Bearing Our Sins and Sorrows
Nov 3, 2015 1093
When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “He Himself took our infirmities And bore our sicknesses” (Matt 8:16–17).
It is fascinating to see how the writers of the New Testament interpret the Scriptures of the Old Testament. Their methods of interpretation are not the same as ours. After all, they aren’t twenty-first century Christians who have gone through all the theological development of the last couple of millennia.
We assume that the way we interpret Scripture must always be correct, because… well… that’s the way we do it. However, the way that the NT writers, and even Jesus Himself, understand and use the OT is an endless source of fascination to me, since they do it in first century-Palestinian Jewish ways. When you pay attention to what the NT writers actually say, they can give us fresh insights not only into the OT text, but also into the person and work of Jesus Christ.
For example, in the text above, the apostle Matthew is quoting the well-known verse in Isaiah 53:4. In my mind I relate this text with Christ bearing our sins at the cross. So it becomes a highly spiritualized concept. And I usually only ever think of it in that context. However, when the apostle Matthew quotes this text, in his mind it has to do with the power of the compassionate Christ who heals every sickness with his word, so that it is in his way he has borne our griefs and carried them (away).
This shows us that Scripture does not have simply one meaning and application. It teaches us that culture and context plays its part in how we understand it. But it also teaches me a much more beautiful lesson.
It tells me that at the cross Jesus truly did take ALL my infirmities and really did bear ALL my sorrows. They were all there in Christ, nailed to the tree. What happened at Calvary was not simply some esoteric, conceptual, spiritual thing. Christ reconciles all things through the cross (Col 1:20). And because of that, Christ has all authority on heaven on earth today to take my sorrows, my grief, my sicknesses, and my pain and carry them away.
Of course, Isaiah 53 is about how Jesus would deal with sin at the cross.
However, in terms of what Matthew was trying to say, here is the bottom line: Christ has power to bear your sicknesses and your pain today. You are not alone. He has power to heal you today. And whatever burdens you may need to bear, He will bear them for you. It adds even more beauty to the prophet Isaiah’s incredible prophecy of Christ. We haven’t yet plumbed the depths of Calvary.
– Eliezer Gonzalez
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