Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The chastisement of our peace was upon him

But he was wounded for our transgressions,
he was bruised for our iniquities:
the chastisement of our peace was upon him;
and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)

 I was always puzzled by the line “the chastisement of our peace was upon him,” which testified of Christ’s suffering; I wondered how our peace would be a chastisement to Him.  An experience I had in my college years while visiting my family during the summer gave me some insight. 

We were all at the dinner table and somehow my brothers got in an argument.  As their older sister, I wanted to make peace between them, but one of my brothers didn’t want to recognize that what he had done was wrong.  This made me sad to see that he was at peace with what he had done and didn’t want to do better.  I felt like it was a chastisement of me for my efforts to settle the problem.  I suppose that in the same way, Christ is hurt when we are at peace with the sins we have committed and don’t want to repent. 

We can interpret that line in a different way if we substitute of with for.

The chastisement for our peace was upon him.

This continues the pattern of parallelism set up by the first two lines of the verse.  If you notice, the first two lines speak of paying for sins, but the third line builds in the possibility of achieving peace.  This makes even clearer that he took the chastisement that we would suffer for our sins so that we could have peace in our hearts. 

I can’t help but mention one other line from this verse.

with his stripes we are healed – I love this image; it captures the miracle of the atonement.  When I read this, I envision a whip scoring Christ’s back and another man’s wounds miraculously healing with each blow.  I envision Christ watching that healing take place and enduring His beating so that the healing can be completed.  Now although that isn’t in the New Testament, I feel sure that as Christ endured His scourging He was thinking of this scripture and envisioning the healing of the countless numbers of people who had relied on Him and would rely on Him far into the future.

Isaiah 53 has some beautiful imagery about Christ’s atonement.  What lines from it have you worked hard to appreciate and understand?  What have you learned?  Please share in the comments, or write a blog post on it and share the link with us!

5 comments:

catania said...

Isaiah 53 is probably one of my favorite chapters of scripture ever...Thanks for this insight.

Ramona Gordy said...

Michaela
I had an opportunity to watch the movie "The Passion of the Christ". When it came out in 2004, I refused to watch it, because I felt that maybe Mel Gibson would not honor the Saviors sacrifice. This movie is making a resurgence and has popped up on my" You Tube account." I felt that I needed to watch it,but before I would watch it, I watched the interviews of the actors, I watched the "Making of" bits. I prayed about this, because I know in my life, I have given only "lip service" to the Saviors sacrifice, and it was because, I couldn't look at it in the real way that it is. So I watched the movie and I was "taught" by the Holy Spirit, to look and not be ashamed of his suffering, but to have compassion. Have you seen the movie?I know it is brutal, but I felt that this overall brutality of the chastisement as it were, reflected the desperate fallen state the world is in. Each mark represents sin,and lonliness;heartbreak futility,sadness, everything. My heart broke, because I knew those scriptures and even though it was a movie, my heart remembered every single verse and repeated them to me.
I know it sound cliche, but I did come away from it sober, and drained. I also felt free, and now when I approach these scripture, when I think of my Savior, I am beginning to see him as he really is; REAL

Bonnie said...

There's an old Star Trek episode in which a people whom the Enterprise visits have a monster they're dealing with, a black tar-monster-pit that eats anyone who comes close.

It turns out that it's the sum total of all their darkness that they've taken away from their community, living alone in the wilderness. It makes me think of the goat, the scapegoat, the early Hebrews sent out into the wilderness.

That's the way I've always understood "the chastisement of our peace." For our peace, he bore the ugliness of our choice, the innocent harm of our growth process. While we go merrily along, living in peace, he lived the moments of the tar monster, all that we ultimately needed to cast away from ourselves. It's sobering to me, and makes me want to create peace.

Michaela Stephens said...

Ramona, I haven't seen The Passion of the Christ, but if I did, I would probably feel the same way you did.

Bonnie, it's interesting how science fiction can sometimes remind us of these spiritual truths in unexpected ways. A black tar-monster-pit is a very interesting way to relate to "the chastisement of our peace." Now I'm curious about what episode that is from.

Mark Dabrowski said...

I think chastisement of our peace means that since he was punished for our sins we have peace with God.