The Suffering Savior

KEY VERSE: “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.” —Isaiah 53:5


FUNDAMENTAL to the outworking of the divine plan of salvation was the death of Jesus as man’s Redeemer, and in the 53rd chapter of Isaiah this is foretold. In order that the dying race might be redeemed from death, Jesus took the sinner’s place in death. Concerning the Redeemer’s suffering and death, the prophet wrote:

“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. … Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. … He made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death. … It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, … and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.”—vss. 3-11

As a perfect man, apart from the condemned race, and having no sin nor any cause of death in him, he voluntarily bore our griefs and carried our sorrows. Though he was rich before he became a man, and though, as a man he had all the talent necessary to secure earthly riches, he voluntarily became poor and remained poor—so poor that often he had not where to lay his head. Thus he was able to sympathize with the poor of this world. And though as a perfect man, without sin, and consequently without the consequences of sin, he had perfect health, yet during the three years of his ministry he was continually imparting his vitality and vigor and strength to help the suffering ones around him, thus impoverishing himself and being touched with a feeling of our infirmities.

Jesus’ daily labors of teaching and healing, sacrificing for the good of others, enduring weakness and weariness, spent his strength so much that at the end of the three and a half years of his ministry he was unable to bear his cross to the place of execution. (Luke 23:26) Men did not recognize the real cause of his physical weakness, but esteemed him stricken and smitten of God, as though he were a sinner like other men, and therefore, like them, subject to physical decline and death. But “In him was no sin:” he was generously and sympathetically bearing our griefs and carrying our sorrows, while men “esteemed him smitten of God and afflicted.”

The dreadful tragedy of Calvary was not for his own sins, but for ours, as also says the Prophet Daniel (9:26): “Messiah shall be cut off, but not for himself.” “He suffered for sins,” says Peter, “being put to death in the flesh, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.” (I Pet. 3:18) And Isaiah continues in verses six and seven, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord [Jehovah] hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Meekly and willingly he bore our burden; for, though “he was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”

The pleasure of the Lord, referred to in verse twelve, is the divine purpose, as stated to Abraham to bless all the families of the earth. (Gen. 12:3; 22:18) It is through the death of Jesus as the Redeemer that these promised blessings of life will be made available to the people for the thousand years of his kingdom.

As the prophet foretold, Jesus was cut off in death, and “who shall declare his generation?” (vs. 8) From the natural standpoint Jesus had no family, but, as the prophet foretold, he shall see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied. This also will be during the thousand years of his kingdom, for then the entire human race will be awakened from the sleep of death and given an opportunity to secure everlasting life through Jesus. All who then accept this loving provision of divine grace will become Jesus’ seed, his children, for he will be their father, or life-giver.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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