What God Gave Up for Lent – Day 30

30. Poured Out

poured out

And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.” (Luke 22:19-20)

The Greek words for pour have a very specific use, and with the exception of one verse (in John 2:15), the words have to do with either the pouring out blood, the pouring out of God’s wrath (bowls of judgment of Revelation 16) or the pouring out of the Holy Spirit.

And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. And He said to them, “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. “Truly I say to you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” (Mark 14:24-25)

All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?” And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days. (Acts10:45-48)

Then I heard a loud voice from the temple, saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.” So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth; and it became a loathsome and malignant sore on the people who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped his image…Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl upon the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, “It is done.” (Rev 16:1-2,17)

Not only are the uses of poured out significant and life changing, but the English word is nowhere near as potent as the Greek definitions: gush, rush headlong, and spill. One of the reasons for such a forceful word is that it represents an impact of cataclysmic and life changing proportions. Think of what the blood of Christ has accomplished. What the pouring out of the seven bowls will bring to pass. And consider the change when the Holy Spirit is poured out in our lives. These are immense. One of wrath, one of sacrifice, one of transformation. If our God pours it all out with passion and utter commitment, should we not do likewise?

Finally, not only is this New Covenant new, it is huge. The Jews, long before they were Jews, were taught:  Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. Surely I will require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it. And from every man, from every man’s brother I will require the life of man. Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man. These are the words of the LORD to Noah. Note how it was implemented into Jewish law:

‘For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.’ “Therefore I said to the sons of Israel, ‘No person among you may eat blood, nor may any alien who sojourns among you eat blood.’ “So when any man from the sons of Israel, or from the aliens who sojourn among them, in hunting catches a beast or a bird which may be eaten, he shall pour out its blood and cover it with earth. For as for the life of all flesh, its blood is identified with its life. Therefore I said to the sons of Israel, ‘You are not to eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off.’ (Leviticus 17:11-14)

So we learn in God’s design, there are only two uses for blood. The first is for life, and the second for sacrifice. And it is only in Christ that both are realized.

What God Gave Up for Lent – Day 29

29. All & Fall

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 5:6)

blur crowd2

There are times when generalizations are used, and we need to take them seriously. When Isaiah says all here, he means all. Recall the familiar passage in Romans: As it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one. Their throat is an open grave, with their tongues they keep deceiving, the poison of asps is under their lips; Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; their feet are swift to shed blood, destruction and misery are in their paths, and the path of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” ( Romans 3:10-18) Just as in Isaiah where all means all, in Romans, none means none.

All is a common word in the Old Testament, used over 5300 times. All is the most common of its translations, but other occurrences include: any, every, everyone, everything, whoever, whatever, and whole. Are we getting a sense of inclusiveness here? The iniquity of us all. Anyone and everyone who will come to Christ, He has already taken your sins upon Himself. As the old hymn goes: There is room at the cross for you. There are none saved, who have not had their sins taken away by the Son of God.

We must not miss the convergence here. Where as all of the iniquity of us all is dispersed amongst all of mankind, here it is focused upon The One. For Christ in His humanity to take upon Himself the iniquities of us all—and that doesn’t just mean those who existed at the time of His death; no, it means that everyone at any time throughout history past and history yet to come, every sin fell upon Him—that would be utterly overwhelming.

Fall upon can have a deadly meaning, and in most cases, the result of being fallen upon is actually to be killed. It can also mean intercede, and it is used as a geographical term regarding borders reaching or meeting one another. Christ did indeed intercede for us on the cross, and having our sins fall upon the Him had deadly consequences; but consider this as a geographical term. Heaven came down to earth, met sin, then took it upon Himself. Returning to the primary meaning, this meeting was deadly. Sin didn’t just fall; it fell on Him. Imagine the picture, of all the sins of mankind rushing down upon Christ, as an enemy would rush upon a foe, with so much violence and ferocity so as to completely devastate.

