||Chosen no: R-573 d, from: 1884 Year.
|Change lang |
Himself Took Our Infirmities And Bare Our Sicknesses.
Since it is repeatedly stated in Scripture that
Jesus was free from sin, both personal and inherited, that "in him
was no sin," (2 Cor. 5:21,) that no
cause of death was found in him (Luke 22:23),
etc., some have wondered how these statements can be reasonably harmonized with
others and with the facts of Jesus' life.
We know well that death and all its
accompaniments of pain and sorrow are the direct result of sin, and that if any
man were actually free from sin, he would be free also from sin's penalty,
death. We know that the same law which guarantees that the disobedient shall
die, guarantees also that the obedient shall live. (Rom.
10:5; Gal. 3:12.) The question, then,
is not an unreasonable one: If Mary's child did no sin and did not receive the
imperfect and condemned Adamic life through a human father, but a perfect, unimpaired and uncondemned life transferred from his pre-existent condition,
should he be born an imperfect, blemished, pained and dying human being? We answer,
no, he should not, and if Jesus was thus born we should assuredly claim that it
was an evidence either that in him was sin, and over him death had power
and dominion because of sin dwelling in him, or that God's law had been
violated and the innocent compelled to suffer the penalty of
guilt. But as either of these views would be opposed to the character and word
of God, we reject both as erroneous.
Jesus being free from all sin was equally
free from all penalties or wages of sin. Were it otherwise he could not
have given himself a ransom--an equivalent price--for the sin of
the first Adam and its consequences. Had he come into the world under
condemnation of death he would have had no life to lay down for ours, as
our redemption price. To be an acceptable sacrifice he must have been (as shown
in the types also) a "Lamb without blemish and without spot." (1 Pet. 1:19.) And "the Lamb of God which
taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29)
was without blemish, and was therefore an acceptable sacrifice. And let it not
be forgotten that this sacrifice was not made in the change of nature
from spiritual to human, but was made after he had become a man-- "A body
hast thou prepared me" for the suffering of death. (Heb.
10:5.) Hence it should be clear to all, that death in no sense had any
claim upon him until he offered himself--a man for men (1
Cor. 15:21), and "became obedient unto death." (Phil. 2:8.)
Doubtless the desire to sacrifice himself and
thus redeem men, was in the mind of the youthful Jesus long before he reached
manhood, and presented himself in consecration to death in the symbol of
baptism. But he could not do so until then, for though he had been coming to manhood all those thirty years, he had not come until thirty years of
age according to the Law. There, finding himself a man, "he became [by consecration] obedient unto death," and conducted himself in such a
way also as to exhaust and use up his perfect life.
If this reasoning be correct and scriptural, it
proves that the man Jesus was a perfect being--a PERFECT MAN; hence he
possessed not only vitality, but every other quality of body and mind, in a way
not possessed by the Adamic race enslaved for centuries to sin and groaning
under the bondage of corruption (death). In a word, Jesus at the time of his
consecration must have had that perfection of form and feature, of mind and
body, originally possessed by Adam before sin and death blighted and withered
his crown of glory and honor. (Psa. 8:5; Heb. 2:7.) And the same glorious perfection must
have been in the man Jesus which will be found in all the restored race when in the close of his glorious reign, their Redeemer shall have wiped away
all traces and marks of sin and pain and death. (Rev.
We know that Jesus received a special anointing
of the Spirit at the time of his baptism, and it may not be possible for us to
accurately determine how many of his miracles were the result of this
anointing, and how many of his wonderful works were merely the exercise of
powers belonging to all perfect men, undegraded and in full fellowship
with God. We find to-day progidies among men, some representing to a greater
degree than their fellow-men, one or another human quality; yet it must be
apparent, that if one man could be imagined, who possessed the great qualities
and powers of all great men, he could be no more than a perfect man, and doubtless then would be found very imperfect, if compared with either
of the two perfect men, Adam and Jesus.
Let us remember that the first man lost great dominion,
glory and honor which belonged to human nature, when he sold himself
to sin (Psa. 8:5; Rom.
