He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
One of the most amazing things about Christ’s sacrifice is that He died for us while we were yet sinners. In essence, He went to the cross to die for His enemies. He suffered for people who hated and despised Him, people who rejected Him and wanted nothing to do with Him. He was giving the most precious thing of all in giving His life for people who placed no value upon Him whatsoever.
Israel exemplified this literally on the day Jesus was crucified, practically pushing Him away from them and toward the cross. They mocked Him and spit on Him and shouted for His destruction, all while despising Him in their hearts. All of us in our sinful state push God away somehow, despise and reject Him, refuse Him a place in our lives. But He took upon Himself the weight of our grief and sorrow, the weight of our sin, the pain of the wounds, the sting of the wrath of God. He endured a punishment even though we are the ones who have done wrong.
It takes God changing our hearts for us to see ourselves differently and to see Him differently. When we delight in evil, we hate what is good. When we revel in the darkness, we despise the light. But then there is Jesus—loving us while we hate, blessing us while we curse, reaching out while we turn away. There is Jesus giving His life so we don’t have to face a just punishment for our sins. There is Jesus experiencing a painful and excruciating death so that we may have life. There is Jesus taking our place because He wants something so much more for us.
May we never underestimate the magnitude of Christ’s sacrifice and what He endured for our sakes. But may our understanding of what He has done for us cause us to live differently. We can accept Christ and His sacrifice made on our behalf. We can adore Him for doing what He did for us. We can serve Him in humble thankfulness for that work He accomplished. We can make our lives after knowing Him about demonstrating our love to Him and giving ourselves for His sake.