We must not think this was an exercise in gravity or magnetism; that all the evil in the world that was, and is, and is to come, was mindlessly attracted to Him. Neither should we think this was the work of the devil. No, this was the work of the Father, who caused the focus and unleashed the fall. I’m not sure we will ever understand what this did to The Father, what He was feeling and thinking; but we do know why He did it. It was for you.

Note where this comes in the chapter. Isaiah has just listed off the six substitutions of mercy and grace that only Christ could accomplish; and then—here it comes—All of us like sheep have gone astray. So immediately following the ultimate act of love and sacrifice, we wander off! Now I could see the Father becoming a bit ticked by that, as we turn from the greatest act of love ever done in the universe.  But what does He do? He caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. Look behind the cross and see in the Father the same love for you which the Son had for you.

What God Gave Up for Lent – Day 28

28. Cause & Consequences

lost sheep

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 53:6)

It is a sad thing—more, it is tragic—that Christ should lay down His Life, and have accomplished the six great substitutions of mercy and grace for you and me, and what do we do? We wander off, we turn to our own little ways, because we just… don’t… care.

Wondrously the Father did care—did love—enough to cause the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. We can no longer believe the Father was only an interested bystander; this shows us otherwise.

For a moment, let’s consider what happened in eternity past when Father, Son and Holy Spirit made this decision:

Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. ( 1 Pet 1:18-21)

This was not merely a decision to have Christ become the Lamb of God to die for the sins of the world. It also had to do with judgment, sentencing, death, sacrifice, substitution, propitiation, redemption, ransom, and resurrection; and certainly more than we are aware of. All the Godhead participated at the cross!

Here in this verse (53:6) we see the Father caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.

Iniquity is an interesting word in Hebrew. The root word from which it is derived means to bend, twist, or distort. When Christ took away the sins of the world, he became a bent, twisted, distorted figure of Who He once was. Perhaps that is what Isaiah meant when he remarked earlier in the chapter: He has no stately form or majesty; and nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. Was Isaiah looking past the Christ Who walked the earth in normalcy for 33 years to see the aftermath of what the sins did to Him? When you add in all the ravages of the six substitutions, perhaps so.

Let’s return to the crowd at the cross. As we consider the different characters there, what did they see in this beaten, bloodied, and tortured body? Were they sick to their stomachs? Were they offended at the sight? Did they rejoice? Did they look but not see? Did any believe Jesus was deserving of such brutality? If they did, was this seen as a divine transaction of justice, or merely a human one?

For those who considered this a proper act of God, did any of them perceive that Jesus’ affliction and agony were requisite to the sentence He bore? Did any grasp it was in fact an act of God (the Son) that kept Him there?

Another reason to take note of this word is that it not only draws from the iniquity and guilt that fell upon Him, but it also speaks to punishment that fell upon Him. So you have both the cause and the consequences. And this is something we miss today. We all understand our nature and bent to sin, but do we understand the consequences? The punishment? We too easily and flippantly recite 1 John 1:9—If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness—and indeed we are forgiven. But do we understand the devastation sin has unleashed upon us? I think not.

As in the case of Christ,  He bore not only the sins of the world, He also bore its deserved punishment as well. We understand that He was our substitute and, like the thief on the cross, we declare: “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” ( Luke 23:40-41) That is indeed true, Jesus lived a perfect and sinless life, and in His life did nothing worthy of such a death—or any death. But the moment He took on our sins, then the punishment, the consequences were deserved.

Father: Help me to understand what it cost Christ to bear my sins on the cross, and what it cost You to be His Judge. Amen

What God Gave Up for Lent – Day 27

27. Peace & Healing

Jesus World

Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 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. Isaiah 53:4-5

To conclude this portion of Isaiah, here again, are the six substitutions:


  • Surely our griefs He Himself bore.
  • Our sorrows He carried.
  • But He was pierced through for our transgressions.
  • He was crushed for our iniquities.
  • The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him.
  • By His scourging we are healed.

Not only did Christ die, so that we might have peace, He is our peace.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased. ( Luke 2:14)

All these years when I have listened and read the nativity story, I have always thought the peace mentioned here was a result of God’s pleasure resting upon men. But what if it is more personal than that? What if peace among men that night literally came among men.

