We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 53 describes Jesus growing up as a tender shoot, marred beyond recognition as He went to the cross, a man of sorrow familiar with suffering. It is a sobering thought to think about the sufferings of Christ.
The death that He suffered was what we deserved, yet our sins were laid on Him even though He was sinless. Man was created in God’s image but allowed sin to infiltrate his life. We were separated from God by the sin in our human hearts: We all, like sheep, have gone astray. (Isaiah 53:6) But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)
Sin, our rebellion against God, mortally wounded humanity, bringing about physical and spiritual sickness and death.
Jesus knew that His time had come to judge the prince of the world (Satan), and He willingly went to the cross: The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life – only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. (John 10:17-18) Jesus willingly laid His life down so that our sins would be forgiven, and we could be reconciled to God. He had the authority to lay it down and the authority to take it up again. (v.18)
We are like sheep, gone astray, turning to our own way. The picture of the shepherd who cares for his sheep is the picture of Jesus as He leads His sheep out of harm’s way: I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. (v.7-8) Jesus is the gateway to forgiveness, and when He hung on the cross as our sins were heavy upon His soul, He cried out to His Father. He had not been separated from His Father, but as He carried our sins to the cross, the separation was unbearable: He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows…
We are forgiven and healed by the completed work on the cross.
Jesus Christ bore our sins, healed our wounds, and set us free!
Heavenly Father, I have taken for granted what You did for me on the cross. I have looked the other way, not wanting to picture Your agony and suffering – only receiving the benefits of Your grace and salvation. My heart grieves that I have been so blind. Help me remember the great cost You paid for a debt that You didn’t even owe. In Jesus’ name, Amen