In this blog, we examine the prophecies of Isaiah, particularly in chapter 53, which is one of the most amazing passages in the entire Bible. It was written 750 years before Christ, yet clearly prophesies the coming of our Savior. It describes both His suffering and what He would accomplish for us through it.
Isaiah 53:3–4 declares of Jesus:
He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
Isaiah is prophetically looking into the future at Christ’s crucifixion. The people of Jesus’ day rejected Him, believing He was being punished by God for His own sins.
Isaiah 52:14 tells us that His visible appearance was so marred that He was no longer recognizable!
Jesus went through so many beatings that His physical appearance was indeed appalling. This was one of the factors that led people to say He was being punished by God. But they had no idea His suffering was for them. They had no idea that what He was going through was for them.
Isaiah then tells us that in His suffering, Jesus would bear our “griefs” and carry our “sorrows.” Now, when we think of sorrows and griefs, we generally move toward emotional and mental suffering. And that’s what those words mean to us, at least in Western culture.
While that is certainly true, there is more. The word sorrows in verse 4 is actually the Hebrew word for “pain”—physical pain. The word griefs is the literal Hebrew word for “sicknesses” or “diseases.”
This is how The Jewish Publication Society translates this passage: “Surely our diseases He did bear and our pains He carried.” Rotherham’s translation states: “Yes, surely our sicknesses He carried; and as for our pains, He bore the burden of them.”
The word translated as “sorrows” in verse 4 is translated as “strong physical pain” in Job 33:19. In your Bible, the word griefs is translated as “sickness” no fewer than 13 times, as “disease” 7 times… and as “griefs” only 4 times.
And in Matthew 8:16–17, we find this commentary on this passage in Isaiah:
When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.”
The Holy Spirit, moving upon Matthew as he pens the Gospel, gives us the interpretation of Isaiah 53:4—that Jesus would bear our physical sicknesses and pains. And notice that verse 4 begins with the word surely. That means absolutely—beyond all argument. Beyond all doubt, Jesus has borne our sicknesses and carried our pains.
This is a powerful truth that is a vital part of Christ’s redemptive work! May you know the fullness of His presence and comfort today.
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