The prepositional word “in” when found in Greek has some interesting translations:

  • It could be translated as peace with men (e.g. – Emmanuel, God with us)
  • It could also be translated as peace in men (e.g. – Christ may dwell in your hearts)
  • It also is translated as child: Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call his name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” ( Matthew 1:18,23) The peace among men was literally Jesus.

But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.  ( Ephesians 2:13-18)

Not only did Christ die so that we might be healed, He is our healing (and our salvation).

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health. He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” ( Acts 4:8-12)

He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. ( 1 Pet 2:24)

Take the World2

If you’re asking God for peace, He’ll give you Jesus. If you’re asking God for healing, He’ll give you Jesus. As the old spiritual said: You can have all this world, just give me Jesus.

What God Gave Up for Lent – Day 26

26. Scourging & Healing


Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 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. (Isaiah 53:4-5)

The Hebrew word for scourging appears only seven times in the Old Testament. They are translated are: bruise, scourging, striking, stripes, welts, and wounds.

There is a notable passage in Proverbs which states: Stripes that wound scour away evil, and strokes reach the innermost parts. (Proverbs 20:30) Solomon reveals to us what Christ’s death on the cross accomplished for us: evil is scoured away and we are changed as deeply as the innermost parts.

Innermost has to do with inner chambers of a house, the bedroom, and its root means to encompass, surround, and enclose. These are the places that are the safest, and can be the most intimate.

Parts has to do with our guts and can mean belly, abdomen or womb.

Who’s applying the whip? It’s a question that deserves an answer. When Solomon penned this verse I have no doubt the Holy Spirit had in mind the stripes Christ would bear. Solomon however, probably thought the one using the whip was one (like a father or a kindly master) who had the good of the erring party in mind. But a beating for the sake of brutality (as with the Romans) would have no therapeutic properties, no cleansing, no scouring. These two scenarios speak more to the physical rather than the eternal, and while the former can point us in the direction of eternity, and the latter may cause us to flee in that direction. But if we focus on the One Who received the stripes—and why—we are look straight into the face of our peace, healing and salvation.

The scourging by the Romans could not accomplish our healing. What would it take, to take away the sins of the world? Was it God the Father Who wielded the whip? We have seen previously at the end of verse four: yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. So if is it the Son bearing the stripes and the Father wielding the whip, then the scouring (the healing) would indeed be both everlasting and deep (life-changing).

Healer is a word used in one of the LORD’s names: And He said, “If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the LORD, am your healer.” (Exodus 15:26) Yahweh Raphah.

Healing was a significant part of Christ’s ministry: The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners. (Isaiah 61:1)

When Jesus came into Peter’s home, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her; and she got up and waited on Him. When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill. This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: “He Himself took our infirmities and carried away our diseases.” (Matthew 8:14-17)

Jump for Joy

And large crowds came to Him, bringing with them those who were lame, crippled, blind, mute, and many others, and they laid them down at His feet; and He healed them. So the crowd marveled as they saw the mute speaking, the crippled restored, and the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel. (Matthew 15:30-31)

He entered again into a synagogue; and a man was there whose hand was withered. They were watching Him to see if He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. He said to the man with the withered hand, “Get up and come forward!” And He said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to kill?” But they kept silent. After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately began conspiring with the Herodians against Him, as to how they might destroy Him. ( Mark 3:1-6) This passage illustrates just how broken we are, and how desperate we are in need of healing. Sometimes the healing that is needed is not physical, but spiritual. Perhaps we need to be healed from legalism.

Maybe we need to be healed of our preconceptions: Jesus went out from there and came into His hometown; and His disciples followed Him. When the Sabbath came, He began to teach in the synagogue; and the many listeners were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?” And they took offense at Him. Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.” And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He wondered at their unbelief. And He was going around the villages teaching. ( Mark 6:1-6) Healing and teaching was Jesus dual mode of operation. But both can be hindered by our unbelief.

