One day, following WWI, an Englishman, William G. Ovens, saw a wounded veteran limping down the street. The thought occurred to Ovens that this man was wounded for him. Greater reflection, however, caused him to think how Christ in much deeper and significant sense had suffered that he might be saved. This thought inspired Ovens to write the words of the familiar hymn “Wounded for Me.”
Wounded for me, wounded for me,
There on the cross he was wounded for me;
Gone my transgressions, and now I am free,
All because Jesus was wounded for me.
This thought is reminiscent of the words in one of the great Messianic chapters of the Bible, Isaiah 53.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
How was Christ wounded?
It has been documented both medically and scripturally that Jesus suffered five kinds of wounds as he went to the cross.
(1) A Contused wound. This is a wound produced by a blunt instrument, by a blow, or by a rod. During Jesus’ trial several times he suffered such a wound by the indignance of being slapped in the face.
“Then they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands” (Matt 26:67)
(2) A Lacerated Wound. This wound is produced by a tearing instrument. Jesus’ lacerated wounds were produced by the barbaric practice of scourging a condemned criminal sentenced to death. (Matt 27:26)
A Roman solider used a short whip consisting of heavy leather thongs with balls of lead attached to the end. The full force of this whip would cut deep through the skin until the flesh was handing from the back like ribbons.
(3) A Penetrating Wound. This wound was inflicted by a sharp-pointed instrument. The crown of thorns placed on Jesus’ head would produce this kind of wound. The thorns may have been four inches long and would have deeply penetrated his scalp (Matt 27:29)
(4) A Perforating Wound. The word “perforate” is derived from a Latin word meaning “to pierce through.” The 5-7 inch nails driven into Jesus’ hands and feet created this perforating wound which was prophesied by Isaiah and fulfilled at His crucifixion,
(5) An Incised Wound. This wounded produced by a sharp-edged instrument was the final blow to Jesus fleshly body when the solider pierced his side with a spear. (John 19:34)
Why was Jesus Wounded?
Isaiah writes of two fundamental reasons for the wounds that Jesus suffered on the darkest Friday in human history.
(1) Because of our transgressions. We are the ones that are guilty. We have sinned. We have strayed away from God. We have been disobedient. We have transgressed the law of God. We deserved to die. Wounded for me? Indeed!
(2) So we could be healed! Ironically Jesus’ wounds brought about our healing. Through His vicarious sacrifice we have received God’s “gift of grace” that heals the sin-sick soul.
What The Wounds Mean To Us?
(1) Sin extracts a high price. It is sin that separates us from God. Enslaves the spirit. Stains the soul. Scars the conscience. And ultimately brings death.
(2) Jesus paid the price for us. He was wounded for me! For my transgressions. He took my place. His wounds are those that I deserve.
Ovens’ verses teaches a great and profound Truth. However, a lady by the name of Gladys W. Roberts added 4 others verses that complete this thought and compose the hymn we sing today.
Dying for me, dying for me,
There on the cross he was dying for me;
Now in His death my redemption I see,
All because Jesus was dying for me.
Risen for me, risen for me,
Up from the grace He has risen for me;
Now ever more from death’s sting I am free;
All because Jesus has risen for me.
Living for me, living for me,
Up in the skies He is living for me;
Daily He’s pleading and praying for me,
All because Jesus is living for me.
Coming for me, coming for me,
One day to earth He is coming for me;
Then with what joy His dear face I shall see,
Oh, how I praise Him! He’s coming for me.
It’s Friday. But Sunday’s coming!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman