A familiar passage that gives us hope and comfort is:
“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows:”(Isaiah 53:4)
But, have we attributed our pain and grief to this passage when it was really His? If you read the previous verses you find that we despised and rejected Him, and because of that He was filled with sorrow and was well acquainted with grief. The next verse says we hid our faces from Him. I think the modern translation would be, “We turned our backs on Him.” And, when He was despised, we did not pay Him the honor and respect He deserved. He was God. He was King. He was a Prince of Heaven, for goodness sake. Because of that, He surely endured the grief of our mistreatment of Him and, was overwhelmed and burdened with sorrow.
So, it was not what we endure in life, not our grief, our sadness, or our injury that He bore here, it was the pain and agony that comes from being rejected by those you love. He did not retaliate, curse, or try to defend Himself. He just kept telling us about the Father’s love, and how He came to secure our freedom from His wrath.
But we, in our foolishness, pride and sin, considered He was being struck down and afflicted by God. But, NO! He took on the wounds for our sin willingly. He was beaten for our iniquities, our failures, our wrong choices, and our rebellion to His law and order. The punishment that would release us and give us peace, was put on Him, and finally, the ripping and tearing of His flesh provided healing for us.
A man, a God, our Heavenly Father, does not go through such a thing and consider the cause of such punishment of no consequence. Like, it’s no big deal if you sin, since you are now forgiven. He does not endure such pain and agony on our behalf unless it is His will to free us from whatever got us trapped in the first place. He does not endure the horrific physical flogging for our healing if He does not want us healed.
It was His desire to release us from His wrath and offer complete forgiveness and restoration that motivated Him to come to us in the first place. This was the only way to demonstrate the reality of His will and desire to love us. There is no greater sacrifice a person can give to prove a point. He tried to warn us, but we would not listen. So, He had to let us continue in the self destructive behavior until we got caught, arrested, imprisoned, sentenced and awaiting our execution. Only then, in dire fear and dread of torture and death, would we see how destructive our sin was.
It seems the Apostle Paul understood this when he said in Hebrews 12:3 and 4,
“For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.”
The word contradiction in the Greek means gainsaying or strife. So, Paul is saying to think about Jesus, who endured gainsaying against Himself from sinners, so that you don’t get weary and give up in your minds. [the place doubt and fear and failure begins] Because, Paul says, you have not yet resisted the sin in your life with the shedding of your own blood.
But, it’s hard to grasp the reality of this when we were not there in person experiencing it. If, however, this was our own Dad who gave his life to save us from some evil mob drug lord, if he got us a new identity far away where we could not be found, and in the process was captured, tortured and died, (even if we did not witness it personally), we would put him in a place of honor, perhaps up on a pedestal, commission a statue to be carved in his honor. At the least, we would hang his picture on the wall, maybe above the mantle, or set it beside our bed to remember him daily. We would further honor his memory by not getting involved with drugs ever again. We would stay clear of any association with those kinds of people. And we would be forever grateful to our Dad for the sacrifice he made. To do anything else would be, … what? idiotic, foolish, stupid, ignorant, totally disrespectful … and, I’m think criminal at best.
“He is despised and rejected of men, a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. And we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:3-5).