Today’s post isn’t particularly deep or profound. It’s just my personal processing on a text that sincerely breaks my heart.
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:4-6)
The Cross should lead us to repentance not pity.
Here’s what Isaiah says in chapter 53: Jesus took on our grief and took on our sorrow, and we took one look at His affliction and reached the conclusion that this guy must surely be the worst of all sinners. He must be really messed up for God to ‘punish’ Him like that.
We were right to see that God afflicted him, we were just wrong about the reason.
He endured the Father’s affliction, not because He was a sinner, but because we were sinners. He was wounded by God on our behalf; for our disobedience. He endured what Isaiah calls being ‘crushed’ so that we could have peace with God.
Let’s take the plural terms out for a second. Read through Isaiah 53:4-6 again. Only this time, replace all the third person plural pronouns (like ‘us’ and ‘we’ for you non-Englishy people) with first person singular pronouns (like ‘I’ and ‘my’).
Read it out loud. I dare you. Do it and see if your heart doesn’t break; see if the words don’t catch in your throat.
Surely he has borne my griefs and carried my sorrows; yet I esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for my transgressions; he was crushed for my iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought me peace, and with his stripes I am healed.
My sweet Savior and mighty God endured the wrath of the Father because of me; because of Fabs. Because of the ways I neglected Him and the ways I belittled him by professing with my life that He doesn’t know what’s best for me. Because in this life I have spent more time than not, spitting in His face and proclaiming to the universe with my actions that my God is ignorant and outdated in His sense of morality.
And I have done this, and I continue to do this, as if it’s no big deal. I have acted as a God hater and an idolater as if it’s nothing. I respond to the mere suggestion of consequence and judgement as if it’s outrageous. I sin so flippantly, it’s as if I believe there is no real consequence. It’s as if I believe the only righteous judge will sit idly by while I blaspheme His name.
I am wrong. I see that in Isaiah. I see that on the Cross.
I am wrong to think none of it really matters. I am wrong to think I can mock God and use Him as some safety net or lucky rabbit’s foot. I am wrong to think that my moments of unbelief bear no real consequence.
If you want to grasp the consequence of your sin, look to the Cross. Look to the wounds on His flesh. Watch the sinless Savior be crushed by the weight of wrath. Watch and see the cost and the price and the penalty of your unbelief. Grasp the reality that mercy doesn’t alleviate justice. Grace doesn’t mean your sin doesn’t matter. Grace doesn’t mean your sin doesn’t have consequence.
Too many of us watch the passion unfold and are filled with pity instead of repentance. Isaiah tells us that we should watch Good Friday fully aware that we are watching a man be executed on our behalf. It was our sin – it was my sin – that held Him there.
He was wounded that I might be healed. He was crushed that I might be remade. He was chastised so that I might know a life of perfect discipline born out of love, not anger.
See what He endured for you. Don’t pity Him. Repent. And worship the greatness of grace and forgiveness.