But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.
The other day I did without something for myself so I could give something to my kids instead. As always, giving felt great. Except. I’m pretty sure they hardly even noticed. Have you ever done something significant that went unnoticed? You did it. You said it. But it didn’t seem like it was received with gladness.
Consider this text and its four functional layers of Jesus’ predicted passion. Pierced, crushed, chastisement, wounds.
Jesus died on a cross for our sins. We get this. We reverence this and repeatedly tell others what Jesus did to redeem broken people. But there was more to the story. No detail was prophesied or experienced in vain.
Why was Jesus chastised? To bring us peace.
The specific moment when the high priest, chief priests, elders and scribes were verbally assaulting Jesus and falsely accusing Jesus and slapping His face and pulling His beard was for the purpose of bringing us peace. Your. Peace. He did not endure a kangaroo court as simply a prelude to the crucifixion. Maybe that was their purpose- but not His. His purpose was to bring us peace.
I’m often amazed at my own willingness to endure emotional torment. I don’t mean something clinical like depression; I’m more speaking to moments of fear and worry that I seem to entertain. Debilitating thoughts. If you have ever wanted to sink your head into your pillow at night and offer a primal scream- you know exactly what I’m talking about. As long as the enemy is allowed to roam around and torment us with critical whispers, we must be more aware of God’s gift of peace. Jesus endured their torment, so we wouldn’t have to endure the torment of our enemy.
The enemy brings disquiet, Jesus brings peace.
We will always parent better from peace than fear. We will be a better spouse at peace than fear. Work will always be more effective with peace than saddled with fear. When we understand this distinction, we honor His sacrifice. That doesn’t mean the presence of worry is dishonoring. It is simply our willingness to strangely accept the worry as part of God’s plan that is dishonoring. When peace is fleeting, I honor Jesus’ chastisement by faithfully believing He brought me peace. In the presence of that interaction with Jesus’ passion, peace can come. Believe in peace.
Jesus was also wounded for our health and was crucified for our iniquities. Two distinct predictions fulfilling two separate promises.
Finally, Jesus was pierced for our transgressions. For a higher purpose than some sort of exclamation point- a Roman soldier pushed a spear into the side of God’s only Son. It was another depth of Isaiah’s prophecy. He died for our sins and was pierced for our transgressions. These aren’t synonyms. Look, grace isn’t just forgiveness from sin, it is also power over sin. He was crushed for sin and pierced to give us power over it.
It seems the more comfortable our generation has become with sin, the less comfortable we are with the blood of Jesus.
Maybe that’s why the old timers were proud to sing “there is power, power, wonder working power in the blood of the Lamb.”