by: Carole L. Haines
I can’t imagine the sight that burned its way into the memory of those who stood before the Cross on that Fateful day of Christ’s Crucifixion. We know the names of some who stood there:
But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He *said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then He *said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From that hour the disciple took her into his own household. (John 19:25b-27)
These followers who loved Him so, were witnesses of His excruciating suffering. The descriptions of these wounds and sufferings of Jesus are hard to look at, hard to even fathom. I can hardly write about them without tears coming to my eyes. I think, “For me, For you, for us, such incomprehensible love. But gazing for a moment, pausing to reflect on our Lord’s Suffering, creates in us a deeper understanding of His love and what that love for us cost Him. So, hang in there and bear with me, as we gaze upon our Suffering Savior.
Jesus bore our griefs, carried our sorrows. He was tortured in four distinct ways. He was pierced, crushed, beaten and whipped. We will look at these wounds much more deeply in the next two days. Four distinct wounds, four distinct afflictions of mankind.
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.
6 All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him. (Isaiah 53:5-6)
He was pierced through for our transgressions:
Polluted, profaned, desecrated; defiled, pierced through or wounded. This is one of the sufferings of Jesus. The nails pierced His hands and feet, the sword pierced His side, the thorns pierced His brow. The act of this wounding, according to the Text, was for our transgressions. Our transgressions are defined as revolt, rebellion, sin. One of the most powerful verses in this Scripture is vs 8:
And as for His generation, who considered
That He was cut off out of the land of the living
For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?
We are the ones to whom the stroke was due. We are the ones who deserved to be pierced for our own transgressions, our own sins.
He was crushed for our iniquities:
Crushed, shattered, bruised, beaten to pieces. It’s difficult to even type those words, let alone imagine what our Lord and Savior suffered. Most of us can’t even watch Mel Gibson’s Masterpiece, The Passion of The Christ, more than once or twice, it’s that realistic. Brave souls watch it every Holy Thursday, I am not one of those brave souls. Isaiah 52:14 speaks even more vividly:
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.
Marred more than any man, beyond recognition, as I’ve heard some say. For what? Our iniquities. Some of the words used to describe what iniquity means are perversity, depravity, crime. As I looked deeper into its meaning, it seems to indicate the propensity to sin, the nature of sin. I have heard it referred to as Habitual sin, something we fall into again and again.
The first two wounds of piercing and crushing dealt with our rebellion and our sin nature, our propensity to sin again and again. Such is the Love of Jesus; such is the love of God. Tomorrow, we will look at the other two wounds. For now, be blessed as you contemplate our Beloved Savior and wait for that Blessed Resurrection Day. It’s Friday, but Sunday’s comin’.