3 He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; he was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
4 Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.
(NKJV – like all other verses)
These are powerful verses of OT prophesy regarding our Lord, His ministry, the vision and purposes of heaven. Once again validated by its inseparable pertinence to the current NT era in which we live, these scriptures contain some absolutes for us to ponder, absorb, embrace, hope in. They are inarguably about our Lord, although many Jewish scholars will attempt to point to the “messianic-suffering” as a national call. Sadly (for them) far too many of the Hebrew word constructions, and phrasing, cannot be logically separated from the scriptural intent: this is about one Man.
He (Jesus) was despised and rejected by men. He was a man of sorrows – the One demonstrating the fullness of the Kingdom of God, a Kingdom that is marked by joy. He was acquainted with grief. He was, for the most part, esteemed lowly. Mocked and scourged, and eventually crucified.
Verse 4 assures us, in past tense (He was crucified by prophetic plan, before the foundation of the world – Rev 3:8), that He has prophetically ALREADY borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, paid the price for our transgressions, and was bruised for our iniquities. And the stripes healed us. All done already – in biblical timeliness – prior to the foundation of the world. We’re invited to tremble at the Word and not manipulate it. And we ought not separate any one component of these verses from the others. Either they are all done, or all not.
Forward from the writing of Isaiah, and even forward from the actual events on the cross, we see a gospel account written in which saints (us included), continued and continue to experience a gospel life not devoid of sorrow, grief, sickness, and the ramifications of sins – both our own sin as well as that of others. Shouldn’t all the sin, sorrow, suffering and sickness have been done away with, the moment our Lord died? What’s up? I thought Isa 55 was a done deal. Huh?
2 Cor 7:9 (Paul speaks about saints being brought to sorrowing – to the point of repentance. This is after their initial salvation experience. And loving papa Paul rejoiced that the sorrow occurred – because he recognized the more important eternal fruit)
9 Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing.
Rom 9:1-3 (Paul’s compassion for the Jews takes him personally into both sorrow and continual grief)
1 I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit,
2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart.
3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh,
Rev 21:3-4 (Here we see that tears and pain FINALLY get wiped away – at the end of time, once the tabernacle of God is with men. HHY. Hasn’t Happened quite Yet)
3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.
4 “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
1 Tim 5:23 (Paul is telling the man of God, his spiritual son Timothy, that there’s some physical remedy for Timothy’s ongoing physical infirmity, so apparently healing had not occurred from heaven, for Timothy, at least not at the time of writing)
23 No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities.
Rom 8:35-39 (These glorious verses assure us that no one, no outside element, can separate us from our God, and yet these challenging components of life-in-a-fallen-world are not presented by Paul as having been eliminated from the lives of NT saints: trouble, distress, even peril or death by sword. They remained, and remain present on earth, today. Exit the Western bubble. Ask the North Korean and Egyptian Christians)
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,
39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Our own lives bear witness that trouble is part of our gospel. And yet/of course we win, and we win big. Still, much “stuff of life” has not changed from Old to New Testament times. It has always involved swimming upstream. It has never been a party walking with God. It has always cost everything (but not money – it costs more than money – your life):
1 “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
2 Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance.
….. and yet walking with the Lord, in His will, remains the very best deal in town. Peter said it smartly as times got tough, to the point of crucifixion:
67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”
68 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
The answer to the blog-title question is that suffering has not been eliminated (yet) because of what was fully accomplished on the cross. The good news is that our sufferings now have divine purpose. They are not for naught. Isa 55 is without contradiction. It only appears contradictory if you buy into the Western gospel, which is no gospel at all, because it defies the Scriptures. Every disease is not yet healed. Every tear is not yet wiped away. Moreover, the lion and the lamb are not yet hanging out together. The swords are not yet beat into plowshares. There is a conclusion to this adventure, and it is perfect and complete, but it ain’t quite yet. This is another reason why we want to be hastening the coming of our Lord.
Peter is writing to the saints, to saved ones.
1 Pet 4:15-19
15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters.
16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.
17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?
18 Now “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?”
19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.
