The Atonement: The Ordeal of the Suffering Servant, Part 2.

“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:4-6)

Isaiah 53:4-6 forms the middle section of the five portions of Isaiah’s fourth Servant Song of Yahweh (Isaiah 52:13-53:12). These three verses form what is arguably the most significant statement of substitutionary atonement contained in the Old Testament. Everything Isaiah has written thus far, and everything he will subsequently say, frames these three verses.

Today, we examine Isaiah 53:5. “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.”

But he was pierced for our transgressions.” Isaiah 53:5 begins with the conjunction “but.” The word indicates a contrast in what has been written prior to this verse. The prophet wanted to make sure that there was not misunderstanding as to why the Messiah, Jesus Christ, would die on the cross. It would be on behalf of the sinner. It would be on behalf of His people.

The phrase “he was pierced” literally means the penetration of a sharp object into the body which can harm, wound and even kill. The subject remains the Servant of Yahweh. The question is then asked: why was he pierced? The answer is given in the second half of the sentence: “for our transgressions.” The word “transgressions” means defiance to authority, rebelliousness, wrongdoing and the committing of a crime. Notice that these acts were ours, and not His.

Also notice the small word “for.” It means in behalf of, in lieu of, in place of, or instead of. In the Greek language of the New Testament, it is the word “huper.” The late Swiss theologian Karl Barth once remarked that, in his evaluation, the word “huper” was the single, most important word in all of the Greek New Testament. Isaiah was calling attention to the fact that Jesus Christ would die on the sinner’s behalf.

“He was crushed for our iniquities.” The Servant was bruised, beaten, and oppressed because of our misdeeds, sin and the resulting guilt caused by our wickedness.

“Upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace.” The Servant received the chastening, punishment and the judicial penalty which would bring to sinners completeness, soundness and safeness from the wrath of God.

Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:7-10 says, “For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.”

“And with his wounds we are healed.” The wounds and pain Jesus endured on His people’s behalf resulted in healing. Many take this verse to mean strictly physical healing. It becomes a proof text for health and wealth preaching. However, the word “healed” means to be put into a right state, eventually cured of the sickness of soul and the state of sinfulness, which is the core reason we physically die. It means to be justified.

I Peter 2:24 says, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.”

Have you repented of your sins and received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? His work on the cross is the only means by which sinners can be justified and reconciled before God the Father. Trust in Him as the only One who can save you from the penalty, power and eventual presence of your sin.

Meditate upon the word by Keith and Kristyn Getty entitled Beneath the Cross of Jesus. 

Beneath the cross of Jesus
I find a place to stand,
And wonder at such mercy
That calls me as I am;
For hands that should discard me
Hold wounds which tell me, “Come.”
Beneath the cross of Jesus
My unworthy soul is won.

Beneath the cross of Jesus
His family is my own—
Once strangers chasing selfish dreams,
Now one through grace alone.
How could I now dishonor
The ones that You have loved?
Beneath the cross of Jesus
See the children called by God.

Beneath the cross of Jesus—
The path before the crown—
We follow in His footsteps
Where promised hope is found.
How great the joy before us
To be His perfect bride;
Beneath the cross of Jesus
We will gladly live our lives.

May God’s truth and grace reside here.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

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