7:14.) Let us remember, too, that Jesus possessed that same humanity,
and all its crown of glory, honor and dominion, when he became a man. (Heb. 2:9.)
Before considering further Jesus' power as a
perfect man, let us examine a scripture usually supposed to teach that Jesus
was one of the most disfigured and hideous of men, without a trace of beauty or
anything to cause men to admire [R574 : page 3] him.
This view is the very opposite of the one we are presenting. We claim that the
face and form are the very index to the heart and life. So surely and to the
extent that dissipation and sin have hold on a man's mind and body, so surely
will his face declare it. And as surely as purity and grace reign within, the
face will indicate it. If Jesus was a perfect man he must have been as
far from physical deformity and imperfection as the east is from the west.
Instead of horrible, we believe him to have been "altogether lovely."
The scriptures in question are found in Isa. 52:14and 53:2. Please refer
and read. Concerning these statements we would say, that the translation of Isa.
52:14in the common King James' version is not as clear as in others.
The Douay translation of verse 14reads:
"So shall his visage be inglorious among men and his form among the sons
of men." Young's translation has it: "So marred by man, his
appearance and his form by sons of men." In all, the passage has evidently
one of two meanings: It might refer to the marring of his beauty with the
thorns, nails and sorrows. If he had no beauty he could not have it marred, and
the more perfect his feature and form, the more it could be marred;
hence if he was "altogether lovely" his beauty might be marred more
than others because he had more to mar, and yet not be after all inferior to
others in appearance.
Or it may refer to his character, as suggested
by the Douay translation. He was deficient in
those qualities which the world esteems--inglorious and ignoble in their depraved sight. Depraved man has come to admire many things which in his
perfection would have seemed horrible, and he has come to despise that
which is good and truly grand. The Jewish people looked for the Saviour and
deliverer promised, but looked from the depraved standpoint. Their conception
was a mighty warrior who, by plunder and butchery, should accumulate a great
army, and with carnal weapons should conquer the world, and thus save them from
their enemies roundabout. They overlooked the fact that their Saviour
must conquer death first, before subduing all things unto himself; in order
that his might be an everlasting dominion.
Hence when Jesus and a few humble disciples
walked through Palestine
declaring "the kingdom" at hand and Jesus the king, and all eyes were
attracted to him, they DESPISED him. He was a young man and most of his
followers the same. He had no army, and no wealth with which to collect one;
neither had he any influence among the great. And when he said, "Love your
enemies, do good to them that persecute you," "Lay not up for
yourselves treasures upon earth," and, "If thine enemy hunger feed
him," they concluded that such a one was the least likely to be the
Even the purity and love and gentleness, blended
with firmness and manly fearlessness, which marked his face and bore witness of
his sinlessness, were to their depraved taste marks of effeminacy. They would
have much more admired the deep set marks of sin, ferocity, passion, with words
of malice and hatred, coupled with boasts and threats against their enemies. So
when they beheld him his "visage was inglorious among men, and
his form among the sons of men."
This last, is our view of the meaning of this
text, and it seems to agree perfectly with the context succeeding, which we
will now consider--we give the Douay translation (Isa. 53:2-12)--our comments in
"And he shall grow up as a tender plant
before him, and as a root out of a thirsty ground: [His appearance and
surroundings seemed unfavorable; he was an unlikely king.] There is no
beauty in him nor comeliness; and we have seen him and there was no sightliness
that we should be desirous of him." [We found not in him those qualities
generally found in earthly conquerors, and preferred to have a robber and
murderer among us--Acts 3:14] v. 2.
