“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”Isaiah 53:5
The Book of Isaiah has been called the Fifth Gospel. It’s the Mount Everest of the Old Testament, with steep slopes that are slow going but offer beautiful gospel vistas at the top. Isaiah 53 is one such point where the view takes our breath away. It’s a prophecy about Jesus, who He would be, and what He would do.
Isaiah 53:5 shows us that Jesus’ horrible suffering and death were substitutionary; they stood in our place. He suffered and died for our transgressions, for our iniquities, for our sins. Martin Luther once said, “We all carry about in our pockets His very nails.” That chilling thought could make us try to make up for the sins we’ve done. Luther certainly tried in his early days of following God, and he always fell short. But he finally understood that Jesus willingly bore the wounds we deserved so that we could be made whole again.
All our efforts to atone for our
own sins are superfluous: If Christ has born our sins, we need not attempt to bear them again. Gospel substitution is good news for sinners in need of grace.
“If Christ bears our sins, we do not bear them.” (Martin Luther, 1535)