One day He was teaching; and there were some Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem; and the power of the Lord was present for Him to perform healing. And some men were carrying on a bed a man who was paralyzed; and they were trying to bring him in and to set him down in front of Him. But not finding any way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down through the tiles with his stretcher, into the middle of the crowd, in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, He said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.” The scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” But Jesus, aware of their reasonings, answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins have been forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But, so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,”—He said to the paralytic— “I say to you, get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home.” Immediately he got up before them, and picked up what he had been lying on, and went home glorifying God. They were all struck with astonishment and began glorifying God; and they were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen remarkable things today.” ( Luke 5:17-26) Healing and forgiveness are closely related. And is there any wonder when we find grief being defined as sickness and disease. We find in the midst of all of this sin, that we need forgiveness and healing.

Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porticoes. In these lay a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered, waiting for the moving of the waters; for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted. A man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, “Do you wish to get well?” The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.” Immediately the man became well, and picked up his pallet and began to walk. ( John 5:2-9) Have we grown comfortable—or at least accustomed—with our infirmities? Do you want to be healed? Do you want your sins forgiven?

This is the sixth substitution: For our healing, He was scourged, bruised, and wounded.

What God Gave Up for Lent – Day 25

25. Shalom and Grace


Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 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. (Isaiah 53:4-5)

The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him. This is a significant change. In all four of the previous substitutions, every single one of them dealt with acts or attributes which were willingly committed by us, were inherent in our nature, and as such, the consequences were well deserved. And yet Christ interceded. But this substitution is not deserved, and Christ still pays for it.

We have moved from that which is intrinsic to us—grief, sorrow, transgressions and iniquity—to that which is not: well-being. But how often do we seek things which we do not deserve? And how often do we seek to avoid that which we rightly deserve?

What is translated as well-being is a familiar word: shalom. The vast majority of translations of this word is peace; it accounts for about seventy-five percent. But it is more than peace; and it is much more than the simple cessation of hostilities; indeed it is the removal of hostilities. Other meanings are: friends, prosperity, well-being and health.

The word chastening is really discipline, correction, or instruction. Within this chapter, here is the most benign consequence. But when discipline is heaped upon the other more serious judgments, was it felt as a bit of a reprieve, or just one more “punishment” piled on to an already overwhelming and devastating avalanche of pain, sorrow, and suffering.

Two intersecting paths are revealed in Hebrews showing us the discipline that was placed upon Christ: one was what He went through for Himself and us, the other becomes the example and encouragement for what we will go through, to help others.

Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted. (Heb 2:17-18)

Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek. ( Heb 5:8-10)

 “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, Nor faint when you are reproved by Him; For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, And He scourges every son whom He receives.” It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. ( Heb 12:5-7, 10-12)


Note, the direct outcome of discipline is not to turn within yourself, but to turn towards others. It’s discipline that strengthens the hands that are weak, and strengthens the knees that are feeble. It’s discipline that makes paths straight, and allows the lame limb to be healed. As He did it for you, so do it for others.

This is the fifth substitution: for our peace, our well-being, He was chastised and disciplined.

What God Gave Up for Lent – Day 24

24. Crushed and Humiliated


Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 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. (Isaiah 53:4-5)

The Hebrew word for crushed has several renderings: break, broken, beat, bruised, destroy, oppressed and smitten. But twice the word has to do with attitude rather than action: it portrays one being contrite. Another meaning for contrite is humbled, and not only being humble but being made humble. If one is crushed, then you could say that one has not only been humbled, but humiliated.

We learn in the New Testament this humbling was an act Christ did Himself: Who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. ( Philippians 2:6-8)

Note the two distinct and intentional acts that Christ takes: Emptied Himself; humbled Himself.

Emptied here means to lay aside, but it also means to be drained or deserted. It also can mean being made null and void. What does it mean to become empty? Here was Jesus, Who had eternally existed as God, One of the Trinity in the Godhead, and He emptied Himself. Now we know that He did not drain Himself of all deified attributes: He still had power to heal, to raise from the dead, to forgive sins, set aside physical laws, know the thoughts and hearts of those around Him, etc. But He laid aside, He emptied Himself of the position and privilege of being God so that He could walk among us as man, and not just a man, but a bond-servant.