"Despised and most abject [shunned] of men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with infirmity: and his look was as it were
hidden and despised, ["As one hiding the face from us" (as in weeping)
--Young's translation,] whereupon we esteemed him not." [Jesus'
weariness and sorrow and weeping, etc., were construed by men to result from weakness, instead of as it really was, from that perfection of organism which enabled him
to sympathize with the sufferings about him and to alleviate it, at his own
loss. The more perfect the organism, the more sympathetic, the finer its
quality, the more easily is it pained, and more deeply wounded. You who have
never suffered severe privation, but have things comfortable and clean about
you, if you will go into some of the garrets and cellars of the large cities,
will meet with such squalor, filth and wretchedness, that you would feel that
death would be far preferable to life, under such conditions; yet there you
will find men, women and children who are so accustomed to such conditions that
they can laugh and sing and be merry, even there. The cause, is that their
senses and tastes are coarser, more depraved than yours.
Think, then, of how the world must have appeared
to the perfect man Jesus, as he saw men grovelling in sin, misery,
sickness and death. He had sorrows indeed, but they were ours which his
sympathy laid hold of, and by which he was impressed more than others. In his
sympathy and love he gave of his own vitality to many of those groaning, dying
ones about him. It is a fact coming daily to be more recognized among
scientific men, that some persons possess greater vitality than others,
and possessing more can communicate it to others who have less; though such are
liable to feel for a time the weakness which is cured in the weaker one. Jesus
being perfect had an abundance of sympathy; consequently he continued to heal
those who came unto him, though each time he was touched with a feeling of THEIR INFIRMITY while they were refreshed and revitalized by his strength.
Few seemingly have noticed; that this is the
teaching implied in the Scripture narrative of many of Jesus' miracles. We,
therefore, quote some instances. A poor woman, who had been sick twelve years
touched his garment and was healed, and "Jesus, immediately knowing in himself, that VIRTUE [power, vitality, strength] HAD
GONE OUT OF HIM," said "Who touched me?" (Mark
5:30.) Luke (8:43-46, and 6:19)
declares that "The whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went VIRTUE [strength, vitality, power] OUT OF HIM, and healed them
all." Matthew 8:17gives the same
testimony: that when Jesus healed the sick it was in fulfillment of Isaiah's
prophecy which we are now considering, "Himself took our infirmities
and bare our sicknesses."
What wonder, then, that such a man is said to
have been a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief? But let us never forget
that if sorrows and pain left its impress on that noble face and form, it was
not because of his own weakness; it was not because pain and sickness and death
had hold of him, but that it had hold of our race, and he, full of love and
sympathy, was bearing the burdens of others. Oh, how far short of such perfect, boundless love do we find ourselves! It is only when we measure
ourselves by such a perfect standard, that we can realize how great was the
fall which our race experienced through Adam's disobedience. No wonder we long
for the restoration of mankind to such a condition, where each will love his
neighbor as himself, and be glad if necessary to share each others' woes; but
it will not be necessary then; for when sin and its effects are all removed,
its penalty, pain, sickness and death will be removed also.
Our conclusion above, that the sorrow and
infirmities which Jesus bore were those of our race, and not his own, is the
testimony of the prophet, v. 4, "Surely he hath borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows; and we have thought him, as it
were, A LEPER, and as one struck of God and afflicted." [Leprosy is in
Scripture a type of sin. The implication here is, that men considered Jesus one
contaminated with sin because he was bearing its penalties, not discerning that
it was ours which he carried. They thought him smitten of God, righteously punished, and saw not that in him was no cause of punishment, and
that he took the infirmities of his own free will.]
"But he was wounded for our iniquities, he was bruised for our sins. The chastisement of our peace
was upon him, and by his bruises we are healed." (verse 5.)
"All we like sheep have gone astray, every one hath turned aside unto his own way, and
the Lord hath laid on him [the willing burden-bearer] the iniquity of US ALL." ["Jehovah hath caused to meet on him, the punishment of US ALL."--Young's translation.]
"He was offered because it was His own
will, and he opened not his mouth. He shall be led as a sheep to the
slaughter, and shall be dumb as a lamb before his shearer, and he shall not
open his mouth." [He shall be nonresisting] verse 7.
"He was taken away from distress and from
judgment [wickedness]: who shall declare [to] his generation, because [or why]
he is cut off from the land of the living? For the wickedness of my people have
I struck [smitten] him." [His death would be of so ignominious a nature,
that few could realize that he was suffering the just for the unjust.]
