As I set my mind on Good Friday, I felt drawn to Isaiah 53. I’ve read it over and over again, trying to comprehend the emotional pain and suffering of Christ.
Verses 5-6 tells us:
“But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (NKJV, emphasis added)
The word iniquity here refers to our twisted nature; the very thing inside of us that makes us sin. Paul expresses his own iniquity in Romans 7:18-19:
“For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” (ESV)
Jesus is the only man to ever live without a sinful nature. Yet, he felt what it was like; because up on the cross, God placed the iniquity of the world upon him. And not just the iniquity of those living at the time, but of all who would come, including the iniquity of you and of me.
Can you image the inner turmoil of Jesus during the dark hours on the cross?
Pastor Joe Focht of Calvary Chapel Philadelphia calls it “the monstrosity of the cross,” which he describes as, “when the sins of the world were piled on the Holy Son of God and everything was out of place and everything was where it didn’t belong, everything was where it never should have been.”
All of our sins, all of our iniquities, piled on Jesus, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.
Is it any wonder Jesus called out; “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34b)?
Even so, Jesus suffered willingly.
“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief.
When You make His soul an offering for sin,
He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.
He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied.
By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many,
For He shall bear their iniquities.” (Isaiah 53:10-11 NKJV)
Do you understand what these verses say?
It pleased God to crush his only Son, because it meant restored fellowship with us. It pleased Jesus to suffer and die in our place because then we could be justified and join Him as an heir of God.
The joy of our salvation, made all the pain and suffering worth it for Jesus.
“looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2 ESV)
As we reflect on the cross today, I pray God makes real to us the pain and suffering of Christ, but also the joy in which He uttered “It is finished.”