Was Jesus ‘Punished’ In Our Place?

Ron Cosby

“…who his own self bare our sins in his body upon the tree, that we, having died unto sins, might live unto righteousness; by whose stripes ye were healed” (1 Pet. 2:24).

What is the strongest passage in the Bible that says that Jesus was “punished” in our stead? From reading various writers, it seems that Isaiah 53 and First Peter 2:24 are the most used verses to answer that the question.

But, if Jesus suffered in our stead (not simply for us), what was the punishment? Was the punishment a beating? Was it physical death? Was the punishment spiritual death? Was it eternal spiritual death? What verse says He was “punished” in place of our punishment?

As far as what Isaiah and other Bible writers say, Jesus did suffer (wounded … bruised … chastened) and He did die on our behalf. Actually, the circumstances of Jesus’ birth, life and death were all on our behalf (Mat 20:28). However, He was not punished in the sense that He was “punished” in place of our punishment for our sin.

If our punishment for sin is physical death, then why do men still die physically? Our punishment for sin cannot be spiritual death. Separation from God is the result of sin, not the punishment. This separation (Isaiah 59:1-2) was not removed by Jesus. Sinners are still separated from God. Besides, Jesus was never separated from God. If the student says that the punishment is eternal spiritual death, then was Jesus eternally separated from God? We see that this never happened—and won’t. Now, since Jesus did not suffer such a fate and since eternal spiritual death is indeed the punishment for sin, then He was not punished in place of our punishment.

Jesus’ physical death took away the reason that the guilty will be punished—sin. Since He took away the reason for being punished, then we will not be punished. The person who is pardoned is not sentenced. He is set free. 1). Since we have no verse stating that Jesus was “punished” in place of our punishment for our sin and since logic tells us that He was not “punished” in place of our punishment for our sin, then He was not.

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