“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 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.” (Isaiah 53_4+5/KJV).
From Our Perspective
Things are not always as they appear to be. Yet we tend to rely on our senses and on our interpretation of what we perceive.
There is nothing wrong with careful observation. But the question is what we make of what we see.
Apparently it was very common in the ancient world for people to think that anybody who was in trouble was rightly so. Even today fatalism is an aspect of some of the major world religions.
If you ever have read the book of Job you will have noticed how Job’s friends concluded that Job’s misfortune and physical suffering was a divine punishment because of some unrighteousness he had committed. They were not prepared to accept what Job said in defending himself.
In John 9 we read of Jesus and his disciples coming across a man who had been blind from his birth. The disciples were wondering why he was so sick. Was his blindness because of his own sin or perhaps due to some sin of his parents?
In Isaiah 53 the prophet spoke of one was full of pain and suffering. He says that we concluded he was smitten by God.
In fact when we look at the crucifixion of Jesus we find that he had been condemned by those who then were the religious leaders of the Jews. It was easy to look at him as one who was smitten by God.
“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities “.
You might take this sentence to mean that we were involved in inflicting this suffering upon him. We were doing wrong in causing him such severe affliction.
Yet there is more to these words. As we read on we learn that it was for our peace that he has been suffering.
The bible is very clear in saying that we all, i.e. all humankind have been affected by sin. We have done things that were wrong and we have failed in doing that which is good. We have not given God the honour due unto his name.
Now here in the book of Isaiah we already find a concept that has been avidly proclaimed in the New Testament. At the same time this was not really a new idea. If you study the laws for sin offerings in the Old Testament you also find that sin was laid on the animal brought before God. On the Day of Atonement also the scapegoat was sent into the desert with the sins of the people laid on it.
Still Isaiah and the New Testament go beyond the teachings of the sacrificial system in the Law of Moses. To Isaiah it is the servant of God who is suffering that way. In the gospels and the NT epistles we find that the Son of God also called the Son of Man himself vicariously took upon him the punishment that we would have deserved.
Re. Our Waywardness
In reading on we learn: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Verse 6).
When you are in difficulties you are prone to regrets, thinking: ‘O had I done this or that differently, maybe I could have spared myself some of this heartbreak.’ Yet also as we expose ourselves to the teachings of the bible we are challenged to reflect and to reconsider our ways.
In many ways we are just like sheep. We tend to stray from that which is good and required by God.
Will you pause and have a look at Christ and his suffering on that cross. He bore all our sins. He took upon him the punishment we would deserve.
This is for our peace. Will you allow that love that “beareth all things” to change your life?