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CHRIST’S SUFFERING – THE TRUE AND THE FALSE

(SERMON NUMBER 5 ON ISAIAH 53)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, March 17, 2013

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted” (Isaiah 53:4).


The first part of our text says that Jesus “hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.” This part of the verse was quoted in the New Testament, in Matthew 8:17,

“That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias [Isaiah] the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses” (Matthew 8:17).

Matthew 8:17 is more an application than a direct quotation of Isaiah 53:4. Dr. Edward J. Young said, “The reference in Matthew 8:17 is appropriate, for although the figure here of sickness refers to sin itself, the verse also includes the thought of the removal of the consequences of sin. Disease is the inseparable companion of sin” (Edward J. Young, Ph.D., The Book of Isaiah, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, volume 3, p. 345).

In Matthew 8:17 the atonement applies to the healing of sickness. But we must remember that it is only an application given by Matthew, and is not the main meaning given in our text. Professor “Hengstenberg correctly states that the servant [Christ] bears sin in its consequences, and among them sicknesses and pains occupy a prominent place. It should be noted that Matthew deliberately deviates from [the Hebrew in Isaiah 53:4]…to stress the fact that Christ actually bore our sicknesses” (quoted in Young, ibid., page 345, footnote 13).

A careful reading of the four Gospels shows that Christ healed sickness as proof that He could heal the soul, by saving it in conversion. An example of this can be seen in the ten lepers who cried out to Jesus, and said, “Master, have mercy on us” (Luke 17:13). Jesus sent them to the Temple to show themselves to the priests, and “as they went, they were cleansed” (Luke 17:14). They were physically cleansed by Christ’s power, but they were not saved. Only one of them returned. He received spiritual healing of his sins, in conversion, when he came back to Jesus, “and fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks” (Luke 17:16). Then Jesus said to him, “Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole” (Luke 17:19). It was then that he was healed spiritually as well as physically. We see this in many of the miraculous healings Christ performed, such as the opening of the eyes of a blind man in John, chapter nine. First the man was healed of blindness, but he thought Jesus was just “a prophet” (John 9:17). Later he said,

“Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him” (John 9:38).

It was only then that the man was saved.

Therefore we conclude that physical healing is secondary, and that the main emphasis of Isaiah 53:4 is on spiritual healing. Dr. J. Vernon McGee said,

This passage from Isaiah clearly states that we are healed of our transgressions and iniquities [Isaiah 53:5]. You say to me, “Are you sure about that?” I know this is what these verses are talking about because Peter says, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (I Peter 2:24). Healed of what? “Sins.” Peter is making it very clear that he is talking about sin (McGee, ibid., page 49).

This explanation takes us back to our text,

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted” (Isaiah 53:4).

The verse naturally divides into two parts: (1) the true reason Christ suffered, given in the Bible; and (2) the false reason believed by blinded men.

I. First, the true reason for Christ’s suffering,
given in the Holy Scriptures.

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows…”
       (Isaiah 53:4).

The word “surely” introduces the contrast between the true reason Christ suffered and the false reason believed by blinded men. “Surely,” then the true statement; “yet,” then the false statement;

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted” (Isaiah 53:4).

Also, the words “griefs” and “sorrows” must be understood. The Hebrew word for “griefs” means “diseases.” It is used by Isaiah as a synonym for “sin” in Isaiah 1:5-6. It is also a synonym for “sin” here. The griefs refer to the malady and disease of sin. “Sorrows” refers to “feeling pain, anguish.” So, “the malady, the disease,” of sin, and the “sorrows, pains and anguish” sin produces, are what is meant – the very disease of sin, and the pain of it.

Then notice the word “borne.” It means “to carry.” But it “means more than to take [or carry] away. The thought rather is of a lifting up and carrying” (Young, ibid., p. 345). Christ lifts the sins that belong to man, lifts them up on Himself, and carries those sins away. As Christ picked up His Cross and carried it toward Calvary, so He picks up the convert’s sin and carries it away. That is what the Apostle Peter meant when he said, concerning Christ,

“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree”
       (I Peter 2:24).

As the Keil and Delitzsch Commentary puts it,

The meaning is not merely that [Christ] entered into the fellowship of our sufferings, but that He took upon Himself the sufferings which we had to bear and deserved to bear, and therefore not only took them away…but bore them in His own person [His own body], that He might deliver us from them. But when one person takes upon himself suffering which another would have had to bear, and therefore not only endures it with him, but in his [place], this is called substitution (Franz Delitzsch, Th.D., Commentary on the Old Testament in Ten Volumes, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1973 reprint, volume VII, p. 316).

Christ took our sins into His own body and carried them away, up Calvary’s mountain, to the Cross, and there He paid the price for our sins. “This is called substitution”!!! “Bearing Shame and Scoffing Rude.” Sing it!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood;
Hallelujah! What a Saviour!
   (“Hallelujah! What a Saviour!” by Philip P. Bliss, 1838-1876).

