Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Messiah's Propitiation (Part II)

"Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah 53:4-6)

Matthew makes it clear that Christ's bearing of griefs and sorrows was not limited to His time on the cross; although, that was a large part of it. Every time the Lord extended His merciful hand of healing, He took upon Him the "feeling of our infirmities (Hebrews 4:15)." Christ's interest in people filled every aspect of His life, including the cross. So should it be with the Christian.

When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses (Matthew 8:16-17).

Blinded by human pride, deceit and selfishness, mankind viewed Christ's agony as punishment from God rather than the price of man's redemption. As Job's three friends, many Jews considered such a plight to be a divine curse while those under God's favor would not receive such treatment. Hundreds of years prior, David prophesied of the mockery which Christ would receive.

All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him (Psalm 22:7-8).

A believer, in his flesh, is capable of seeing another's trials as a divine rejection when the troubles might be for the benefit of others and the person who owns them. It is a sad day when a Christian is too blind to see that another's troubles are for his or her benefit and not due to God's punishment or displeasure.

The text says that peace between God and man comes with a price. Man's sin has broken his relationship with God; and only the chastisement of One can restore that relationship. The relationship cannot be restored by holy living, or some other form of human merit. The price of peace is high; and the Lord Jesus has paid it. His blood shed on the cross paid the stinging price of man's peace. Man's responsibility toward this reality is revealed in the next verse. He is to acknowledge that, as a foolish and helpless sheep, he has wandered from God. By likening all men and women to sheep, God leaves no room for pride. Sheep are dirty, helpless, unintelligent and they need constant care. By acknowledging this reality and turning from sin to Christ, the lost sheep can join the ranks of those who have "returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of [their] souls (I Peter 2:25)."

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