Verse of the Day Devotion Isaiah 53:5
“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
Up to Christmas day, I will be looking at the different prophesies which foresee the coming of the promised Messiah, Jesus the Christ. He came here in order to offer the means of salvation for all. An important idea to remember is that God knows everything and forgets nothing. “Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,” Isaiah 46:9-10.
In Isaiah 53, we see one of the most powerful and famous prophecies found in the entire Old Testament. I want to start in the last three verses of the previous chapter to introduce this idea and also help us understand who the prophet was speaking of. “Behold, My servant will prosper, He will be high and lifted up, and greatly exalted. Just as many were astonished at you, My people, So His appearance was marred more than any man, And His form more than the sons of men. Thus He will sprinkle many nations, Kings will shut their mouths on account of Him; For what had not been told them they will see, And what they had not heard they will understand.” Isaiah 52:13-15. Note the words, “marred more than any man.”
Now, as we continue now in chapter 53, we read “Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?” Isaiah 53:1. I believe this essentially refers to God, asking the question “who listens to the message and who exhibits the power of God”. Then the message is presented as we move forward. “For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted.” Isaiah 53:2-4. This speaks that the Messiah will grow up with a humble attitude, one of lowly state, a servant as of no account. He would not come across with any form of majesty. The Jews believed that when the Messiah came He would come in splendor and power. But Jesus came to us in quite a contrary way. And because He did come as a man, He experienced the same griefs men did. And He was despised by men for what He ultimately revealed about Himself. There were some who believed, but the vast majority did not.
Then, including our focus verse, we see the ultimate purpose of His coming. “Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. 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 53:4-5. The Messiah came and bore our griefs, yet they saw Him as someone punished by God and afflicted with all manner of distress. Yes, He was afflicted, however it was not because of what He did, but what we did. He paid the penalty for our sins, not His own, because He had never sinned. “He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.” 1 Peter 2:22-23. And this is why He could pay our penalty, for if He had sinned, His death would only pay His own, not ours. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” 1 Peter 2:24-25.
And this is Christmas. It is the event of God becoming a human being, in the person of Jesus Christ, because God loved us and wanted to provide the means of salvation. And Christmas celebrates the birth of this Savior born to provide this salvation. And because of this, we see the true meaning of Christmas being expressed in one word, love. And we are free from condemnation when we accept this free gift. What an amazing gift, an amazing God, and amazing love.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.