Bruce A. Ware
Our Sins upon Another (Isaiah 53:6)
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned–every one–to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. –Isaiah 53:6
Isaiah 53:6 has two main messages to convey: all people have sinned against God and God has dealt with our sin in a surprising way.
First, all men and women, boys and girls, have turned away from God and have gone in directions contrary to God’s will and ways. Isaiah likens what we have done to what sheep do when they have no shepherd to lead and care for them. They wander. They go astray. They head in directions that turn out to be dangerous and harmful to them. Just like these straying sheep, we–the whole human race in Adam–have gone our own way and have turned away from the path of life and joy that God has told us to take. Lest we think that this is an innocent wandering, recall the previous verse where our transgressions and iniquities have been said to have been borne by Another who was pierced and crushed for these wrongdoings. So, we have gone our own way, and we are wrong and guilty before God to have done so.
Second, despite the wrong we have done, the Lord has taken these iniquities that we have brought to pass by our wandering away from Him, and He has caused those iniquities and sins to fall upon Another instead. Rather than causing our own iniquities, sin, and guilt to come to us, God in His mercy has caused instead these wrongdoings to fall upon Another who bore our sin. Even though we are in the wrong, and we deserve to pay for our own sins, God has mercifully designed a way by which our sins are paid for by Another.
If we inquire who this Other person may be who bore our sins, we learn the answer in the New Testament. God gave His own Son to bear our sin in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Peter 2:24-25). Jesus, God’s own Son, took upon Himself our human nature that He might live the life of obedience we failed to live, and die the death for sin that we deserved to die. His life and death substituted for us, and by the payment of His life on the cross, our sins are removed as we put our faith in Christ (Romans 3:25-26).
What a glorious Savior is our Lord Jesus Christ.
How does the phrase, “all of us like sheep have gone astray,” describe your own life of sin and folly?
What is your response to God’s plan to cause your personal sin and iniquity to be born by Christ Jesus? Are you humbled by this? Are you grateful God has done this for you in Christ?
What differences does this verse make for how you should live your life before God and others? As Paul reminds us, we are not our own, for we have been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). How should this affect the way we live our lives?
Bruce A. Ware is Professor of Christian Theology and chairman of the Department of Christian Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. He has written several books, including his theology book for children, Big Truths for Young Hearts: Teaching and Learning the Greatness of God. Bruce and his wife, Jodi, have two daughters and three grandchildren. The Wares love drives in the country, hikes in the woods, walks on the beach, and time with their daughters and son-in-law and grandchildren, along with reading and good music.