that made Him deserve it. He was bruised for OUR inequities. He didn’t just die for our sins. He died because of them. The chastisement of OUR peace was upon Him. The burden to find peace and well being shifted from us to Him.
It was because of you and me that He suffered and died. It was OUR sins that nailed Him to the cross. It was our sickness that brought 39 stripes from the Cat of Nine Tails. He was beaten and bruised because of our guilt. And we watched thinking it was God doing it to Him. It’s sobering to think about that, but it’s also enlightening because He freely stepped in and took it knowing what was coming. He demonstrated great love showings that it was not just because of us He was tortured. It was FOR us. He took what should have been our punishment out of love. No wonder He told us that there is no greater love than a man who lays down his life for a friend. You have been and always will be His friend.