Friday, May 18, 2012
"Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
and our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
smitten of God and afflicted."
The description of our Savior continues in Isaiah 53 and is incredibly accurate, considering it was written hundreds of years before Christ was crucified. Some believe that Isaiah is misdated because of the accuracy, but the Dead Sea Scrolls put that belief to rest.
Katherine and I were talking about this verse a few days ago and we both mentioned that "He Himself" and "we ourselves" were definitive terms. They are repetitive for a reason. Let me explain this way:
You go to your husband's company Christmas dinner at a fancy restaurant. As you are leaving, a co-worker of your husband leans over and says, "Be sure to thank Jerry (the company accountant). He paid for this dinner." Well, of course he did - he probably has the company credit card, right? But if your friend said, "Be sure to thank Jerry - he paid for this himself..." that would mean something completely different.
When Isaiah adds "Himself" to "He," he makes it personal. Jesus Christ, Himself - personal and alone - bore our griefs and carried our sorrows. Take a minute and think about that. What are our griefs and sorrows? This encompasses way more than just when we cry over the death of a loved one - it means the grief and sorrow that comes as a result of our sin. The consequences of our sin cause great grief and sorrow - broken relationships, loss of reputation, loss of integrity and trust, shattered dreams, embarrassment, broken fellowship with God - the list goes on and on. This is the grief and sorrow Jesus bore and carried.
So what did that look like? II Cor. 5:21 says that God made Jesus become sin who knew no sin that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. When Jesus took on our sin it affected Him. He bore it. He carried it. He knows the weight of sin and paid the price for our guilt and shame. He did it Himself.
When Isaiah says "we ourselves," he makes this personal as well. Jesus didn't die for the sins of humanity. He died specifically for our sin. And when we see how Jesus was ridiculed and treated, bearing our sin, we have to personalize it and take ownership of the sin He bore.
I also think it's interesting that as Jesus was dying for me, I was looking at His misery and justifying it as God's judgment on Him, rather than God's judgment on me placed on Him. It was as if I was self-righteously pointing my finger at Him and saying, "Look at how miserable He is. He gets what He deserves. You reap what you sow and God is dealing with this self-proclaimed false messiah."
Ugh. I didn't even like typing that, but it's a reality. Isaiah makes this too personal to ignore. It reminds me of Job's friends condemning him because of the great tribulation he found himself in. How often do we look at other's afflictions and think they are cursed of God? "Oh, Kristen, I never do that - that would be so presumptive!" But we did it with Jesus - that's what Isaiah tells us. Ugh again. I really hate this reality.
Until we see the ugliness of our sinful state before a holy God and OWN it, we'll never taste the sweet goodness of mercy and grace in its fullness.