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.
In Luke 24, the resurrected Jesus was explaining to two disciples what the Old Testament teaches about Himself. The conversation went something like this: “Yes, we know that Jesus fulfilled all those prophecies, but you don’t understand. Haven’t you heard that He was crucified? This Jesus whom we were expecting to be our deliverer, He ended up getting killed, and that’s why we are so sad.” Jesus said, “Don’t you realize that the Old Testament also predicted the necessity of His death?” I imagine of all the Old Testament passages Jesus could have cited to show the necessity of His death, He probably used the most familiar passage of all: Isaiah 53:3-6. If you want to know what the Christmas message really is, here it is, written 700 years before the fact.
In describing the Messiah, Isaiah wrote, “He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. 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. 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.” Isn’t that what Jesus said about Himself in Matthew 20:28? He said, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Don’t let the lights, the carols, the gifts, and the family get-togethers obscure the real meaning of Christmas. The real meaning of Christmas is this: Every one of us has wandered away from God, and because of that we all deserve God’s punishment. But instead of leaving us to experience the consequences of our sin for all eternity, God sent forth His Son to be the ransom for our sin. When Jesus died on that cross, He died not for His own sin, because He had no sin. The chastening, the scourging, and the punishment that we deserve for all eternity fell upon Jesus. He paid the price for our sin. That is why His death was an absolute necessity.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Christmas on the Road” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.