From purely a point of comparison, He did indeed go from all to nothing. And He calls us to the same all or nothing (albeit only on a limited, finite, human level).

As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments, ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up. Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property. ( Mark 10:21-22)

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. ( Mark 12:30)

If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. (Luke 14:26-27)

So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions. (Luke 14:33)

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. ( Gal 2:20)

And for those who still cling to broken and false thinking, we do believe He really is nothing, devoid of worth and nothing for us to even bother about. But for those who believe such, you cannot and do not understand what really has taken place, what kind of sacrifice was made, nor are you able to count the cost.

But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. (1 Corinthians 2:14)

Certainly there are things that we do understand, specifically for those of us who have been given new hearts and the mind of Christ. But even with our sanctified understanding, there are distances that cannot be crossed because we would just be overwhelmed. We can never truly understand how much Christ gave up, how much He surrendered, how much it cost Him. Yet this should not frustrate us; rather it should be a matter of wonder, awe, and praise. Revel in the mystery, wonder at the immeasurable, and stare at the infinite and be lost in worship and praise.

Iniquities in the Hebrew also means guilt and punishment. Irony abounds here: He was punished for our punishment; He was pronounced guilty for our guilt.

This is the fourth of the substitutions: For our iniquities, our guilt, and our punishment, He was crushed.

What God Gave Up for Lent – Day 23

23. Obedience & Love


Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 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. (Isaiah 53:4-5)

Up to this point we have seen the failing presumption by some Christ, deserved what He got. It is not until later in the chapter (v.6) we see God the Father was in this process. We have seen the apparently voluntary nature of Christ submitting Himself to the condemnation and subsequent punishment, including bearing our griefs and carrying our sorrows. But this verse seems to take it out of the voluntary realm and make it more akin to punishment.

Now let me say that Christ taking our sins was an act of obedience, but it was also accomplished through His willingness, compassion and love. There is no doubt He was obedient to the Father, even to the point of being the one and only sacrifice for our sins.

And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” (Matt 26:39)

He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done.” (Matt 26:42)

For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, “Sacrifice and offering You have not desired, but a body You have prepared for Me; in whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have taken no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come (In the scroll of the book it is written of Me) to do Your will, O God.’” After saying above, “Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have not desired, nor have You taken pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the Law), then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will.” He takes away the first in order to establish the second. By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Heb 10:4-10)

But He did it also out of love:

I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. (John 10:14-17)

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. (John 15:13-15)

Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. (John 13:1)

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. (Ephesians 5:2)

The Hebrew word for pierced through is a complex one, having three distinct usages:

  • To kill, slay, wound and break.
  • To defile, pollute and profane.
  • To play the flute.

Without trying to bend the definitions beyond the unrecognizable, I believe I can see all three definitions working. If we would still cling to the false assumption Christ was deserving of what He got, then He certainly would be polluted; but the alternative still gives room. He is God, pure, holy, undefiled; and yet, He took our sins upon Himself, thereby becoming defiled for us. And then, as far as the flute goes, as you witness His death—depending on who you resemble of those in the crowd standing at the foot of the cross—you may be playing a dirge, or a celebration.

Transgression also means rebellion. His obedience for our disobedience, His faithfulness for our unfaithfulness; and

Isaiah finally lays the blame—or at least the cause—for the wounding and defiling: our transgressions. Christ’s wounding, His sacrifice was completely and utterly our fault. Some form of the word transgression is the most widely used translation, but rebellion and trespass are two more versions. The next few phrases continue to lay the blame where it most appropriately belongs: on us.

This the third of the substitutions: Our transgression, our rebellion, were the cause for His death.

