The suffering servant
“But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was on Him; and with His stripes we ourselves are healed.”
Prophet Isaiah in chapter 52 through 53 foretells of the suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary's tree. Isaiah gives us the minute details as though the crucifixion of Christ had already taken place, it is as though he saw it happen, like someone who was at the foot of the cross the moment it happened. His details are not second hand news but that of an eyewitness, he identifies himself with those who saw it happen and those for whom it was done for.
Charles Spurgeon says this: “This book might well be called the Gospel according to Isaiah, for it is full of evangelical Truth.” Of all the prophets of the Old Testament, Isaiah is the one who gave us a detailed prophecy of the Messiah and in this chapter we are given the account of His death before it happened. (Note that it was almost 700 years before Jesus was actually born when Isaiah wrote this prophecy.) Isaiah gives a more detailed account than what the Gospels actually does.
What is the cross?
Many times we talk about the cross, we sing songs about the cross, “I will cherish the old rugged cross…”, but do we really understand what the cross is? some of us when we think of the cross we think of the wooden beam, some think crucifix that people hang around their necks; some of us think of the movie The passion of Christ and we weep when we see all those terrible things the Romans did to Christ.
If we think of the cross of Christ as having only to do with His physical suffering we lose the point, the main focus is not on His physical suffering but on the spiritual suffering as He drinks the cup of God's wrath for us. Jesus was not the only person who died by crucifixion, many people died on Roman crosses; His Apostles suffered many things after His ascension, some were beheaded and some delivered to wild beasts while some were crucified. in all this they were not afraid, their hearts didn't even fail but they approached their death boldly.
In Gethsemane Christ was sweating drops of blood and He even said “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; …” There was something much more than the physical suffering that Christ had to suffer, The wrath of God was the reason why He was sorrowful, not Judas' kiss or the Roman's beatings though it was part of it. He was about to drink the cup of wrath that would have taken you and me an eternity to drink and He did it in a matter of 3 hours
Why Did He Suffer?
I am going to focus on the reason of Christ's sufferings.
The prophet Daniel speaks of the dying of the Messiah on account of others and not of Himself (Dan 9:26) “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself… “. All true Christians affirm that Jesus died for our sins on Calvary's cross. His dying for us says it all and portrays Jesus as a substitution in His death for us and not for Himself. If Messiah was to be cut off for Himself then his death would not mean anything to us but would place Him in our category of being needy and desperate of a Savior.
Looking closely at the life of Jesus while on earth we see He was unique, sinless and Righteous. Born of a virgin and lived all His life under the obedience of God Almighty, there was never a time when He sinned in His entire life or any internal thought of wickedness. He was not affected by the original sin like us. His human nature was a complete human nature like ours. Tempted like we are tempted and yet without sin (Heb4:15). He remains as the only perfect human being who walked the earth, and there will never be another.
When we hear of His betrayal, arrest and crucifixion we cannot help but ask ourselves the question why did He have to die for us sinners seeing that He is perfect and does not deserve death, what motivates Him to endure such an awful catastrophe? . Isaiah labors much in this Messianic prophecy to explain the reason and purpose of His Death. Isaiah uses the words “for our”, to show that Jesus suffered not for His sins, but the sins of others. And it makes sense in that if He had sin, how would He be able to atone for our sins needing a savior Himself for His sin. He was sin-less, in all the trials He was delivered to, none could condemn Him of any sin, many attempts were made to bring false accusation but still they could not prevail. Even Pontus Pilate could not find any Fault in Him but yet He was delivered to be crucified anyway, this then only took place through the foreordination of God.
(John 10:18) “No man takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”
Who put Him on the cross?
He was wounded for our transgression; it was because of us He was put to death on the cross. If you ask me who put Jesus on the cross and I'll simply say we did it. Had we not corrupted ourselves with the filth of this world and filled our thoughts with wickedness loving darkness rather than light (John 3:19) Jesus would not have died. But since man is evil from his youth (Gen8:21) and conceived in iniquity (Psa 51:5), his relationship with God is broken, we are at enmity with God. Unless God rescues us from this terrible condition we perish.
God sent Jesus to come and die on our behalf, a substitution death to redeem us from the wrath of God and the bondage of sin through His blood. His death is necessary for us, “if Jesus is not executed there's no celebration”(Unknown). Isaiah says in verse 4 of chapter 53: “Surely he hath borne our grief, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” He took upon Himself the punishment that should have come to us because we deserve it, but instead God crushed Him so hard that they even thought that God was punishing Jesus for His own crimes. We have sinned and deserve God's just wrath and his punishment for sin but at the cross all that happened in reverse, Jesus stood in our position before God and received what you and I deserved, to be crushed and chastised. “By His stripes we are healed.”
The death of Christ propitiated for the sins of all the believers, the word propitiate means to appease or to turn away in satisfaction, and in this context it refers to the turning away of God”™s wrath. Christ died to appease the wrath of God that was set against you and me, He drank it all and made Peace between God and us by the blood of His cross. You will never understand Romans 8:1 until you understand what propitiation means. There is no more wrath for us Christians, He drank it all
Paul in 1Corrinthians 15:10 says: “I am what I am by the grace of God.” This grace is communicated to us through the death of Jesus Christ and He is our access to God and His grace. Apart from Jesus there is no life at all and it's just vanity of vanities (Ecc 1:2). We all need Jesus and He alone is able to save
Soli Deo Gloria