The book of Isaiah.
Written approximately 700 B.C.
Isaiah predicted by divine power the suffering of the Messiah on behalf of humanity.
It’s crazy. Look at this…
He Himself bore our sicknesses, and He carried our pains, but we in turn regarded Him stricken by God, and afflicted (Is 53.4).
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to convince the honest person that we, as human beings, are sick. We have sick bodies from time to time, sick minds, and sick hearts. The extremely sick we put in hospitals, nut-houses, and neighborhood bars. We hope that these proposed remedies will relieve our pain.
The prophet writes that Jesus “bore our sicknesses, and He carried our pains.” How is that possible? How could Jesus have born my diseases and carried my pains? This must not be physical disease or pain. It is of the deepest sort. Isaiah is writing about sin. Jesus bore my sin–that is my great disease. There is something profoundly wrong inside me that always wants to do destructive things. It is the opposite of love.
Jesus did the unthinkable for us. Sin is the cause of all pain and suffering in the world. And what do we think of Jesus bearing that for us? “But we in turn regarded him as struck down by God, and afflicted.” Jesus suffered being beaten and ridiculed and ultimately, falsely accused, maligned, and hung naked on a cross in front of God and everybody.
But he was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds (Is 53.5).
Jesus, you suffered all of that because of my sin. You were crushed because of me. You were innocent, but you assumed my guilt. I was at odds with God, and could not make recompense, but you took the punishment that brought me back into relationship with God. You were wounded. And because of that I am healed.
Jesus, this is absurd. There is no way we could believe this apart from you. You flip everything on its head by love. You give to those who cannot give you anything in return. You came and lived among us. You committed no crimes, but paid the penalty for our crimes. You died, not for good people, but for your enemies, so that you could make them into good people.
Jesus, if you have done all this for me, for us, how can we esteem you so lowly? How can we not love you supremely in response to your unspeakable love? How can we not give ourselves for the sake of others as you gave yourself for us? Let it be, Lord. Let it be. Fix our eyes on you, so that we may lose ourselves and give all to follow you. Fill us with your love. Make us containers for pouring out that love on others. By your wounds we are healed.