Sin-Bearer to Sin-Bearer: Day of Atonement to Atonement

Text: Isaiah 52:13–53; John 19:17–30 Speaker: Festival: Tags: / / Passages: Isaiah 52:13–53; John 19:17–30

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Isaiah 52:13–53

He Was Pierced for Our Transgressions (Listen)

13   Behold, my servant shall act wisely;1
    he shall be high and lifted up,
    and shall be exalted.
14   As many were astonished at you—
    his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,
    and his form beyond that of the children of mankind—
15   so shall he sprinkle2 many nations.
    Kings shall shut their mouths because of him,
  for that which has not been told them they see,
    and that which they have not heard they understand.


[1] 52:13 Or shall prosper
[2] 52:15 Or startle


John 19:17–30

17 and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. 19 Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20 Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. 21 So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”

23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic.1 But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, 24 so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says,

  “They divided my garments among them,
    and for my clothing they cast lots.”

So the soldiers did these things, 25 but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

The Death of Jesus (Listen)

28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.


[1] 19:23 Greek chiton, a long garment worn under the cloak next to the skin




The bible has many different words for the work of Christ:

Atonement – Reconciliation – Redemption – Justification – Salvation – Forgiveness – Sacrifice – Sanctification – Vicarious


Almost all of these deal with the result of what Jesus did, especially the result of what it means for us. This is mostly true of our sermon yesterday as well. The Passover lamb is slain the blood covers our sin, death passed over us, we are set free from captivity. The Passover beautifully pictures the result of Christ’s sacrifice for us, but it doesn’t so much picture what it is that Christ would have to do .

For that we turn to another important festival, the Day of Atonement.

The Day of Atonement involved a bull, and two young goats. The bull was there as a sacrifice for the sin of the high priest, for first he had to be cleansed from his sin before he could continue the ceremony.

The first lamb was offered as a sin sacrifice for the people. But first the blood of the lamb was sprinkled behind the veil on the mercy seat, and on the temple and on the altar. This sprinkling of the blood was not the sin offering for the people. The purpose of this sprinkling was to cleanse the mercy seat, and the temple and even the altar. Just as the priest had to be cleansed before he could function as high priest for the people, so also the temple and the mercy seat and even the altar, had to be cleansed with blood. It was in this temple that God came to dwell with His people and it had to first be cleansed before God could dwell among them.

Then after the priest was cleansed and after the temple and altar was cleansed then the first goat was burnt as a sin offering for the people on the altar.

Then the second goat was brought and the sins of the people were confessed over the second goat and it was released into the wilderness to carry away the sins of the people. In the same way Jesus is the “lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.”  Remember that the term lamb could refer to the kid of a goat or a sheep, so that when John said this about Jesus he was undoubtedly referring to the scapegoat on the Day of Atonement.

Imagine if every sin you did sat upon your conscience and never left, the penalty the payment for sin piled up upon you.

Imagine even worse if it was not your sin but someone else’s. Is there anything worse than being blamed for someone else’s sin?

I remember one time in math class, I was laughing, but the kid behind me got blamed. I remember another time that my mom blamed me for something my brother did. I was so angry.

Jesus willingly accepted all the blame for our sins, Isaiah 52 and 53 describe this for us in great detail

Verse 13, “he will be lifted up.” What does this mean? Jesus himself explains in our text from this last Sunday, “So must the son of man be lifted up,” this was to signify by what death He would die.

The next verse makes this clear as well. His vestige was marred, this is a reference to the scourging and the crucifixion, so marred that people were astonished. How can this be the Son of God? This is exactly what happened at his crucifixion. We will believe on you if you come down but we aren’t going to believe in a God that allows himself to be crucified in this manner. Yet Jesus did allow it so that –

He shall sprinkle many nations” remember the significance of the sprinkling on the Day of Atonement. That which was sprinkled with the blood of the lamb was purified and made holy. In His death Christ shed His blood sprinkling many nations, all those thus covered with His blood are made holy.


Yet Isaiah says who will believe this? He has no form or beauty that we should desire him.  There is nothing about Him that would attract us to him, there is nothing in his appearance that would cause us to think, “oh yeah this is the Son of God.”

Instead He is despised and rejected, here we see the scapegoat image again. The goat with all the sins of the people was sent out into the wilderness, and no one was to touch him. So Christ is despised of men, we turned our back on Him, we hide our faces, we want to pretend He doesn’t exist so that we don’t have to help him.

Verse 4 – and yet the reason for his pain and suffering is because he is carrying our sins.

Verse 6 – All we like sheep have gone astray. Remember I told you that the beginning of all sin is rebellion against God and against the authority he has placed above us, our parents, our teachers, our pastors, our government etc , most importantly the word of God. Instead of listening to God, we each decide our way is better. We each wander out on our own path. This is according to God the single greatest picture of all our sin that we each do as we want. We each do as we think best.

Yet the Lord placed all of this sin on him, the scapegoat, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the World.

Verse 7 – what is Jesus response? He is silent. That is not to say He never spoke a word, but that He didn’t protest at this injustice that He had to carry the sins of the whole world.

Therefore – skip to verse 11 and 12 – he will justify many, therefore he shall be counted among the great, because He bore the sins of many, and in so doing delivered us from death and sin.