Bruised Almighty (Isaiah 53:4-6)

It is arguably the most well known Aha! moment of all time.

An Aha! moment refers to “a sudden, enlightening realization or insight, often accompanied by a sense of clarity or understanding. It’s that moment when a solution to a problem or a new perspective becomes clear.”

The most well known? I’ll give a clue – It involves an apple. It is Isaac Newton’s Aha! moment when he observed an apple falling from a tree, leading to his formulation of the laws of gravity. BTW: It didn’t hit him on the head.

Our text records an incredible Aha! moment.

A future generation of Jews will look back and suddenly realize that Jesus Christ was & is their Messiah and the Savior of the whole world.

“They will look upon Him Who they pierced” and “all Israel will be saved.”

The Aha! is that Jesus endured their griefs, sorrows, transgressions, and iniquities. It was for them that He was stricken, smitten, afflicted, wounded, bruised, and chastised.

It wasn’t only for Israel. He did it for me… He did it for you… He did it for love.

I’ll organize my comments around two encouragements: #1 There Is A Moment When You Realize Jesus’ Death Was Vicarious, and #2 There Is An Eternity To Reflect That Jesus’ Death Is Victorious. 

#1 – Jesus’ Death Is Vicarious (v4)

What would you say to your younger self?

That has become a popular question to end an interview. I can almost hear Isaiah in verse four asking future Jews, “What would you say to your ancestors?”

The future Jews are those in the final months of the Time of Jacob’s Trouble. As the armies of antichrist seek to destroy them, they will suddenly realize that Jesus was and is their Messiah. They would, if only they could, explain to the first century Jews who rejected Him, “Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows… He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him.”

In other words, “Aha! Messiah did come! He came to be our Substitute, but we rejected Him.”

Substitution was not a new thought to the Israelites. Animals had been substituted for them from the very beginning. But now the future Jews see that this same principle is at work in the death of the Suffering Servant. Their peace with God, the healing of their broken relationship with Him, was secured by His death.

You might be wondering why I am referring to this person as Jesus when He isn’t identified. It seems obvious. But for proof we could cite passages in the New Testament that apply these verses to Jesus.

Crimes should have consequences. God told Adam & Eve that if they disobeyed His one, simple command, it would be punishable by spiritual & physical death. After that would come an eternal Second Death. It is a forever of conscious suffering in Hell. Death is sometimes referred to as “the wages of sin.” Death is what you get for sinning.

Now that is a world-class problem because “all have sinned.” God worked out the only solution: He would become human and take your place. He acted as your Substitute.

Jesus was stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God.

It was the wisdom of God from the beginning to substitute Himself for humans. Scholars call this vicarious, or the vicarious atonement. One commentator put it like this:

God’s perfectly righteous character means that He can by no means look the other way when it comes to sin. If a just judge on an earthly level will hold people accountable for breaking the law, how much more will the holy Judge of all do so? For sinners, this is a terrifying prospect indeed. Thankfully, Scripture reveals to us that God is merciful as well as just. He has made it so that He can forgive us without compromising His justice by allowing a substitute to bear the punishment for sin in our place.”

Jesus was no criminal. Unlike all other men ever born of a woman, He was sinless, pure, perfect.

When you read some of the crowd comments at the Cross you see that they assumed Jesus was getting what He deserved. “Those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who destroy the Temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ” Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing (Matthew 37:39-44).

We can narrow down our focus. Jesus was crucified with two criminals. One of them “blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong” (Luke 23:39-41).

I doubt the penitent thief understood the scope of his comments. He & his fellow thief deserved to die. Jesus did not. It was a graphic picture of Jesus taking the place of sinners. Jesus was dying for them – for both of them – as their substitute. They could both go to Heaven. One believed Him; one did not.

Crimes should have consequences. God told Adam & Eve that if they disobeyed His one, simple command, it would be punishable by spiritual & physical death. After that would come an eternal Second Death. It is a forever of conscious suffering in Hell. Death is sometimes referred to as “the wages of sin.” Death is what you get for sinning.

Now that is a world-class problem because “all have sinned.” God worked out the only solution: He would become human and take your place. He acted as your Substitute.

J.C. Ryle wrote, “It is true that we are sinners – but Christ has suffered for us. It is true that we deserve death – but Christ has died for us. It is true that we are guilty debtors – but Christ has paid our debts with His own blood. This is the real Gospel! On this let us lean while we live. To this let us cling when we die. Christ has been ‘lifted up’ on the Cross, and has thrown open the gates of Heaven to all [who believe].”

An anonymous author wrote, “All who will not have Christ – who refuse or ignore His claim upon them – will be exposed to the full punishment due justly for their sins. For they have no sin-bearer; they have not come under the shelter of His atonement. But for the believer, here is the truth: He was forsaken for me!”

Timothy Cross writes, “According to Isaiah those sins which separate us from God and damn our souls can be transferred to another. They can be dealt with and put away by Christ. The Christian’s glad testimony is ‘He bore my sins on Calvary’s cross.’ ”

  • Can you recall the moment that you realized you were a sinner but Jesus had taken your place in death so that you might live?
  • Was there anyone else that could do it?

#2 – Jesus’ Death Is Victorious (v5-6)

What is the first use of the word “bruised” in the Bible?

Gen 3:14  So the LORD God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life.

