“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.” – Isaiah 53:5.
While meditating on Isaiah 53 this morning, this verse and particular line resonated with me. I pondered the notion of peace being chastised. Peace, by its very definition means tranquility or freedom from disturbance; while chastisement means punishment. Why would Christ be punished because of and for our peace? Well, two thoughts came to mind and although this understanding is fresh for me, it has already given life to my spirit.
The first thought is the fact that Christ bore ALL our sins – including the sin of contentment with sinful habits and practices. Contentment is synonymous with peace. It is quite possible to feel “peaceful” when doing something wrong, if you feel no accompanying conviction. After all, the scripture says, there is a way that SEEMS right to a man, but this way ultimately leads to death and destruction (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25). So “the chastisement of our peace was upon Him” speaks to the fact that Christ was punished because of our peaceful contentment with sin – those things that we continue to engage in with no remorse or conviction, or despite our convictions.
The second thought comes from the Garden of Eden, where we first lost our righteous peace. You see, when Adam and Eve were created, they were built with a default character setting that included all 9 fruit of the spirit (ref. Galatians 5:22-23). They were created perfectly in God’s own image. Because of sin’s influence, a PIECE of fruit cost them their PEACE. And I wonder today, how much peace we continue to forfeit… just to have a piece of whatever our “fruit” is? So, Christ was not only chastised because of our peace (i.e. our peaceful contentment with sin), He was also chastised for our peace. Meaning, He bore stripes (beatings) so we could experience righteous peace again. The righteous peace that was originally a part of our salvation package, has now been reset as our default setting.
Recognizing now that Jesus was punished because of your peace and for your peace, what will your response be to Him? The Word of God says that if we have received the wonderful gift of Christ’s sacrifice for us and we turn away from it or reject it, it is like we “crucify Him afresh and openly shame Him” (Hebrews 6:4-6). And we all have a sense of what that feels like – to make sacrifices for the people we love, only to have them in turn become rejecting, neglecting, or even dismissive towards us at times. It causes great hurt and shame, which is exacerbated if we sense that they either don’t care that they’re hurting us or are nonchalant in their response to our pain. Situations like this indicate that even in the natural there’s a point where someone else’s “peace” can sometimes feel like chastisement to you. Imagine what Christ must have felt.
I challenge us today to do a heart-evaluation:
1. What area(s) of your life have you become “peacefully content” with, despite it being dishonoring to God?
2. What was it that you had a piece of (i.e. engaged in) that has consequently affected your peace?
3. Have you rejected the message behind the chastisement that Christ endured because of your peace and for your peace?
Let’s endeavor today, and as we transition into a new year, not to crucify Christ afresh by our actions. Once was enough. Let’s claim the righteous peace that Blood was shed for us to have, and let us in turn share that peace with others.