But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities: The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.
Isaiah 53:5 (NASB)
This was the verse impressed upon my heart this week as I pondered what memory verse the kids and I should learn for Easter. You see, we strive to commit a special verse of the Bible to memory at least every other week. Even my five year old will jump in. It really is astounding how quickly someone so young can learn and recite a full verse. He’s even been known to show up his older siblings on occasion.
What’s so special about this verse, though?
Well a lot of things…
At first glance, one might only take the verse at face value. A Christian wouldn’t hesitate to proclaim the “Easter-worthiness” of such a verse. I mean, it’s clearly about Christ’s sacrifice for us, so what’s not to love? The casual onlooker who knows nothing about the passage might shake their head in perplexity or wonder at the vagueness of such a statement.
To the Christian and the casual observer, I say, “This verse is so much more.”
First off, check out that passage. It’s in the book of Isaiah.
Casual observer says, “So what?”
Christian Theology students are saying, “Ooh! Pick me! Pick me!”
Yes, over zealous ones, I’m getting to that.
It’s what we call a prophetic passage. The book of Isaiah is, of course, an Old Testament book, and though its specific pen date is not known, it was written within the time frame of the prophet Isaiah’s ministry, about 740-680 BC. This particular passage is only a portion describing what the future Messiah will suffer for the sake of His people.
Jesus Christ suffered in this exact way in 33 AD.
You do the math.
But this post wasn’t meant to be an apologetics message on the book of Isaiah. No, it’s really about the depth of the message for me this week. You see it hasn’t been the greatest of weeks.
You see, as I write, my grandmother is fighting pancreatic cancer. She took a bad turn this week and Wednesday we honestly thought we were losing her that day – if not the next. By God’s grace she began to pull through and come round again. For how long, we do not know. The outlook is bleak.
But it reminds me of two important things…
- Make the most of each moment because we’re not guaranteed the next.
- All suffering is temporary and we have something greater to look forward to in the end.
Why is that?
Simply because Christ already paid the price.
While we suffer in this mortal flesh, we have only to look on the example of Christ and see that He is not unaware of it. He knew from the beginning what each of us would face. He knows intimately how acute that pain has been, is and will be. He knew it so well, that He sacrificed Himself for us, so that the suffering of this world would not be the only fate for us.
He loves each of us too much to leave us alone.
My grandmother has always feared that she was never good enough to make it to heaven. It’s a constant sentiment she expresses. Each time she said it in my presence, I reminded her what Christ assured me in my heart and would assure you of today.
You can never be good enough to merit heaven. You were born with a sin nature that separates you from God. But Christ died to remove that barrier and restore you to God. He was crushed for your iniquities. He took your sin upon Himself because He knew you couldn’t make the cut on your own.
By HIS STRIPES you are healed.
Let this Easter remind you of the depths of His love…the depths of his sacrifice…the depths of His grace.
And let faith set you free from the burden He already bore on your behalf.