April 02 - Punished for Our Peace
I remember once talking to a Jewish man who told me why he didn’t believe that Jesus was the Messiah: “He couldn’t have been a good man; God would never have let Him suffer like that.” And that is exactly what the prophet Isaiah said: “We esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted” (Isaiah 53:4). But verse 5 says, “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised [“crushed” NIV] for our iniquities; the chastisement [“punishment” NIV] for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes [“wounds” NIV] we are healed.”
Two major transactions are mentioned in those verses. The punishment due to our wrongdoing came upon Jesus so that we might be forgiven and have peace. Until the punishment for sin had been inflicted, there was no possibility of peace. Let’s look at another passage in Ephesians where Paul was speaking about what took place on the cross:
He Himself is our peace, who has made both [Jew and Gentile] one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.
(Ephesians 2:14–17, emphasis added)
Notice the emphasis on the word “peace.” There can be no peace for the sinner until he knows that his sins have been forgiven. Jesus was punished so that we might have peace with God through forgiveness. (See also Colossians 1:19–20.)