Read Isaiah 53.
The theme of this chapter is Jesus’ substitutionary death. Verse 5 says 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. Christ took my place when he died on the cross. You can place yourself there, but he hung there for us. Verse 6 says all, not some. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. Everything sinful about us God allowed to be placed on Christ at the cross. Twelve times in twelve verses Isaiah speaks of Christ as the substitute for us. The New Testament quotes from Isaiah 53 at least 85 times. Verse 1 says Who hath believed our report? I want to talk about the unbelievable gospel.
He was an unbelievable person. Virgin born with no earthly father. If I didn’t believe the Bible, I’d not believe that. To take this away takes away his deity. He came through a borrowed womb and went out through a borrowed tomb. He owned it all but became 100% man and 100% God at the same time. I can’t comprehend that; I just believe it. He got tired, hungry, and thirsty but he was always God. Only this God-man was able to die on the cross. In the Old Testament a perfect lamb was used for sacrifices. The cross required a sinless, spotless sacrifice. Through the cross Jesus was able to pay our sin debt.
His appearance was unbelievable. The beauty about him was on the inside. Verse 2 says For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He was an ordinary, everyday common looking Jew. Even in the Garden of Gethsemane Judas had to mark Jesus with a kiss so they would arrest the right person; otherwise, they might have arrested Peter or one of the others.
He lived an unbelievable life. For 33 ½ years Jesus lived. He was tempted in all points as we are, yet he was without sin. Imagine that. I can’t make it one day without sinning. What? Do I sin? Sure. There are sins we commit (commission) but there are things we should do but omit; and by that omission we also sin. Jesus never sinned one time in his entire earthly life. He never prayed “Father, forgive me.” Pilate found no fault in him because there was none. His wife said Jesus was a just man. One of the thieves admitted they were there getting what they deserved but Jesus had done nothing to deserve it.
Jesus did unbelievable things. He fed over 5,000 with five barley loaves and two fish. He healed a man born blind. He raised Lazarus from the dead after four days. The widow of Nain’s son was raised. He raised Jairus’ daughter. He walked on water. That’s unbelievable, but he’s God!
He paid an unbelievable price. God demanded payment for sin greater than any price. Why such a price? Life is in the blood. His was shed to bring us life. We got our death sentence way back in the Garden of Eden. Without the shedding of blood as payment there is no remission of sin. On that day it was customary for a criminal to be released. Pilate saw this as a way out when he offered Barabbas or Jesus. He thought they would release Jesus, not a common criminal. Those chose Barabbas and said let Jesus be crucified. Some of those who called for this were the very ones who laid out palm leaves a few days earlier. He was scourged with a cat of nine tails. As it cut across the back it would jerk off the flesh from the body. Jesus took 40 stripes. Most would have died from that alone. He was stripped and a robe put on him along with a crown of thorns. An ordinary person would have died. He was spit on and mocked but he laid down his life on the cross. Even through all this, one of the things he said from the cross was “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Why can’t we be more forgiving? It was a bloody mess, but not a mess at all. His blood was shed to cover all the sins of mankind. God was satisfied. He made us justified–just as if we had never sinned. It’s under the blood. Jesus paid it all. All to him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain. He washed it white as snow. A blood sacrifice is what God demanded. Jesus suffered our hell. You can never pay your own sin debt but Jesus paid it all. Unbelievable? Yes, but Jesus paid it.
He accomplished an unbelievable purpose. Justice was satisfied. Ezekiel says the soul that sins will die. Romans says the wages of sin is death. Justice says we must die. If God let an unsaved person into heaven he would sacrifice his justice. God loves all people of the world. He wants all to be saved. God placed all our guilt on his Son and He paid the penalty. God was satisfied. Verse 11 says He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.
You can go to church, but that won’t pay your sin debt. You can be baptized, but that won’t pay your sin debt. You can pray. You can read the Bible. You can be a good neighbor. We should do all these, but they won’t satisfy the sin debt. The only way is through Jesus Christ. You can get there no other way.