Wounded For Our Transgression
Sacramental Meditation XXXI 
By John Willison, Practical Works (London: Blackie & Son, 1844), 287-9; minimally edited.

“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).

How amazing is the love of God to fallen man, in taking a body to be pierced and wounded for him! – Man did cast off the image of his Maker, and became a rebel and runaway from God. And behold, his Maker takes on Him man’s image, to restore him again to favor. Yea, He assumes our nature, when at the lowest, that so He might sigh, groan, weep, bleed, and die for undone man; and He did this, to raise him from his miserable state, to a happier condition than he was in before his fall. Had not God become man, we could not have enjoyed Him so nearly, so familiarly as we may do now. The enjoyment of God as a Redeemer, a husband, a brother, is another manner of enjoyment of Him than of God as a Creator. Though we ruined ourselves, and fell under wrath, yet God, by the incarnation has recovered us, and made us up far above all we had to lose. But, ere this be done, He must not only be man, but He must be wounded for and by man’s sins; yea, wounded to death, and crucified.

Many, yea innumerable, were the wounds my God Redeemer received for me; as by the thorns that pricked His head,… by the scourge that tore and furrowed His back; besides the wounds made in his hands and feet by the nails and the spear; and the many wounds given His soul by the curses of the law. Now, all these wounds are opened as so many mouths to call us to flee into them for safety from the sword of justice. These wounds were unspeakably painful, being envenomed by our sins. Crucifying, in itself, was an exceeding painful death; the nails whereon the body hung, pierced the most sinewy parts of the body, and consequently most sensible of pain. And hence the Romans expressed torment by a word borrowed from the cross; and make cruciate signify to torment. Thus was our innocent Saviour wounded on the cross, cruciate or tormented, and all to save us from eternal torments.

Astonishing sight! The eternal Son of God, whom all the angels worship, wounded to death, hung by nails on a cross, tortured and racked for hours, and, in the mean time, loaded with reproach and scorn from those He died for! Never such a sight as this! it struck terror in the whole creation. The sun hid its face, and could not behold it, the vail of the temple rent in twain, the earth quaked, the rocks rent, the dead were moved, and their graves opened. And even His enemies were struck with amazement, and made to shrink, and say, “Truly this was a righteous person; this was the Son of God.” O my soul, employ all thy faculties, all thy thoughts, to study, and penetrate into this awful subject; it deserves the profoundest regard and closest attention. Hence the great apostle determined to study and know nothing but it.

This amazing tragedy ought to create in me the greatest abhorrence of sin, the cause of it. Never can sin appear more exceeding sinful, and hateful, than in the wounding and crucifying of the Son of God. Our transgressions were the nails and spear that wounded His sacred body, and the sword that pierced His soul. These were the Judas that betrayed Him, the soldiers that bound Him, blindfolded, and mocked Him, the Pilate that condemned Him, the executioners that nailed Him to the cursed tree. It was our sins that put the sword in His enemies’ hands. He became a curse for us. All the derision, mockery, and contempt; all the pain, suffering, and sorrow He endured, did proceed from our sins; these brought Him to the cross, and to the grave. Let us then turn our hatred, and discharge our fiercest indignation against our sins, let them be our aversion and dread for ever; let me always look on sin, that crucified Christ, with horror and trembling. Never such an instance of the strictness and severity of God’s justice, and of His abhorrence of sin as here! He would not spare His dear Son, when He stood in the room of sinners, nor spare Him one stripe or wound, when He cried; but let Him bleed and die, till sin was fully atoned for! Can I see this and not cry, O cursed sin! murderer of the Son of God; away with it, away with it; crucify it, crucify it.

O my soul, see the evil of sin in the glass of Christ’s wounds and sufferings in his body and soul! Say, O sin, what hast thou done! Thou hast provoked the God of heaven to fiery indignation! Thou hast killed the Prince of life, turned angels into devils, filled the earth with troubles, and hell with precious souls! If anybody had killed my father, would I embrace the murderer, or love the dagger that was besmeared with his blood? but what are all my relations to “my Lord, my love, that was crucified!” Oh that my eyes were fountains of tears, that I might weep day and night for my sins that slew my Saviour! O stony heart, for shame, become now like wax, and be melted in the midst of my bowels! Woe is me, that I can grieve no more for my sins. Let me at least revenge my Saviour’s death upon my sins, and suffer them no longer to live in me.

How dreadful must the guilt of those be who willingly harbor sin, and delight in the murder of the Lord! It is no less than to kiss the nails, or hug the spear that pierced Him. They make that their joy which made Christ a man of sorrow! They make light of that which made His soul heavy unto death. Oh, have I seen my Saviour bleeding to death by sin, and shall I live any longer in sin that wounded Him? When a temptation to sin is presented, shall I ever dispute any more, whether Christ or Barabbas shall be preferred? My lusts denied, or my Lord crucified? Whether these sins shall be forsaken by me, that made Christ to be forsaken of God? Whether that shall be sweet to me, that was so bitter and deadly to Him? Oh, was my lovely Jesus a man of sorrows all his life and sometimes made to say, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful;” and shall not I be sorry for, and abhor those sins that caused all his sorrows?

Oh may the believing view of Christ’s wounds and sufferings endured for my sins, kindle the fire of love in my soul to Christ. Lord, thou art the God that was wont to answer thy people by fire; Oh pity me, and answer my meditations and prayers, by kindling the holy fire of love in my heart, and let that fire put out the impure fire of my lusts and corruptions, and inspire me with holy zeal and activity in thy service. Oh did Christ freely give himself to be a sin-offering for me; and shall not I give myself a thank-offering to Him? Surely it is highly reasonable that I should offer myself a living sacrifice to my Redeemer, who offered himself a dying sacrifice for my redemption. Ω