The cost of grace
But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us. We thought he brought it on himself, that God was punishing him for his own failures. But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins! He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed. We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost. We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way. And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong, on him, on him. (Isaiah 53:4-6)
As my pastor read this passage from the NIV yesterday, I was reading along in The Message translation and these words just popped out with such meaning. Read them a couple of times, if you will, and see if God doesn't just speak a bit louder to you about the tremendous gift of grace he has given each of us through the finished work of his Son, Jesus. A couple of things really spoke to me:
- It was OUR pains he CARRIED. If the cross wasn't heavy enough, he carried another load to the cross - our pain. All the things which 'disfigure' our lives - more than crooked bones, cancers, and diseases galore - EVERYTHING that 'disfigures' our lives was upon his shoulders. Everything that defiles our lives was taken to the cross. However short or long that journey was for Christ, he bore not only the weight of the timber cross, but the burden of our disfigurement.
- We might have thought we were the ones being punished for our sins, but all that defiled us was put upon him. He bore the TOTAL punishment. Not just physically, but emotionally, and I daresay spiritually, as well. Remember, there was that moment in time when he prayed and it was as though all of heaven was 'closed' to him. He felt alone, isolated, and the pressures of all that 'punishment' was fully upon him.
- All of us have done our own thing, gone our own way. No matter how good we think we might have been, nothing we have done will ever do what has been done for us already in the work of the cross. EVERYTHING we have done (even those unrealized sins) were placed fully upon him. Stripped, beaten, hurting beyond measure, he bore those things without complaint or anger. Did he want to be out from under the burden? It may come as a surprise to you, but when he asked his heavenly Father if there was any other way, he was maybe facing a bit of fear over what would come next for him. Even our fears were part of his walk to the cross.
We might not realize perfect healing in our physical bodies until we reach heaven's gates, but trust me on this one - we HAVE healing. We may not realize the depth or breadth of our need for a Savior - our 'sin' may not seem that big. We ALL needed that finished work - we ALL can say we deserve way more punishment that we do grace. Grace is a gift, but that gift had a steep price! Just sayin!