March 11, 2016

In Our Place Condemned He Stood

Isaiah 53:4-9

He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

—  Isaiah 53:5

I remember that in grade school we would sometimes have a substitute teacher who would fill in for the regular teacher. In baseball, a similar thing happens. Sometimes the coach pulls a hitter out of the game and replaces him with a pinch hitter, a substitute.

Jesus died as a substitute for us. That means he died in our place. We deserved to be pierced, crushed, and crucified for our sin, but Jesus suffered our punishment instead. He was smitten and afflicted by God, taking the judgment for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities. Jesus took our guilt even though he was innocent and totally without sin. And Isaiah tells us the result: Jesus received our punishment so that we could receive peace with God and be healed.

There’s a story about a master and servant who took a journey together and were caught in a deadly snowstorm. For days they were missing. Finally the master was found, frozen to death facedown in the snow. Under him, the servant was found alive. The servant lived because the master covered him. The master died in his place. 

Praise God—that’s what Jesus did for us. Do you believe this?

Father, thank you that Jesus is the perfect substitute for us. We praise you that by faith our guilt became his and his innocence became ours. In his name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Tom Groelsema

Tom Groelsema and his wife, Sheri, have served churches in Minnesota, Michigan, and North Carolina. They have four children and three granddaughters.

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