“…by His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5 NKJV
I woke up this morning and my first coherent thought was this: “by His stripes I’m healed.” It was quickly followed by the bridge to a song “By His stripes I’m healed…the power of sin is overcome, it is finished, it is done.” (not the complete verse or bridge) I love coming up out of a deep sleep and sliding into thoughts like that! What a way to start the day! AND, to start Good Friday that way!
Of course, thoughts like that could only lead to one thing—Isaiah 53, written many, many years before but very accurately describing the death of Jesus. So that’s how I spent my morning, reading Isaiah 53 several times and in a couple of different versions and then taking the time to pray through it with the Lord. It a fairly familiar passage. It’s a passage I actually memorized years ago when our daughter was in AWANA as part of a challenge for us adults. (AWANA is BIG on having children as young as 3 & 4 memorize scripture! And put us grownups to shame!) But this morning the words were even more rich with meaning.
This passage would definitely get a warning for such a graphic description of the suffering Jesus would endure. It says He was “despised, rejected, a Man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, despised, not esteemed, bore our griefs, carried our sorrows, smitten by God, afflicted, wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities and chastisement was upon Him.” And then the end of verse 5: “and by His stripes we are healed.” It goes on to say He took on the iniquity of us all, was oppressed and afflicted yet He did not speak out against it but kept silent and took it…for me, for you. It says He had done nothing to deserve it and “yet, it pleased the Lord to bruise Him.” Not that’s a troubling verse! But because of His suffering for me, my debt is satisfied and I am justified before God all because Jesus “poured out His soul unto death” and made intercession for me and my sin.
I can read, study and pray through passages like this and I will NEVER understand that kind of love! Never! That Jesus would suffer like that for ME?! And MY sin?! And that God would be “pleased” for it to be so??!!! As a mom, I would die for my child but NEVER EVER would I lay down the life of my child for another!!! Yet, God so loved me, that’s exactly what He did for ME! And YOU!
May the words of Isaiah 53 speak loud and clear to you this Good Friday morning as they have to me and serve as a reminder to us all just how very much God loves us and wants relationship with us!
(And just in case you are curious, that song is “Hallelujah for the Cross” by Chris McClarney.)