Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But 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. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Stricken Smitten Afflicted
Why would God strike his own Son? Did he deserve it? Human fathers have sometimes used corporal punishment to discipline their disobedient children. But Jesus Christ, the holy Son of God, was the only son on earth who never once stepped out of line. In fact, his Father publicly declared that he was “well pleased” with his beloved Son. And yet, at his crucifixion, Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And seven centuries earlier, the prophet Isaiah foretold how the sinless Son of God, the perfect Servant of the Lord, would be punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. He would be pierced and crushed and wounded. And the pain of punishment would not subside until the last breath of life escaped his lips—which even then still spoke only words of trust in the Father who had scourged him for sins he did not himself commit.
Why would God strike his own Son instead of us? Didn’t we deserve it? The prophet tells us plainly: Jesus willingly suffered on account of and in payment for our sins. Although we were the ones who wandered away from God like wayward sheep, our Good Shepherd took up our sin and laid down his life for us because he loves you. Pure, unmerited grace motivated him to do the unthinkable—accepting the punishment that we had earned for ourselves.
Why would God strike his own Son? For what purpose: To bring peace and healing through the forgiveness of our sins. When we view the nail-pierced and bloody body of Christ on the cross, we should see in his wounds our reconciliation with God. We should see in his suffering the cause of our joy. And in his death and resurrection, the sure hope of our own eternal life.
Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 114)
Thousand, thousand thanks shall be, dearest Jesus, unto thee! Amen.