Reading: “Surely be hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.”—Isaiah 53:4
Here it is said, “He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.” By which, it may be supposed, is meant, both the curse and the punishment. And certain it is, that unless Christ bore both, the sinner is not freed. From the sinner, or his surety, God’s justice must exact full payment. But if it be found that in the surety that exaction has been made, and fully paid, then is the sinner free; for from both it would be unjust to exact.
Every sinner is exposed to the curse of God and that curse is on every thing belonging to him. Now Jesus, as the sinner’s surety, is called “the man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” He endured the very curse denounced upon the sinner. All was poured on Jesus and, as the curse would follow the sinner in death, so Christ was followed by it to the cross. The sinner’s dying chamber would open to him the horrors of divine wrath on sin, such as Jesus sustained in the garden of Gethsemane. And as no by-standers, no earthly friends, could mitigate the horrors of the sinner’s soul in such a season, so we find Christ, when going through these conflicts for the sinner, could gain no help from any of his disciples; they all “forsook him and fled.”
And as every sinner for whom he, as the surety, has paid no ransom, would in the moment of death, be seized, bound hand and foot, and carried away by an armed hand to utter darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth; so Christ was taken, as the sinner’s surety, by an armed band, from the high priest to the judgment-hall, where he lay all night, suffering the punishment of stripes and mocking.
Surely you say, if Jesus had not sustained the curse and punishment, then must I have borne it for ever. But if, as the prophet has said it in this most blessed scripture, then is the principal debtor free, when the surety has paid the debt! Oh! the preciousness, the suitableness, the completeness of Jesus, in the whole purpose of his redemption.