Life-Study of Isaiah, by Witness Lee

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A. As a God-man Savior
to Die a Vicarious Death for Sinners

As a God-man Savior, Christ died a vicarious death for sinners (Isa. 53:4-5, 8, 11c, 12c; 1 Pet. 2:24; 3:18a).

1. Bearing Our Sicknesses and
Carrying Our Sorrows

In His vicarious death for us, the sinners, Christ bore our sicknesses and carried our sorrows (Isa. 53:4). It may seem that He did this while He was ministering on the earth, because at a time when He healed many sick ones, Matthew 8:17, quoting the word in Isaiah 53:4, says, "He Himself took away our infirmities and bore our diseases." Actually, Christ bore our sicknesses at the moment He was judged by God on the cross, in the hour when God put all our iniquities upon Him. He bore our sicknesses and carried our sorrows when He bore our evildoings, wrongdoings, mistakes, transgressions, trespasses, iniquities, and sins on the cross.

2. Wounded for Our Transgressions,
Crushed for Our Iniquities,
Cut Off out of the Land of the Living
for Our Transgression,
and Bearing Our Sin,
that We May Have Peace and Be Healed

In His vicarious death for us, Christ was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities, and cut off out of the land of the living for our transgression, and He bore our sin, that we may have peace and be healed (Isa. 53:5, 8b, 11c, 12c). A well-known hymn by Charles Wesley (Hymns, #300, stanza 3) speaks of the wounds Christ bore for our transgressions. The Hebrew word translated wounded in Isaiah 53:5 is different from the word for pierced in Zechariah 12:10. Christ was wounded by the nails in His hands and His feet, by the spear that pierced His side, and by the crown of thorns on His head. He was wounded for our transgressions. You may feel that, because you have never killed anyone or robbed anyone, you are a good person. You may be a good person, but did you not lose your temper toward your mother at least once? Was that not a transgression? We do not count small transgressions, but God counts them. Whether we owe someone one million dollars or one dime, we are still debtors.

Christ was not only wounded for our transgressions, but He was also crushed for our iniquities, our evildoings. Furthermore, He was cut off out of the land of the living for our transgression. Not only our iniquities but even our small transgressions required that Christ be cut off for us. Not only so, Christ also bore our sin. John 1:29 says, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" In this verse sin refers to the totality of evildoings, iniquities, trespasses, wrongdoings, and transgressions. All these things are of one category, which is called sin. Christ bore our sin, including our wrongdoings, mistakes, iniquities, evildoings, trespasses, and transgressions, that we may have peace and be healed.

Since at the time of Matthew 8 Christ had not yet died to bear people’s sicknesses, how could people be healed by Christ at that time? This could happen because with God there is no time element. God is eternal, and with Him everything is eternal. In the eyes of God, the death of Christ is eternal. According to human history, Christ was slain almost two thousand years ago. But Revelation 13:8 says that He was slain from the foundation of the world. In God’s eyes there is no element of time; there is only the eternal fact. Christ’s death is a fact that is eternal. Although Christ was not yet physically crucified, in Matthew 8 the fact of His crucifixion was there already. By such a death we could be healed and have peace.

(Life-Study of Isaiah, Chapter 50, by Witness Lee)