He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities. Isaiah 53:5
After centuries of war and destruction, the modern city of Jerusalem is literally built on its own rubble. During a family visit, we walked the Via Dolorosa (the Way of Sorrow), the route tradition says Jesus followed on His way to the cross. The day was hot, so we paused for a rest and descended to the cool basement of the Convent of the Sisters of Zion. There I was intrigued by the sight of ancient pavement stones unearthed during recent construction—stones etched with games played by Roman soldiers during their idle moments.
Those particular stones, even though likely from a period later than Jesus, caused me to ponder my spiritual life at the time. Like a bored soldier passing time in idle moments, I had become complacent and uncaring toward God and others. I was deeply moved by remembering that near the place I was standing, the Lord was beaten, mocked, insulted, and abused as He took all of my failure and rebellion on Himself.
“He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isa. 53:5).
My encounter with the stones still speaks to me of Jesus’s loving grace that is greater than all my sin.
Lord Jesus, through Your great sacrifice for us, we find forgiveness, healing, and hope. Thank You that we live today and forever in Your love.
Our sin is great—God’s grace is greater.
In their context, few Old Testament prophecies of Jesus look like clear predictions. For the most part, it is only by reading backward that we can see how Jesus brought fullness of meaning to words that were mysterious in their own time. Yet when read in light of Jesus, these words can now be life-changing.
Isaiah’s prophecy of the Suffering Servant is an example of this. Many in Israel believed it was their own persecuted nation that was bearing the sins of the world. Only by looking back can people like us realize that “we” were the ones who unwittingly demanded the death of our own God and Savior (Zech. 12:10–14).
As hard as it is to admit, this is the kind of grief that is for our good and comfort. This is how we can read words that were once so mysterious and see how much our God loves us.