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!