What is the proper interpretation? Were the sins of the world placed “on” Jesus or “in” Jesus? Isaiah 53:6b says, “on” Him. 1 Peter 2:24 says, that He bore our sins “in” his body.
The first passage about what happens to the sins of the world reads as follows:
All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. Isaiah 53:6 (NAS95S)
The phrase at the end of the verse reads, “the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.” This is a translation from the Hebrew which actually reads as follows,
Yahweh burdened (or laid, or met) Him with (or in, at, by) the inequity of all. (literal Hebrew translation)
The English phrase “to fall” in verse 6 has the idea of “burdened, laid, met, attacked, struck, or encountered with hostility.” The English word “on” comes from a Hebrew word that has the sense of “in, at, by, or with.” It is a general preposition with a wide range of meanings. The English word “on” is used in our translations to give us a more readable passage. The meaning of the verse is that God burdened the Messiah – Jesus Christ – with the hostility of all of our sins. Our “sins” did not fall on Him in the sense of dropping on Him like a brick falls on a toe. Nor does this verse mean that He became a sinner. The meaning of the verse is that the Messiah would suffer as IF He were guilty of every sin of every sinner in the world.
1 Peter 2:4 uses the preposition “in” when it says that Jesus bore our sins “in” His body. Here is the passage,
. . . and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. 1 Pet 2:24 (NAS95S)
The word “in” comes from the Greek word EN that can mean “in, with, which, by, among, and to” when used with a dative. Since a dative is used with this preposition, those words give us the range of meanings of the word. This implies that the meaning of this passage is that Jesus bore our sins “to” His body, “among” His body, “with His body,” “by His body,” or “in His body.” That is, Jesus did not become a sinner. Sin did enter into His body in the sense that He became an owner or possessor of our sins. It means that He bore our sins. He bore our sins in His body in the sense that He suffered as one who had committed the sins or every person who has ever lived.
In summary, the sins of every human fell “on” Jesus in the sense that He suffered as IF He were guilty of every sin of every sinner in the world. He also suffered “in” His body as He experienced the penalty due everyone because of the sins that they have and will commit. The holy scriptures tell us that Jesus did not sin. He was without sin. He was sinless. He was holy and perfect.
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15 (NAS95S)
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