Christ suffered for us. Christ suffered for me! Throughout Isaiah 53, the gospel narrative is laid out in uncanny prophetic proportions. We see that Christ came - lived among us, lived as one of us - and we see that He suffered in our place. Are there more precious words in all of the Old Testament? Is this not the ultimate theme of the whole counsel of God?
As I meditate on Isaiah's words this morning my mind is also carried away to Paul's:
Christ suffered. Christ, unlike us did not suffer for ANYTHING that He did. Instead, He suffered for EVERYTHING that we did! "Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted."
I will rely much on Matthew Henry this day for His words have been sobering to my own soul.
These sufferings, these griefs, these afflictions were born by the sinless Son of God. These sufferings, these griefs, these afflictions were born on my behalf! Christ suffered and died for me!
I continue with Mr. Henry.
"It is natural to ask with amazement, 'How came it about? What evil had He done?' His enemies esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. Because they hated Him, and persecuted Him, they thought that God did. (It is true that He was God's smitten and afflicted, but not in the sense in which they meant it.)
"He never did anything in the least to deserve this hard usage. Whereas He was charged with perverting the nation, and sowing sedition, it was utterly false; He had done no violence, but went about doing good. And, whereas He was called that deciever, there was no deceit found in His mouth. He never offended either in word or deed. The judge that condemned Him owned that he found no fault in Him, and the centurion that executed Him professed that certainly He was a righteous man."
It was not His sins but ours that brought about all of these things. "It was for our good, and in our stead, that Jesus Christ suffered. It is certain that we are all guilty before God. We have all sinned, and come short of the glory of God: All we like sheep have gone astray. Every particular person stands charged with many actual transgressions. We have gone astray like sheep, which are apt to wander, and are unapt to find the way home again. That is our true character; we are bent to backslide from God, but altogether unable of ourselves to return to him. We turn aside everyone to His own way, and thereby set up our own will, in competition with God and His will, which is the malignity of sin."
"Our sins, our sorrows, our griefs. Our Lord Jesus was appointed and did undertake to make satisfaction for our sins. For the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. The laying of our sins upon Christ implies the taking of them off from us; we shall not fall under the curse of the law if we submit to the grace of the gospel. Our sins were laid upon Him. None but God had power to lay our sins upon Christ, both because the sin was committed against Him, and because Christ was His own Son, who Himself knew no sin. It was the iniquity of us all that was laid on Christ, for in Christ there is a sufficiency of merit for the salvation of all, and a serious offer made of that salvation to all, which excludes none that do not exclude themselves."
Oh, my suffering Servant, my grief bearing God you have taken my sins, griefs, and sorrows upon yourself, help me not to foolishly attempt to pick them up again! Our sin is great, Your grace is greater!
"Stricken, smitten, and afflicted, see Him dying on the tree! 'Tis the Christ by man rejected; yes, my soul, 'tis He, 'tis He! 'Tis the long expected Prophet, David's Son, yet David's Lord; by His Son god now has spoken: 'tis the true and faithful Word.
Tell me, ye who hear Him groaning, was there ever grief like His? Friends thro' fear His cause disowning, foes insulting His distress; many hands were raised to wound Him, none would interpose to save; but the deepest stroke that pierced Him was the stroke that Justice gave.
Ye who think of sin so lightly nor suppose the evil great here may view its nature rightly, here its guilt may estimate. Mark the sacrifice appointed, see who bears the awful load; 'tis the Word, the Lord's Annointed, Son of Man and Son of God.
Here we have a firm foundation, here the refuge of teh lost; Christ's the Rock of our salvation, His the name of which we boast. Lamb of God, for sinners wounded, sacrifice to cancel guilt! None shall ever be confounded who on Him their hope have built."
Thomas Kelly, 1804