Isaiah 53:4, “Surely He has born our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.”
Many people profess contrition for actions they have taken when they are just sorry they got caught. You see true confession, true repentance, means that one has to acknowledge some very unpleasant realities. The first thing that one has to acknowledge is their wrong attitudes. In Isaiah 53:4 that is exactly what is occurring as the future Israel repents of their wrong attitudes about Christ.
The first thing that is stated is the reality that sin has negative consequences. Verse 4 says, “Surely He has borne our griefs.” The Hebrew word that is used here for “griefs” is translated to mean “sickness.” This involves things like disease, infirmities, calamitous things that occur because of sin. This is coming from the perspective of what sin produces in a person’s life. We all know people, or maybe ourselves, who have lived a life of sin being addicted to one thing or another and their life becomes a steady stream of illness and injury. Sometimes we jokingly call this “hard living” but there is nothing humorous about it. These are the “griefs” that are produced by sin. This is then looking at the objective, outward agonies, struggles and issues that are a result of sin in our lives. But Christ bore these “griefs” for us. He carried the load of our sin and the “griefs” that are a result of that sin. When you really stop and think about it. Most of the problems that we have in life are the result of sin. They are either the result of our own sin or the sin of others.
Matthew 8:17 says, “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.” Psalm 41:3 says, “The LORD sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health.”
The second aspect of the consequence of sin is the inward effects of sin. Verse 4 continues and says that Jesus not only bore our “griefs” but He also “carried our sorrows.” The word “sorrows” is translated to mean pain. This involves the subjective, inward effects of sin. Sin is viewed here not as a moral issue but rather through the lens of the distress and devastation that flow out of it in our inward lives.
The Messiah, the Son of God, Jesus Christ picked up all that sin produces in our lives and He carried it on His back. Psalm 16:4 says, “The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply.”
This is what sin does to us. Not only are there the outward results of sin like disease, injury, broken relationships, fractured families, prison, rehab, and on and on and on. These are then the inward effects of sin like depression, anxiety, a feeling of emptiness and other emotional and mental conditions. We live in a an over medicated society and much of this medication is of the psychotropic kind. Why? Because we are a people who are emotionally and mentally frail because of one thing… sin. Most people spend their entire lives trying to find meaning but most of what they look towards for meaning leaves them empty and desperate. We are collectively like the writer of Ecclesiastes, in that we have tried everything to find ultimate satisfaction and all that we get out of this is more devastation.
This is all part of the true repentance, the acknowledgment that we alone are responsible for our sin and the understanding of the destructiveness of sin. At the end of verse 4 though comes the confession, it says, “yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.” This is their confession. They didn’t respect or value Him at all. That is what the word “esteemed” means. They didn’t think He died for their sins, they thought He died for His own sins.
They thought Jesus was “stricken” which means to strike violently; they thought He was “smitten” which means to be beat to death, by God. They thought the one who was without sin was being punished for His own sins. Then it says that He was “afflicted” which is translated to mean “to be bowed down.” They believed all of this happened not to pay for their sins, but as God’s wrath against Jesus for His own sin.
This is their confession then, “We didn’t understand, we didn’t see who He was. We didn’t believe that He was the Messiah. We considered Him nothing we had the wrong attitude about Christ. We had a sinful attitude about Christ.” This is where most of your friends, acquaintances, family members, and neighbors are today. They have a wrong attitude about who Jesus Christ really is. They think that He is some sort of, philosopher, shaman, revolutionary, self-help guru, or social justice warrior. Or they view Him as the great deliverer from their temporal dire circumstances. They however do not understand that He is the Messiah and that He will deliver them from the ravages of sin. Sin is their greatest need and it is your greatest need.
Tomorrow we will turn our attention to verse 5 and the acknowledgment of our wrong behavior as a key component of true repentance.