"And he shall give [himself among] the
ungodly for his burial, and [be with] the rich for [in] his death; because [or
although] he had done no iniquity, neither was there deceit in his mouth; and
the Lord [Jehovah] was pleased [willing] to bruise him in infirmity: [For] if
he shall lay down his life for sin, he shall see a long-lived seed, and the
will of the Lord [Jehovah] shall be prosperous in his hand." [The object [R575 : page 3] of his sacrifice was two-fold. He
desired to do the Father's will, and he desired to be the "everlasting
Father," and to bring many sons to life in the re-generation;
bringing them to freedom, liberty, perfection and honor.] "Because his
soul hath labored, he shall see [the [R575 : page 4] good
results of his sacrifice] and be filled" [or satisfied]. verses 8-10.
"By his knowledge shall my just servant justify many, and [or while] he shall hear their iniquities.
Therefore [because of his faithfulness and sacrifice] will I distribute [or
give] to him very many [inheritances; He becomes sole heir of the inheritance
of each one whom he purchased with his own precious blood--very many--all men.]
And he shall divide the spoils of the strong." [The strong prince of this
world has obtained much spoil from mankind, leaving him destitute; but this
great deliverer shall not only bind the strong man, but then shall he spoil his
house (Matt. 12:29), and during his reign he
shall divide or distribute the spoil to mankind, until at its close they shall
be very rich in glory, honor, and dominion of earth, as at first. He shall be
enabled to do all this] "BECAUSE he hath delivered his soul unto death,
and was reputed [reckoned] with the wicked: and he hath borne the sins of many
and prayed [interceded] for the transgressors." verses 11-12.
We conclude, then, that this very prophecy which
was supposed to teach that Jesus had an ungainly, disfigured, and
hideous appearance--more than any other man, teaches the very reverse of this,
that his perfection was ignoble in the sight of depraved men; and that whatever
of care, or sorrow, or pain marked that perfect lovely face, was the
self-imposed weight of our infirmities and sin.
And, if we recall the various little incidents
of his ministry mentioned by the Apostles, as it were by accident, they all
bear witness to the fact that he was a perfect man, and far superior to those
about him. In childhood's days he was a prodigy whose questions and answers
astonished the Doctors of the Law. As a public teacher he has never had an
equal among men. What other teacher ever had five thousand people leave their
employment, and negligent of food, follow him three days in the wilderness,
marveling at the gracious words that proceeded out of his mouth? (Matt. 14:13-21, and 15:29-39.)
Call to mind the testimony of his enemies, when
they came back to report-- "Never man spake like this man." (John 7:46.) Mark the wisdom of his replies when
they sought to entrap him in his words. (Matthew
22:20-22; and 21:24,25.) Recall their remark,
"Whence hath this man this wisdom?" (Matt.
13:54.) Remember, too, the loftiness of his teaching: although there
have been great teachers in other days, and among the heathen, men who taught
morality of a high type, yet never before was heard such perfection of teaching
as that of Jesus. The morality which teaches truthfulness and justice, keeping
of covenants and obeying of laws, had been taught, and it had been taught,
also, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy;" but none
had ever gone so far as to say, "Love your enemies, bless them that curse
you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for those who despitefully use you
and persecute you." "If thine enemy hunger, feed him, if he thirst,
give him drink." Others had said, "Thou shalt not kill," but
none before had taught that to hate a brother without cause was a degree of
murder. And, with all his meekness and tenderness, he taught them as one having
authority, and not as the scribes.