The admonishment is not to suffer outside of the will of God, not to suffer unnecessarily because of our sins – because sin brings on its own suffering. Could Peter be describing suffering WITHIN the will of God? Suffering for the sake of advancing the Kingdom, and the resistance, from the evil one, that such advancement mIght meet? Could it mean that sometimes our sovereign God might cause us to suffer, because He sees forward beyond the NOW?
One man’s opinion: I refer to it as the woodshed anointing when that suffering is from God, as our correction. It has biblical precedent:
13 “When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then Ephraim went to Assyria and sent to King Jareb; yet he cannot cure you, nor heal you of your wound.
14 For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, and like a young lion to the house of Judah. I, even I, will tear them and go away; I will take them away, and no one shall rescue.
15 I will return again to My place till they acknowledge their offense. Then they will seek My face; in their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.”
Hosea 6:1 (Hosea had it right. Other “prophets” were busy pulling the prophetic yoke off Jeremiah’s shoulders, proclaiming joy and deliverance, when neither were yet to occur in Israel, where correction was their portion at that time – national correction that went as far as death and judgment). Those anti-yoke prophets had good intention. But it was inaccurate and therefore ungodly, sort of like Peter telling the Jesus he loved that the cross was not for Him to die on……
What do accurate Hosea conclude and proclaim in the following chapter of his prophetic writing? Does he blame satan for the troubles of Israel?
1 Come, and let us return to the LORD; for He has torn, but He will heal us; he has stricken, but He will bind us up.
There is little eternal glory to that kind of suffering, unless/until it brings about repentance. But that is the OT, you say.
11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (to those who refuse to be trained by it, there is no peaceable fruit of righteousness, but rather ongoing and increased intensity of correction. Remember, He’ll never leave us nor forsake us).
12 Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees,
13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.
14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:
15 looking diligently lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;
16 lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.
17 For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.
18 For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest,
19 and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore.
20 (For they could not endure what was commanded: “And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow.”
21 And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.”)
22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels,
23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect,
24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.
25 See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven,
Suffering is part of the gospel plan. Jesus led the way:
5 So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him: “You are My Son, today I have begotten You.”
6 As He also says in another place: “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek”;
7 who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear,
8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.
9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,
God, in His wisdom, and according to His will and way, invites us to bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar (Psalm 118). Rope down your free will to the purposes of God. Our God invites us into perfection.
The work done on the cross determined by God before the foundation of the earth, was to provide us with sufficient forgiveness as to allow us entry into the intimate place of His presence, where He can perfect Christ in us. Our God Who never changes (Malachi, someplace) has demonstrated throughout both testaments, that He has a perspective of eternity that far exceeds our perspective of anything.
The great Healer, the One with the most comprehensive and profound healing ministry to ever grace earth, prioritized, and continues to prioritize, eternity over healing, prosperity, peace in our homes, over it all.
43 “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched–
44 “where ‘Their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’
45 “And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched–
46 “where ‘Their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’
47 “And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire–
48 “where ‘Their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’
I am so pressed to be pressing in for the fullness of the Kingdom to come to earth. Amen. I will pray to bring it, to usher it in. I will in faith, and as led by the Holy Spirit, pray according to the purposes revealed to me. Having said that, rather than healing (I’ve experienced it, I have been involved in it, believe it, and I personally need it), rather than prosperity and unlimited provision (Amen!), rather than happy-go-lucky socks-blessed-off Christian living (my flesh says sign me up!), rather than us giddily trying to carve out or prioritize any one eventually-to-be-fully-manifested component of the completeness of the Kingdom, which by Divine design is awaiting the return and appearance of the King – is that we embrace the will of God, and experience death to self, so that our vibrantly alive spirit man arrives before the Throne some day (on time, and not prematurely), fully prepared to meet our God – with what might need to have been judged and corrected, already judged and corrected.
1 Cor 11:31-32
31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.
32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.
His joy is our strength. His desire is for us to walk blessed, in wellness and healing. Amen. PLAN A. And in that PLAN A, our eternal position still trumps it all. That is not condemnation nor lack of faith. That is biblical. The cross made the way for us to make the way home to God. It is a complete and glorious work. I am happy with that. Paul learned to be content in all states. His faith did not fail him, forcing him to learn to be content in need, or prison, or heading to beheading. His faith sustained him.
2 Cor 4:16-18
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.
17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,
18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.