What God Gave Up for Lent – Day 22

22. Stricken, Smitten and Afflicted


Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 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. (Isaiah 53:4-5)

In the midst of the great works of mercy and grace Christ does for you and me, this phrase reveals our thoughts, our intents and actions, which run contrary to what He is doing. Once again we see how broken we are: He bears our sins and carries our sorrows, and yet we have the arrogance and audacity to presume that He was smitten and afflicted by God?

We are indeed broken. I am reminded of the aphorism: No good deed goes unpunished.  There were those at the site of the cross who actually believed that Christ got what was coming to Him. That He deserved this sentence of death. These would be called the religious people, and even though the Sadducees, Pharisees, and Scribes of the Law are no longer personally with us, their mindset is alive and well.

The first time we saw the word esteemed, we calculated (remember it was an accounting word) that He was not worth calculating. In a sense we ignored Him. Like all sins though, they have an eroding and degenerative effect, thus our view of Him has deteriorated as well, for rather than estimating Him as One with no worth, He is now One Who has been found worthy of the evils that have been set upon Him. Therefore He is deserving of the following:

Stricken, smitten and afflicted.

Stricken is a very personal word and is often translated as touched. It requires personal contact. We first see this word is in Genesis 3:3—“But from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’ It also incorporates the aspect of intent, being translated as some form of reach. It is also defined as to bear and defeated.

Smitten has much more violence associated with it. Here are some of other translations for it: attack, beat, destroy, killed, slay, struck down and wounded. We must note that the most violent of the three words here is directly credited to God’s action: smitten of God.

Afflicted is an action which results in being humbled or bowed down, forced, debased, and violated. This word ties easily into our pride, for pride exalts itself and debases all others around it. We have determined that Christ really is less than He says He is and on top of that, was deserving of whatever ill-treatment was given.

As horrific as these actions were we must acknowledge that, “Well, yes He was.” He was indeed smitten of God, as well as stricken of God and afflicted of God. But the fatal error we make is that these actions were taken because Christ was deserving of such, not because He chose to pay the price and accept the consequences.

I am reminded of the disciples’ question: As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” ( John 9:1-3)

It is far too easy to assign blame rather than seeing the works of God. Christ was not stricken, smitten and afflicted because He deserved it. Rather He was stricken, smitten and afflicted to display the works of God, indeed the greatest work of God: For God so loved the world… He was not stricken, smitten and afflicted because of His nature (which is our situation), but because of His choice. His choice to be the Lamb of God, and take your place on the cross.

What God Gave Up for Lent – Day 21

21. Carried Our Sorrows

Good Shepherd2

Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 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. (Isaiah 53:4-5)

Sorrows are not sins. And these were not carried away. These are the burdens that Christ is willing to carry for us even now. He has paid for our sins, they are gone and buried. Christ has taken them away. But the pain in this life, the grief we endure, the sorrows of living in a fallen world, and sharing in His sufferings, these are the things—and more—He willingly carries.

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken. (Psalm 55:22)

Comfort, O comfort My people,” says your God. “Speak kindly to Jerusalem; and call out to her, that her warfare has ended, that her iniquity has been removed, that she has received of the LORD’S hand double for all her sins. ( Isaiah 40:1-2)

For thus says the LORD, “Behold, I extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you will be nursed, you will be carried on the hip and fondled on the knees. As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; and you will be comforted in Jerusalem.” Then you will see this, and your heart will be glad, and your bones will flourish like the new grass; and the hand of the LORD will be made known to His servants. ( Isaiah 66:12-14)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, Who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. ( 2 Corinthians 1:3-5)

So what happens when we cast off our burdens to the LORD? He gives us His comfort. And wouldn’t you rather carry His comfort. Now I know we will always have trials and troubles in this life; but we do not endure them alone; His comfort is right there with us. But we are not just recipients of this comforting and burden bearing work Christ has done for us and in us. Paul reveals we are also to comfort others the way we are comforted. Those who have received must give.

Implied within the Hebrew carried, is carrying a heavy load, to the point of having to drag oneself along. Sorrows can be overwhelming, and Jesus is willing to carry them for you.

This is the second of the substitutions: He carried (drug) our heavy load of sorrows.