Monthly Archives: March 2019

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.

What God Gave Up for Lent – Day 20

20. He Himself

Jesus Reaching Down

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)

As we mentioned a couple of days ago, griefs can also be translated as sickness and disease. So you could just as easily say that He bore our sickness, or He bore our disease. But we’re not talking about physical disease—we’re talking about the spiritual disease of sin; a disease which is completely and utterly fatal, both temporally and eternally.

I’m not a big fan of grammar, but the phrase He Himself, is called an intensive pronoun, which is used to emphasize the subject. In this case, Christ is the subject, and by emphasizing Him, we learn He alone was capable and worthy and had the sole authority—and chose—to bear our griefs. There neither is, was, nor will be, another. This phrase reveals the urgency, the necessity of what Christ Himself did, and only He could do. We know from Scripture that the blood of bulls and goats does not cut it: For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. ( Heb 10:4) It took the Lamb of God, it took God’s Son to bear our sins.

There are several meanings within the word bore that deserve consideration: to carry off, to take away, to forgive, and even to be swept away. So when Christ bore our sins to the cross it was not merely a matter of bearing our sins, but He carried them away, and took them to the grave with Him. Is there any doubt of how thoroughly involved God is in your life? He took the worst of you so that He could make the best of you.

This is the first of the substitutions: They were our griefs, but He is the One Who carried them.

What God Gave Up for Lent – Day 19

19. The Six Substitutions

Christ on cross


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 these two verses we see six substitutions where Christ Himself took our place:


  • 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.

Note the first four substitutions are “acts of mercy”—not getting what we do deserve. Sickness and disease, grief and pain, rebellion and guilt—all inherent with our nature, and all deserving of judgment. But Christ died to save us from these. Here then is mercy.

The last two are “acts of grace”—getting what we do not deserve. God’s peace, His shalom, and His healing—things which we do not deserve. Christ died to save us for these. Here then is grace.

Over the next few days let us consider these six great acts of mercy and grace which Christ accomplished on the cross.

What God Gave Up for Lent – Day 18

18. Worth & Authority

Centurion Kneeling1

When He had completed all His discourse in the hearing of the people, He went to Capernaum. And a centurion’s slave, who was highly regarded by him, was sick and about to die. When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders asking Him to come and save the life of his slave. When they came to Jesus, they earnestly implored Him, saying, “He is worthy for You to grant this to him; for he loves our nation and it was he who built us our synagogue.” Now Jesus started on His way with them; and when He was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself further, for I am not worthy for You to come under my roof; for this reason I did not even consider myself worthy to come to You, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man placed under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.” Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled at him, and turned and said to the crowd that was following Him, “I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith.” When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health. (Luke 7:1-10)

Yesterday we saw the disparity between God’s view of His Son and our view of Him. Specifically we zeroed Him out, but God highly exalted Him. In the above passage, a Roman Centurion, a pagan, an outsider—someone who should have not known any better—provides a lesson on the worth of Christ. In this passage, the word worthy is used three times, but they are three different words in the Greek. The first is has to do with one’s value. The second has to do with sufficiency and ability. The Jews saw the Centurion as someone who was of value to Israel. But the centurion saw himself as being insufficient, and inadequate to receive Christ, let alone ask for his personal intervention. The third is a derivative of first, and unlike those of us today, or many who were in Jesus day, who may have an inflated sense of self worth (aka pride), this presumedly pagan centurion declares his unworth.

I wonder how often Jesus marveled at something. Two things, I believe, caught Christ’s attention here: the Centurion understood authority, regarding those below him, and over him; and, he knew Christ’s authority was well beyond his. And having at least had a glimpse of Christ’s authority, and recognized He only need say the word. Secondly, he understood and embraced humility. We see this in four ways:

  • He cared deeply for one of his slaves.
  • He apparently embraced one of the conquered religions of the Roman Empire, specifically Judaism, as testified by his building of the synagogue.
  • He did not feel worthy enough to call upon Jesus himself, so he sent those whom he believed were more deserving individuals.
  • Although he did not feel worthy enough to have Christ even come under his roof, he believed that Christ could accomplish his request by merely speaking a word, regardless of how far away.

So here was a Roman Centurion, a warrior, and as such someone understood power and authority. But his understanding went far beyond the military and political realms. He had glimpsed into the spiritual realm. He cared about—even loved—Israel; a strange attitude for a conqueror. He had built their synagogue—which had little to do with the Roman occupation. He had heard about Jesus, One Who had performed miraculous healings, and although he could draw a parallel between his authority over men and Christ’s authority over sickness and disease, his was a mere shadow in comparison, and in humility sought the Healer and found the Savior.

Many today seem so far removed and outside the Church, that they see little of value in us. Still it is our duty and privilege to show them Jesus. And when they look past us and see Jesus, they just might see His worth and find the Savior.

What God Gave Up for Lent – Day 17

17. From Accountants to Singers


He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. (Isaiah 53:3e)

Despised pretty much means despised. But the word can also mean worthless. Esteemed is an accounting word, and literally means we calculated Christ’s worth and zeroed Him out. We dropped Him into a spreadsheet and determined He was of no value. This would be consistent with being despised. Fortunately this is our miscalculation. God counted Him worthy, indeed of more worth than all of us sinners in all of creation, and even more worth than all of creation itself. And it God’s inestimable value which resulted in our redemption. We are indeed broken creatures if we cannot see the value of The One Whom the LORD God Himself declared supremely and incomparably worthy.

And He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. (Colossians 1:15-20)

But of the Son He says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom. You have loved  righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your companions.” And, “You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Your hands; They will perish, but You remain; and they all will become old like a garment, and like a mantle You will roll them up; like a garment they will also be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end.” (Hebrews 1:8-12)

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)

Hopefully you see from these verses there is no one more worthy than the Son—no one more exalted. You even see this in Heaven, where there apparently was no one to open the book with seven seals; until the Lion of Judah, the Lamb of God—Jesus, came forward.


And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.” Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.” (Rev 5:9-13).

This is a marvelous chorus. Notice the choir singing is in two-parts—those who have watched this great story of redemption unfold before them, and those who are actually the ones redeemed by Christ. Now the point of this song—the theme of this song—is Jesus; but the reason it was written was because you. You were purchased and are now part of His kingdom. At some point you’ll be singing this chorus. Why not start now?