June 18


"He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5, NIV).

In a moving literary masterpiece, the prophet Isaiah depicts Christ as the substitute for sinners. Graphically, he tells of a Saviour who is pierced, crushed, and punished vicariously for the sins of all humanity.

Writing centuries before the cross, Isaiah accurately portrays Christ as man's substitute. The substitutionary nature of Christ's suffering and death is reiterated at least six times in Isaiah 53. The prime emphasis is that Christ suffered in our stead--the "just for the unjust" (1 Peter 3:18, NKJV). The prophet repeats the pronoun, "our," to emphasize the substitutionary nature of Christ's sacrifice. He has borne our infirmities, carried our sorrows, was pierced for our transgressions, was crushed for our iniquities, our punishment was placed upon Him (see Isaiah 53:4, 5).

Our Substitute and Surety took our curses so that we might have His blessings. He exchanged all our liabilities for His assets. He changed our debit balance to a credit balance. He gave us beauty for ashes, hope for our despair, riches for our poverty, freedom for our bondage, joy for our sorrows, reconciliation for our alienation, and eternal life for eternal death--plus heaven at last! What a marvelous Substitute!

Ellen G. White puts it this way: "Christ was treated as we deserve, that we might be treated as He deserves. He was condemned for our sins, in which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness, in which we had no share. He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His."--The Desire of Ages, p. 25.

My Prayer Today: Lord, because You are our Substitute and Surety, I need no one else but You. Amen.