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
A young officer in the British army turned away in horror from the doctrine of this hymn. His pride revolted, his self righteousness rose in rebellion, and he said:He would be a coward indeed who would go to heaven at the cost of another!
As the years rolled away, this man rose to distinction and high rank in the army, and he also learned wisdom. In his last hours, as he lay on his deathbed, he repeatedly begged those near him to singO Christ, what burdens bowed Thy head,calling it,My hymn, my hymn!
A gunner of the royal artillery was attending the Old Soldiers’ Home in Woolwich during the spring of 1886. The chief attraction to him at first was the night school. From this he was eventually led to join the Bible class and attend the Sunday evening service in the Hall
Seeing that he looked very unhappy and that he lingered after the meeting, one night, a worker asked him if anything was troubling him. The tears came to his eyes at once, and he said:I want to be a Christian, but I am afraid that I am too bad.
He then told how on the previous Sunday evening, when this hymn was sung, he was so overpowered by the thought of what the Lord had endured for our sins that after the first verse he could not sing. The solemn words were fixed in his memory, and had troubled him all the week, until he came to the great Burden-bearer.
Sankey, pp. 248–49
O Christ, what burdens bowed Thy head!
Our load was laid on Thee;
Thou stoodest in the sinner’s stead,
Didst bear all ill for me.
A Victim led, Thy blood was shed;
Now there’s no load for me.
Death and the curse were in our cup:
O Christ, ’twas full for Thee;
But Thou hast drained the last dark drop,
’Tis empty now for me.
That bitter cup, love drank it up;
Now blessing’s draught for me.
Jehovah lifted up His rod;
O Christ, it fell on Thee!
Thou wast sore stricken of Thy God;
There’s not one stroke for me.
Thy tears, Thy blood, beneath it flowed;
Thy bruising healeth me.
The tempest’s awful voice was heard,
O Christ, it broke on Thee!
Thy open bosom was my ward,
It braved the storm for me.
Thy form was scarred, Thy visage marred;
Now cloudless peace for me.
Jehovah bade His sword awake;
O Christ, it woke ’gainst Thee!
Thy blood the flaming blade must slake;
Thine heart its sheath must be;
All for my sake, my peace to make;
Now sleeps that sword for me.
For me, Lord Jesus, Thou hast died,
And I have died in Thee!
Thou’rt ris’n—my hands are all untied,
And now Thou liv’st in me.
When purified, made white and tried,
Thy glory then for me!