Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Whipping Boy

“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. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.  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.” – Isaiah 53:3-5

When I was growing up there were certain parts of the story of Jesus’ torture and crucifixion that to be honest, I just didn’t want to hear!  Singing “There’s Power in the Blood” sounded gross to me, and hearing about how they tore out his beard made me nauseous.  No one wants to hear about these gross things!” I would think.  But then I was told about the whipping boy.
During the 15th and 16th centuries a prince would be schooled and trained by highly educated men who would often find the prince unwilling to do his schoolwork or cooperate with his tutors.  To put it bluntly, the prince was spoiled!  He wasn’t used to having to do what he didn’t want to do.  And because he was under the king’s authority, no one was allowed to punish him except the king, who would often be away at war, or fulfilling other duties. 

To punish the spoiled prince, they gave him a friend.  The friend would be a daily companion, with him constantly, someone he would come to love.  When the prince needed discipline, they would bring in the friend, and whip the friend, hence the name “whipping boy” was given to the friend.  Out of love for the friend, the prince would do his work and behave as he should to prevent the whipping boy from enduring the pain of his transgressions.
Jesus was chosen by God to be our whipping boy.  He didn’t choose him because He could not discipline us, but because He loved us too much to give us what we truly deserved – hell.  Isaiah 43:25 says “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, FOR MY OWN SAKE.”  God never wants to give us what we deserved because He loves us and longs for our love in return.  But a debt is a debt, and we created a great debt of sin.

Isaiah 53:3-5 says Jesus was despised, hated, ignored by man.  His life was full of painful moments of rejection.  We saw His suffering but hid our faces from Him.  We didn’t want to look at what we caused, and still don’t!  He bore our grieves and sins, and yet we see Him as whipped by God instead of whipped by ourselves.  Verse 5 says “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.”
Our response in return should be as the prince to the whipping boy.  We should devote ourselves to serving God in such a way as to never cause Jesus pain, and continually show Him our love.

The bloody stripes, the cuts, the pulled out beard, the holes in His hands and feet from the nails....they’re really not gross when you know what they’re all about.  These are signs of love, the love of a friend willing to die for us to prevent being separated from us.

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