The man was very ill, in fact, near death. Several times his clergyman had been to see him. He had read to him prayers for the sick, and told him what a great sinner he was. But the clergyman himself did not know God’s great love to sinners, so all he said only made the poor man more miserable.
These visits had been repeated several times, but the sick man had received no comfort; he could only moan about the weight of his sins.
One morning he sent his daughter to bring the clergyman one more time, but the minister objected. “It is no use for me to go,” he said. “Your father never seems any better.”
“Oh, please!” answered the girl. “Father said I was not to come back without you!”
“Well, I’ll take my sermon to read to him,” and he followed her to the sick man. He found the poor man in great distress about his soul’s condition.
“I’ve brought my sermon to read to you,” said the clergyman. He began by reading the scripture from which he had taken his text, the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah and the fifth verse: “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.”
“Wait!” cried the sick man. “Read that again! Wounded for our transgressions. Then He was wounded for mine! I have it!” he exclaimed, starting up. “Bruised for [my] iniquities. Why didn’t you tell me that before? But I have it now, thank God! With His stripes [I am] healed.”
Why the Scripture Is Special
The next day the clergyman went to see a friend and asked what there was in that scripture more than another. “Why,” said his friend, a believer in the Lord Jesus, “this verse contains the whole gospel. Now, I beg you, believe it! Can you say, He was wounded for my transgressions―the Son of God bore my sins in His own body on the tree?”
“Now I see,” exclaimed the clergyman. “How blind I have been! I know the scriptures with my head, but never before have I believed with my heart.”
After this experience his congregation was amazed at the intensely earnest way in which he preached. He told them that he had been only a blind leader, but that God’s grace had shone in his heart. He was a new creature in Christ Jesus, and he begged them all to trust the Lord Jesus as their own Saviour.
Adapted from His Riches.