And Jesus' physical form can have been no less
perfect and beautiful than were his mental qualities. Crowned with the glory
and honor of human nature, he was by reason of his perfection a king among men,
whose very look, calm and benevolent, impressed those about him with
Call to mind how the soldiers who came to take
him in the Garden of Gethsemane, overpowered for a time by the majesty of his
presence, were obliged to retreat before him, though he rebuked them neither in
word nor act. (John 18:3-8.) It was much the
same with another company sent to take him, who came away without him. (John 7:30,32,44-46.) When Pilate was beset with
the Jewish rabble, headed and instigated by the priests, crying, "Crucify
him," he tried various methods to restore order and spare the innocent:
but as a last resort he brought Jesus himself before the people, and, as though
confident that his glorious face and form would captivate the hearts of the
multitude, he said, "BEHOLD THE MAN!" As though he would say, Is that
the man you would crucify? If so, his blood be upon you. Nor can we suppose
that anything short of the blinding of the god of this world--the prince of
darkness --could hinder them from realizing that "he is altogether
lovely," "the chiefest among ten thousand."
And even then, had he chosen to give them a
reproving look--to speak and to rebuke their sin--again the multitude would
doubtless have said, "Never man spake like this man," and again they
might have determined to "take him by force and make him a king." But
he was there, not to clear himself and prove his innocence, but to suffer, to
die, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God; hence he did nothing to
interfere with his sacrifice of himself. "He answered him never a word."
(Matt. 27:12-14.) He chose rather to give
himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
Behold the perfect man, Jesus, and reflect that
through his ransom mankind in general has been redeemed from the present lost
condition of degradation and death, and may again reach perfection through
"the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world."
If such be the glory of mankind--a little LOWER than the angels--what must be the glory of that high exaltation to which
Jesus has attained as a reward for his obedience--the divine nature "so much BETTER than the angels." Then, while trying to grasp God's plan, remember
that though we know not what he is and what we shall be, we do know that
we shall see him and be like him as he now is--so much exalted above
what he then was, grand as we have seen that to have been. Nor would we
be understood to teach that all of Jesus' wonderful works were performed
by the powers of manhood; many unquestionably were more than human powers--the direct result of his anointing with the Holy Spirit at baptism, the
power of Jehovah in him.
In concluding this subject, we desire to lay
before you another translation of Isa. 53. It
is by a Hebrew, and is the English translation accepted among that people. From
such a source one would not unreasonably expect that every item would be turned
as far from fitting the general application of it to Jesus as the language
would permit: yet it is clear and strong, and it seems wonderful that in its
clear delineation the poor Jew cannot read the life of Christ Jesus our Lord.
We give a literal quotation:
"Who would have believed our report? And
the arm of the Lord--over whom hath it been revealed? Yea, he grew up like a
small shoot before him, and as a root out of a dry land: He had no form nor
comeliness, so that we should look at him, and no countenance, so that we
should desire him. He was despised and shunned by men; a man of pains and
acquainted with disease; and as one who hid his face from us was he despised,
and we esteemed him not."
"But only OUR diseases did he bear himself,
and OUR pains he carried; while we indeed esteemed him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. Yet he was wounded for OUR transgressions, he was
bruised for OUR iniquities: the chastisement of OUR peace was upon him; and
through his bruising was healing granted to us."
"We all like sheep went astray; every one
to his own way did we turn; and the Lord let befall him the GUILT OF US
"He was oppressed, and he was also taunted,
yet he opened not his mouth; like the lamb which is led to the slaughter, and
like a ewe before her shearers is dumb, and he opened not his mouth."
"Through oppression and through judicial
punishment was he taken away; but his generation--who could tell, that he was
cut away out of the land of life, (that) for the transgressions of my people
the plague was laid on him?"
"And he let his grave be made with the
wicked and with the (godless) rich at his death. Although he had done no
violence and there was no deceit in his mouth, but the Lord was pleased to
crush him through disease. When (now) his soul hath brought the
trespass-offering, then shall he see (his) seed live many days, and the
pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand."
"(Freed) from the trouble of his soul shall
he see (the good) and be satisfied: through his knowledge shall my righteous
servant bring many to righteousness, while he will bear their
iniquities. Therefore will I divide him (a portion) with the many, and with
the strong shall he divide the spoil; because he poured out his soul unto
death, and with transgressors was he numbered, while he bore the sin of
many; and FOR the transgressors he let (evil) befall him."--Isaac Leeser's
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