“He was wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5).

“Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures”
       (I Corinthians 15:3).

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows…”
       (Isaiah 53:4).

Dr. W. A. Criswell said,

The death of Christ on the cross is the fruit and the result of our sins. Who killed the Lord Jesus? Who executed the Prince of Glory? Who nailed Him to the cross where He suffered and died? Whose fault is that?...It must be said that we all had a part. My sins pressed upon His brow that crown of thorns. My sins drove through His hands those jagged nails. My sins thrust that spear into His heart. My sins nailed the Lord Jesus to the tree. That is the…meaning of the death of our Lord (W. A. Criswell, Ph.D., “The Blood of the Cross,” Messages From My Heart, REL Publications, 1994, pages 510-511).

“Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures”
       (I Corinthians 15:3).

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows…”
       (Isaiah 53:4).

“Bearing Shame and Scoffing Rude.” Sing it again!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood;
Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

That is the true reason for the suffering of Christ – to pay for your sins! But the human race, in its blindness and rebellion, twisted the beautiful, saving truth of the substutionary death of Christ into a lie! Which takes us to point number two.

II. Second, the false reason for Christ’s suffering,
given by blinded men.

Look again at our text. Let us stand and read it together aloud.

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted” (Isaiah 53:4).

You may be seated.

“Yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” “We,” the human descendants of Adam. Blinded by Satan himself, we failed to see that Christ’s suffering was vicarious, that He died in our place, as our substitute. We thought that He was just a poor fool, perhaps mad or delusional, or, as the Pharisees said, “possessed with a demon,” who brought on His own suffering by ranting and raving against the established order. Like the friends of Job, we thought that His own sins and follies brought down the wrath of man against Him. We thought that He, at best, was a martyr who died for nothing. At one time or another, most of us thought Jesus was a little too radical. Most of us entertained the idea that He provoked the religious leaders and brought on His own death.

Stricken? Yes, we knew He was stricken! Smitten? Yes, we knew He was smitten! Afflicted? Yes, we knew that also! We knew that they struck Him in the face with their fists. We knew that they beat Him with a whip. We knew that He was nailed to a cross! Nearly everyone knows those facts! But we misrepresented them. We misunderstood them. We did not realize that it was our griefs He bore, our sorrows He carried! When we saw Him in our minds nailed to the Cross, we thought He was being punished for His own rebellion and errors.

“But no! It was for our transgressions, for our iniquities, and in order that we might have peace [with God], in order that we might be healed [of sin]. The truth is that we were the ones who went astray and who walked in self-will, and [God] placed our iniquity on Him, the sinless substitute” (William MacDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995, p. 979).

For our guilt He gave us peace,
From our bondage gave release,
And with His stripes, and with His stripes,
And with His stripes our souls are healed.
   (“He Was Wounded” by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1866-1960)

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted (Isaiah 53:4).

Mr. Griffith, please sing that verse.

Has that been true of you? Have you thought that Jesus died on the Cross for some other reason than to carry away your sins? Then, knowing as you do now that Christ died in your place to remove the penalty for your sins, will you trust Him in simple faith? Will you trust the Son of God and be justified and washed clean from every sin by His precious Blood?

I am asking you to put out of your mind every false idea you had about His suffering and death. He died to pay the penalty for your sin. He has risen from the dead. He is now seated at the right hand of God in Heaven. I am asking you to trust Him and be saved from your sins.

But it is not enough to know these things about Jesus. You can know all those facts about His death and still not be a Christian. You can know the truth about Christ’s vicarious death on the Cross; you can know that He died in the place of sinners, and still be unconverted. You must trust Jesus Christ, the risen Lord. You must actually trust Him and submit to Him. He is the way of salvation. He is the door to eternal life. Trust Him now, and you will be instantly pardoned and saved from your sin. Mr. Griffith will sing that stanza again. If you want to speak with us about your salvation, please go to the back of the room while he sings.

For our guilt He gave us peace,
From our bondage gave release,
And with His stripes, and with His stripes,
And with His stripes our souls are healed.

Dr. Chan, please pray for those who responded. Amen.

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: I Peter 2:21-25.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“He Was Wounded” (by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1866-1960;
to the tune “Oak Park”).


THE OUTLINE OF

CHRIST’S SUFFERING – THE TRUE AND THE FALSE

(SERMON NUMBER 5 ON ISAIAH 53)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted” (Isaiah 53:4).

(Matthew 8:17; Luke 17:13, 14, 16, 19;
John 9:17, 38; I Peter 2:24)

I.   First, the true reason for Christ’s suffering, given in the
Holy Scriptures, Isaiah 53:4a, 5; I Corinthians 15:3.

II.  Second, the false reason for Christ’s suffering, given by
blinded men, Isaiah 53:4b.