Study the following passages for what they teach about Jesus becoming our substitute and bearing our sin:
Substitution means to take the place of another and act in their stead. As Jesus died on the cross, He became our substitute in that He took the place we deserved and acted in our place. We deserve God’s wrath and punishment for our sin. We should be the ones who paid the penalty for our sin and disobedience. We are deserving of the condemnation that comes with breaking God’s law and rebelling against Him. Yet, in His great mercy, God designed that Christ would become our substitute. As the animals offered in sacrifice in the Old Testament were a substitute for the sinner, so too was Christ, the perfect lamb of God, a substitute for us. The Old Testament saint would bring his animal sacrifice to the altar and then lay his hands on the head of the animal thereby symbolically transferring his own sin to the sacrifice. Such was the work of Christ, the perfect sacrifice and substitute. When He died, our sins were transferred to Him and God treated Him as if He had committed all our sin. His suffering was a vicarious suffering in that He received the punishment our sin deserved. And the staggering reality is that Christ Himself had no sin to pay for; the just was sacrificed for the unjust. Let that truth sink in: God sacrificed His own Son in order to redeem those who deserved death!
Consider the following questions:
- Read Isaiah 53:4-6 again and notice how many times the words “we, our, us” occur. What does that tell you about the substitutionary death of Christ?
- According to Isaiah 53:6, 10, who was responsible for making Christ our substitute? How does this affect your gratitude and praise to the Lord?
- How is everything that happens to you “better than you deserve” in light of Christ’s substitutionary death?
Praise the Lord for initiating the sacrifice of Christ on your behalf and thank Him for not giving you what you deserve and giving you what you don’t deserve.