What is substitution? To substitute is to put in the place of another, to exchange. It means to replace something or someone with another; taking the place of.
Substitution is the word that properly encapsulates what Jesus came to do for us. He came to take our place so we might take His place. No religious leader ever did that for anybody but Jesus did. Let’s see some of what the Old Testament Prophets said about what Jesus the Messiah was coming to do on the earth.
Isaiah 53:1-11 (Read this whole portion of Scripture and all the other Scriptures in this article) Isaiah was seeing this in a vision. It had not happened yet. But he spoke in the past tense because in the mind of God, it was already done. The Bible calls Jesus the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (See Revelation 13:8.)
Verse 6 of Isaiah 53 says…the Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all. How could a man do this for everybody? This is what the prophet saw. Who is this man? The prophets saw Him being oppressed and afflicted. To this day, many Jewish people don’t believe Jesus is the Messiah. One Jewish man said recently: “Jesus is not the Messiah because when the Messiah comes he’ll establish a kingdom that can never be conquered and restore the rights of the Jew and the true worship of God.” Someone asked him: “But the Bible says the Messiah will come and he’d be killed.” He said No! Then he was shown what the Bible says about the Messiah’s suffering. He had never known that. So he went away to study some more about it. But the vision of God to the prophets showed us that when the Messiah comes He’d be afflicted and killed. (Is. 53:7)
Isaiah 53:8 “He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.” “He was taken from prison and from Judgment.” Meaning they’d arrest Him. And He’d face Judgment. And He did: Caiaphas judgment and Pilate’s judgment. (Matt. 26:57-66; Matt. 27:2,11-26) “He was cut off from the land of the living”…meaning He’d be killed. “For the transgression of my people He was stricken”… meaning IT WAS NOT FOR HIMSELF that He was killed. EVERY MAN PAID FOR THEIR SINS THROUGH JESUS. All they need is to accept His sacrifice and make Him Lord of their lives!
Verse 9 shows He was buried. But He had done no violence. Verse 10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him…meaning it was God who gave Him up to die as an offering for sin. But it also says He shall His seed…meaning He shall reproduce and bring forth sons. His days and His ministry will be prolonged through the seed that will come up because of Him. You and I are the continuation of His Life and ministry.
Verse 11 can make you shout if you understand it! By His travail, by His labor of such a cruel death, you and I have been justified and made righteous. He took my sin nature and gave me His righteous nature. Glory be to His name forever! (2Cor. 5:21)
Matt. 8:16-17 shows us that Jesus was the fulfillment of what Isaiah saw.
Matt 8:17 “He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.”
The word bore or bare means to remove. He took them. He removed them and carried them away. In Matt 20:28 Jesus said: “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” A ransom is a price that is demanded to be paid, for the release of a captive. We were captives of the devil. We (the whole world) were captives of sin, condemned to die; legal captives. Jesus was that price paid for all to be free from the bondage of Satan’s domain, free from captivity, free from God’s curse, and free from spiritual death.
He gave Himself so you could be free. This is the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ that He took our place that we may take His place.