Isaiah 53:5 (KJV)
Sometimes we think we are going through something that Jesus never experienced, but He endured every sin, grief, shame, and temptation on the cross. Just as incomprehensible as the Creator of all the universe allowing men to mock him, so is the fact that He could feel the eternal weight of being a serial killer, the shame of undergoing sexual abuse, the disappointment of being overlooked, the bitterness of divorce, and the sorrow of losing a child. He bore sin-and the consequences of sin. He took the punishment for the offender and suffered the pain of the victim.
He was “wounded for our transgressions,” Isaiah prophesies. Second Corinthians 5:21 says, “He who knew no sin became sin that we might become the righteousness of God.” On the cross, He became what he hated. We usually wrinkle our noses at behaviors that we deem terrible. All sin felt that way to the pure and holy Jesus, yet He took each the sin and its reproach on Himself so that we might walk free of its influence and burden. In the eyes of God, Jesus was the man who raped the 94 year-old-grandmother, and he was Ted Bundy, and He was Osama bin Laden, and He was me, and He was you. And God punished Him for it.
But it wasn’t only sin that Jesus bore on the cross. “By His stripes, we were healed.” He felt the fear of getting the bad report, the nausea of chemotherapy, the blinding pain of a migraine, the bone-throbbing ache of arthritis, and the despair of AIDS. As His flesh was ripped, healing poured out. “Bruised for our iniquities,” He was physically and verbally pummeled for our lies and cruel words, for our injustices and immorality. “The chastisement of our peace was upon Him,” or as the New International Version puts it, “the punishment that brought us peace was on Him.” He took the mental anguish of anxiety, fear, sorrow, and depression, allowing those torments to be upon Him so that we could experience peace. “Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4), for “He was a man of sorrow, acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). He felt every soul-ripping loss. He leaned over the casket of our loved one, and He shared our “why?” and our emptiness. He stood in the rubble of what used to be and felt the devastation. He opened up His empty hands and felt the frustration of having to start over.
We can’t imagine the weight of it all, and He carried it while hanging suspended between Heaven and hell. The Bible says God put on Him “the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). Now, where there was an abundance of sin, there is an overflow of grace (Romans 5:20). But then, Jesus received no grace. He was grace in action. He was grace for the rapist, the deranged, the afflicted…for me. He became the sufficiency needed to cover every sin stain, every hurt, every weakness, and every loss.
It was supernatural what He did, yet God abandoned Him, cursing Him as he hung on the tree (Galatians 3:13). “My God, my God. Why have you forsaken me?” He cried in Matthew 27:46. With His flesh and with His will, He struggled beneath our burden. And when He had taken every bitter, unholy, weak, sick, painful, shameful thing upon Himself, when He had absorbed every damaging thing the destroyer could use to ravish mankind, He released His spirit and His flesh crumpled in death. It wasn’t a moment of defeat where our sin got the best of Him. It was a triumphant moment. In death, Jesus paid the debt of our sin so we might obtain eternal life and know the joy, peace, and hope His abundant resurrection imparts.