Abinadi the prophet continues his speech to king Noah and his people, now giving them scripture from Isaiah (verse 1), quoting the prophesies that point to the coming of Christ.
“For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground; he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him there is no beauty that we should desire him” (verse 2).
Christ was born, and grew as any normal child grows, requiring the care and protection and nourishing of his earthly parents. He was as normal looking as any child, with no special outward appearance that announced him as the Messiah.
“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (verse 3).
Note that it says “He *is* despised and rejected…”, not just that He will be despised (by the Jews of His day, or the haters of our day), or that He was despised (at the time of his ministry or death, or even premortally by those who did not follow Heavenly Father’s plan). He quotes the verses as “He *is* despised”, and thus confronts king Noah and his people with the fact that they are, right now, in the very state of despising the Christ.
“Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted” (verse 4).
This is the work of the atonement, which is in three steps: the work in Gethsemane, and the work of the crucifixion, and the work of the resurrection.
We know that the resurrection is what conquered death, so that all of us get immortality.
We often speak of the crucifixion, which paid the price of our sins, meeting justice for our breaking the laws of God.
But in this verse, Abinadi and Isaiah are talking about the first step, in Gethsemane, where Jesus Christ became the sinner in our place. He didn’t just pay the price for us on the cross. He did do that, yes, but the reason He could do that was because He took our sin for us. It wasn’t just that He died and we were forgiven, but rather He took our sins from us – so that we could be innocent, more than just forgiven – and He, who had done no sin, became the sinner, feeling all of our griefs and sorrows from living in this fallen state, and suffered our consequences instead of us having to suffer. He took on both the pain of our sin, and the pain of the consequences.
(Stephen E Robinson does a marvelous job explaining this in Chapter Five of “Believing Christ“.)
“… He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities…” (verse 5).
He was not being punished for His own mistakes.
He was punished for ours.
He took our sins upon Himself, and then paid the price for them.
He did this for me.
He did this for you.
He did this for all of us.
“All we, like sheep, have gone astray…” (verse 6).
All of us. Even me. Even you.
“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth…” (verse 7).
Being divine, being God, He had the power to stop at anytime. At any moment, He could have said, “this is too hard!” or “this is too much!” But He didn’t. He took it, all of it, every bit.
He finished the work He came to do.
“He was taken from prison and from judgment…” (verse 8).
He was never really held in prison, waiting for a fair trial. He was arrested in the night, given a fake trial, bounced around because no one really wanted to kill him, and then finally killed by His own people. The Living Christ says it this way:
He was arrested and condemned on spurious charges, convicted to satisfy a mob, and sentenced to die on Calvary’s cross. He gave His life to atone for the sins of all mankind.
“And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death” (verse 9).
He was crucified between two criminals, and buried in a donated tomb.
“Yet it pleased the Lord…” (verse 10).
It’s so hard to comprehend!
He loved us that much.
He wanted that much for us to make it back home to Heavenly Father.
And He has promised that we will.
We can, because He has met the demands of justice:
“He (Heavenly Father) shall see the travail of his (Jesus Christ’s) soul, and shall be satisfied…” (verse 11).
The atonement satisfies the requirements of justice.
“… he bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors…” (verse 12).
We are the many.
We are the transgressors.
We are the many transgressors.
He did it for all of us.