Gen 3:15  And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”

Scholars see in this what they call the Proto-Evangelium. It is the first preaching of the Gospel. God promises to come into the world He created and Himself and resolve the problem of sin’s penalty.

The Bible is a progressive revelation of what this verse promises. Because we have the complete Word of God, we can identify the nation of Israel as the woman. Jesus coming in human flesh is her Seed. The serpent is Satan. The “enmity” between Satan & Jesus, the warfare, culminates in a bruising battle at the Cross on the hill outside Jerusalem called Golgotha, the Place of the Skull.

Jesus was “bruised,” and He died. Three days later He arose victorious over Satan, sin & death.

Satan was immortally wounded at the Cross but remains free to wreak havoc as a defeated foe until the Lord returns.

Isa 53:5  But He was wounded for [my] transgressions, He was bruised for [my] iniquities; The chastisement for [my] peace was upon Him, And by His stripes [I am] healed.

We’re used to saying that while Satan bruised Jesus’ heel, the Lord crushed his head. The Hebrew word in these passages is the same, so why the use of crushed? The apostle Paul explains, “And the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Romans 16:20). Jesus was “bruised” while making “peace” for us with God, and He “bruised” Satan’s head and will eventually “crush” him.

Jesus endured the Cross and has thereby made “peace” possible between whosoever will believe and God. It is the spiritual peace given to those who believe.

The last six words of verse five are a battleground among Christians. “By His stripes we are healed.” Can we claim, even insist upon, physical healing because of the “stripes?”

The way to approach this is to remember that this stanza of the song is about a future remnant of the nation of Israel being preserved and saved through the future Time of Jacob’s Trouble. Jesus will return and inaugurate the Kingdom of God on Earth. In the one-thousand year Kingdom, sickness and disease will be eradicated. Jesus will heal everyone, as I understand it.

These healings, then, are in the Kingdom, after the Church Age & after the Great Tribulation.

Physical healing in the Church Age in which we live is not on the table in these words.

We absolutely believe in gifts of healings. God continues to heal people; there has been no cessation of that, or any of the other gifts of God the Holy Spirit.

Why so few healings? A common answer is that the Church is failing. Are we ready to say that the Church has been failing for over two thousand years?

It’s time we admit that there are fewer healings in the Church Age by design, not by defeat.

The Church Age is a time in which God’s strength is made known through our weakness. He tells us that divine healing is not necessary because His grace is enough.

There are gifts of healing. None of the gifts of God the Holy Spirit have ceased. There is no biblical justification for cessation of the gifts. Pray for divine healing; be grateful for medical healing.

Isa 53:6  All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

If you are a cat owner, you’ve probably discovered the cartoon, Simon’s Cat. It amplifies all the ways cats behave – much to our disapproval. But, hey, you’re the one who wanted a cat and he or she can’t help it. It’s in their nature.

Sheep are known for wandering off, going “astray.” It is in their nature to do so.

You are not a sinner because you sin; you sin because you are a sinner.

You and every human conceived inherit a sin nature. It is as natural for you to go astray from God as it is for a sheep to wander off.

What happens to helpless animals when they go astray? They are easy prey for predators, like “roaring” mountain lions.

“Our sinful condition makes us akin to a lost, stray sheep. Sin separates us from the warmth of the fold and fellowship with the Shepherd.”

A.W. Tozer wrote, “The only safe place for a sheep is by the side of his shepherd, because the devil does not fear sheep; he just fears the Shepherd.”

This may be slightly off-topic, but I want to mention it. More-and-more Christians are disconnecting from live fellowship in a church. It’s wrong.

Most of the illustrations about the church on Earth demand us gathering together:

  • Sheep need to be a flock and have shepherds. If you are a lone sheep, it won’t be long until you encounter the lone wolf.
  • Individual believers are living stones in the building of the church. When you put something together, is it important to have all the parts? Seems like you are always missing the Johnson Rod.
  • You are a member of the body of Jesus. You are not a dismembered appendage. You aren’t Thing in the Addams Family.
  • The gift of speaking in other tongues aside, the gifts of God the Holy Spirit require you be among others in order to exercise them. For example, you can’t exercise the gift of hospitality on yourself.

If you received a personal invite to attend CalvaryHanford as the guest of Jesus, Who would be there, it would at the very least be rude to stay home – even if you watch it live streaming.

In His Revelation, Jesus depicted the church gathered on Earth as a “lampstand” and said He would be, “In the midst of the seven lampstands” (1:13).

The Bible features prose, poetry, prophecy, parables, proverbs & praise.

You will read law & letters; private letters & general epistles. The authors employ metaphors, analogies, types, figures & illustrations.

Isaiah 52:13 through 53:12 is a song consisting of five three-verse stanzas. Why a song rather than a sermon?

Let’s say you go to college and have an Art class in Impressionism. You also have a class in Astronomy. In one class, you marvel at Starry, Starry Night, while in the other you measure the stars at night.

I think you know where I’m going with this. You can’t study Impressionism the same way you study Astronomy. They ‘move’ you in different ways:

  • When we in awestruck wonder consider the stars God has made, then sings our soul, “How great Thou art.”
  • But when we understand the stars are a backdrop for things like His vicarious atonement of the human race, you’re moved in a much different way.

He did it for me…He did it for you…He did it for love.