A Piercing Thorn
But he was pierced for our transgressions . . . and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5
The thorn pricked my index finger, drawing blood. I hollered and then groaned, drawing back my hand instinctively. But I shouldn’t have been surprised: trying to prune a thorny bush without gardening gloves was a recipe for exactly what just happened.
The pain throbbing in my finger—and the blood flowing from it—demanded attention. And as I searched for a bandage, I found myself unexpectedly thinking about my Savior. After all, soldiers forced Jesus to don an entire crown of thorns (John 19:1–3). If one thorn hurt this much, I thought, how much agony would an entire crown of them inflict? And that’s just a small portion of the physical pain He suffered. A whip flogged His back. Nails penetrated His wrists and ankles.
But Jesus endured spiritual pain too. Verse 5 of Isaiah 53 tells us, “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him.” The “peace” Isaiah talks about here is another way of talking about forgiveness. Jesus allowed Himself to be pierced—by nails, by a crown of thorns—to bring us spiritual peace with God. His sacrifice, His willingness to die on our behalf, paved the way to make a relationship with the Father possible. And He did it, Scripture tells us, for me, for you.
Father, I can’t imagine the pain Your Son endured to wash away my sin. Thank You for sending Him for me, to be pierced for my sins that I might have a relationship with You.
Isaiah 53:1–6 is part of a section of the book known as the Servant Songs. There are four Servant Songs in Isaiah that describe the service, suffering, and triumph of the servant of the Lord—Jesus the Messiah. These songs are found in Isaiah 42:1–9, 49:1–13, 50:4–11, and 52:13–53:12.
This last servant song describes the suffering and triumph of the servant. Though He is pierced, crushed, punished, and wounded, it’s His suffering that brings us peace and healing (53:5). The ultimate purpose for this suffering is outlined in verse 10—His life is an offering for sin. The servant takes our place—suffering for us and bearing our sins. And by His suffering and death, we are given life and peace. But death is not the end for the servant: “After he has suffered, he will see the light of life” (v. 11). In His suffering and resurrection, Jesus reconciles humanity to God (see Matthew 8:17; Acts 8:30–35; Romans 10:15–17; 15:21).
How can you celebrate the life that Jesus died to give you?
For more on the book of Isaiah, see Old Testament Survey: Ecclesiastes–Isaiah at christianuniversity.org/OT224.