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Sermon 11/30/08
Isaiah 53:5 - Bruised


Audio Sermon


"But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5)

Years ago, I observed all the medicines my mother was taking (there were a dozen of them), and I vowed that I would never take so many. I read the list of side effects provided by her pharmacist and concluded that a lot of my mother’s problems were caused by the medications. I felt that the chemicals in the medications were combining to form who-knew-what in her system. I’ve noticed, by the way, that vowing you will never do something doesn’t work very well, because inevitably you will find yourself doing the very thing that you swore you would never do.

Since the recent procedure was performed to open an artery connected to my heart, I’ve grudgingly been going down the same medical road that my mother took. I’m taking Metoprolol for my heartbeat, Warfarin to thin my blood and Simvastatin to reduce cholesterol buildup. They also added Plavix for 30-days, and I’m glad it’s not longer because if you touch me, I’ll bleed. My recent flu shot left a huge bruise. I nicked my face shaving a week ago and it still has not healed. The good news? – This is the week when the Plavix will be gone!

If I was a comic strip character, you would call me “Bruise Man” because I am covered with bruises and they don’t clear up quickly, either. I remember as a boy wondering why many older people had all those bruises on their arms, and now I know. It was partly a side effect of the medications they took. I have decided to continue with all of this because of the doctor’s assurances that it is good for me. My irregular heart beat would allow the blood to pool in my heart, which would cause clots to form that would travel to my brain and give me a stroke. That would be bad, and so I endure it because I have faith that there is ultimate good in the medicines being taken.

Now, all this benefits me, but it doesn’t do much for you or anyone else for that matter, and that’s the way it is for us all. We might provide some benefit to a few people through advice given or by some heroic action, but we can’t help everybody and that’s what the world needs – we need help! For none of us can do it alone.

And that’s where our Scripture for today enters in and blesses our lives. In Isaiah Chapter 53, we are given the glorious news that something wonderful was to happen which would benefit all humanity. Men, women, boys and girls, strong and weak, brilliant or not, rich or poor; we would ALL receive the benefits that would be like appropriate corrective surgery and an utterly perfect medicine for us all. And yet Chapter 53 also contains warning labels, informing us that severe side effects accompany the Medicine we need.

Isn’t that always the case? Everything has problems. Marriage is wonderful, but arguments ensue. You get the job, but are assigned to a supervisor who doesn’t like you. Or suddenly you win the lottery, but then are told you have a life-ending disease. This is different, though, from anything we have ever expected because you are the one who gets the Cure, but the side effects are suffered by Someone else! Let’s read our verse for today once more:

"He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5). This verse, indeed the whole Chapter of Isaiah 53, is part of a prophesy telling about a series of events that would occur 700 years in the future. Something would happen, actually Someone would come, who was to change – everything! The world had no hope, doom reached out to entrap us all, and then suddenly we were all offered healing from the Lord. But that very Lord who was to heal us would have to die a terrible death, a criminal’s death, in order to make it happen.

The very One who was to be “bruised for our iniquities” was the same Person described in Isaiah 9:6, as “Wonderful, (our) Counselor, (the) Mighty God, (the) Everlasting Father, (and our) Prince of Peace.” When He came, 700 years after those words, He was not received as our “God” and “Prince” as He should have been, but instead He was “despised and rejected by men” (Isaiah 53:3). Yet like the Great Surgeon who knows our real need and treats it, “He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4). He was like a great Medicine injected into the life blood of humanity, the antidote for our sins. And He bore all the terrible side-effects Himself.

When He was appallingly “wounded,” it was because of our “transgressions” against the Law of God. When He was “bruised” terribly, it was as payment in full for our “iniquities.” The “chastisement” He received in His own Body and Soul, results in peace for the hearts and lives of those who place their trust in Him. He was horribly whipped, to the point where deep, painful “stripes” were driven into His body, but incredibly, the suffering He underwent causes ordinary people, sinners like you and me to be “healed” (Isaiah 53:5).

Sin is universal throughout mankind. It’s what the Apostle Paul said in Romans 3:23 – “ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” It’s like a cancer of the soul, of the heart, in which our ways of looking at things, our attitudes and actions, our thoughts and desires, are bent into misunderstanding and warped into a judgmental spirit. As Isaiah understood in reflecting the words that come from God, “…as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8). We don’t know how sin-sick the people of this world really are. The best we can do in life is to prayerfully recognize and acknowledge that Jesus Christ was “wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him,” and if we do place our trust in Him - “by His stripes we are healed.”

The medicines I am taking on the advice of my doctors will likely, on the short-term, bring health to me. Yes, I will be dependent on them, and yes I might need more surgery at some point in the future, but why not live a better, more healthy life if it is possible? Yes, I am bruised, but I am also more alert and have a general feeling of HEALTH that I did not have before. There are side-effects, but the bottom line is a better life.

To trust in the Messiah, the Christ, the One described in Isaiah 53 as the Surgeon, the Medicine given to heal this soul-sick humanity, is infinitely the greatest choice we can ever make. If we do trust in Him, we might continue to have problems in life, but the benefit is wonderful. As it says in places like Isaiah 66:22, there will be “new heavens and a new earth” and the troubles of this world “shall not be remembered or come to mind” (Isaiah 65:17). You and this world – will be healed.

All you have to do is to ACCEPT this One who was sent on your behalf. You can even do it grudgingly, as I have grudgingly accepted the medications prescribed for me by the doctors who are watching out for me. Our way of looking at it is not the point. It is God who has written the prescription: “He was bruised for our iniquitiesand by His stripes we are healed.”

Lord, please forgive my sins. I trust in You now. Thank You for healing me. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries
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"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)

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