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    By His Wounds

    Why did Jesus have to suffer and die? Why do we celebrate this brutal and violent event in history? April 18, 2011 by Captain Mark Braye
    Filed Under:
    Opinion & Critical Thought
    “By his wounds,” the prophet Isaiah wrote, “we are healed.” Jesus Christ “took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows” … “he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him” … Jesus “bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

    These words from Isaiah 53 allude to the Passion of Jesus Christ spoken of and told throughout the Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. These words are violent and vicious; grotesque and graphic. They disturb and disrupt. These words are brought to life in a graphic portrayal in the 2004 film The Passion of the Christ. (The full movie can be viewed below.)

    The Passion of the Christ was released theatrically on Ash Wednesday in 2004. I was living in Fort McMurray, Alta., at the time and had the opportunity to see the film the night before at an advanced screening. The theatre was packed to capacity, with the majority of the church congregations in town represented by members present.

    Before the film began people were chatting and greeting one another. Others were getting snacks, popcorn, candy and drinks, as if we were going to see a typical Hollywood movie.

    After the film, however, as the credits were rolling and the lights were coming on, the room was deathly silent; you could hear a pin drop. We were not chatting. We were not worried about our leftover popcorn or drinks. We had just watched the words of the Passion narratives come to life. We were moved, affected, touched.

    The words found in Isaiah 52:13-53:12 are somewhat confusing; they do not seem to add up or make sense. We are healed by the wounds of Jesus? Christ carried our sins and sorrows and was pierced and crushed for our transgressions? His punishment brought us peace?

    These are some questions, among others, we ask ourselves during this time of year. They guide our thoughts during the Lenten season and challenge us to look fully into the Passion narratives and words of Scripture.

    Phillip Paul Bliss wrote the fabulous hymn Hallelujah, What a Saviour! The lyrics of the song reach back to Isaiah and the Old Testament and bring us through the birth, ministry, passion, death and the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ.

    Man of sorrows! What a name
    For the Son of God, who came
    Ruined sinners to reclaim;
    Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

    Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
    In my place condemned he stood,
    Sealed my pardon with his blood;
    Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

    Guilty, vile and helpless we,
    Spotless Lamb of God was he;
    Full atonement – can it be?
    Hallelujah! What a Saviour!
    Lifted up was he to die;
    It is finished! Was his cry;
    Now in heaven, exalted high;
    Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

    When he comes our glorious King,
    All his ransomed home to bring,
    Then anew this song we'll sing:
    Hallelujah! What a Saviour!


    Jesus Christ was wounded and pierced; he carried sins and sorrows; and he was punished to bring peace and salvation to every child, woman and man in our communities and world.

    Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

    Captain Mark Braye and his wife, Nancy, are the officers/pastors of The Salvation Army Tri-Town Community Church in Temiskaming Shores, Ont. They have two children, Hannah and Micah.





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