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“His Pain—Our Gain”
Isaiah 53:4-6


Pastor Kevin Vogts
Holy Cross Lutheran Church
Dakota Dunes, South Dakota
Good Friday—April 10, 2009

The text for our Good Friday meditation is from the 53rd chapter of Isaiah, Isaiah’s prophetic vision of the suffering and death of our Lord Jesus Christ:

“Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows.  We observed him stricken by God, smitten by him and afflicted.  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.  We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

One of the main teachings of the Christian faith is the “vicarious atonement.”  “Atonement” means “to make up for something.”  I always think of when I was a boy, I once was throwing a ball around the house and broke a pretty blue candy dish.  Before my mother got home from work I went to the drugstore uptown and bought her a different dish to replace it.  That was an act of “atonement,” making up for what I had done.  “Vicarious” means “in the place of someone else.”  So the “vicarious atonement” means “to make up for something, in the place of someone else.”  

And that is exactly what our Lord Jesus Christ did for us with his suffering and death: “Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows.  We observed him stricken by God, smitten by him and afflicted.  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.  We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

If you can’t remember “vicarious atonement,” there’s an easier way to say it: “His Pain—Our Gain.”  Jesus bore our sins in his body on the cross, and not only ours but the sins of the whole world.  God the Father placed upon his Son the guilt of all humankind.  “This is how God showed his love for us: He sent his only-begotten Son into the world that we would have life through him... he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”  “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

“His Pain—Our Gain”  What does the sacrifice of Christ mean for you?  Your sin is all paid for; your punishment is all fulfilled; your guilt is entirely wiped away by the blood of Jesus.  “God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.”  “And the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from every sin.”  “He loved us and his freed us from our sins by his blood.”  “We have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.” 

“His Pain—Our Gain”  What does the sacrifice of Christ mean for you?  “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.”  Because of Christ’s vicarious atonement on your behalf, you will never suffer the punishment your sins deserve.  Because of Christ’s vicarious atonement on your behalf, you will not go to hell but to heaven.  You will not endure forever the torments of eternal death, but instead you will enjoy forever the blessings of eternal life. 

“His Pain—Our Gain”  That is why we call this day, on which our Lord died, “Good Friday.”  Because it was for our eternal good that Christ gave himself up as an offering and sacrifice to pay for our sins.  We could not possibly atone for our sins ourselves.  “There was no other good enough to pay the price of sin; He only could unlock the gate of heaven and let us in.” 

When you are troubled by your sins, when you feel the weight of your guilt, look to the cross, trust in Jesus, and take comfort.  See in the cross your Savior suffering there on your behalf.  See all your sins paid for, all your guilt wiped away.  See in the cross Christ’s vicarious atonement, for you.

“Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows.  We observed him stricken by God, smitten by him and afflicted.  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.  We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

“His Pain—Our Gain”  Amen.

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