“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned- every one- to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
…it was the will of the LORD to crush Him; He has put Him to grief; when His soul makes an offering for guilt, He shall see His offspring; He shall prolong His days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.” || Isaiah 53.6, 10
This eschatological acknowledgment and prayer of the remnant of Israel is charged with Gospel-revelation, and proves meat indeed to the child of God. I haven’t the time nor space here to exposit the whole of Isaiah 53, but let us gather a few stones from this pristine brook for our battle against our daily Goliath of “the world, the flesh, and the devil.”
Let it first be remembered that “all we like sheep have gone astray.” We have turned to our “own way” by nature. The wisdom of a ruptured age has been our worldview, and unless the “light of the knowledge of the Glory of God” had “shone in our hearts” through the “face” of the suffering Servant, we would be as sheep without a shepherd, wandering in the wastelands of sin.
We cannot overestimate the significance of the Atonement and the Divine revelation which issues from it, and it alone. “The LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” The Father has laid upon the Son the sins of His people, and the wrath which was our due portion was borne by the one Mediator. This is a truth worth living and dying for.
J. Alec Motyer translates v. 10a,
“Yahweh was Himself pleased to crush Him.” (From Heaven He Came and Sought Her, Crossway, 2013)
This does not define the Father as one Who takes delight in crucifixion or violence, but rather as One Whose passion for His glory, and the subsequent joy which results for His people, makes the once and for all sacrifice of His Son to be a gloriously necessary event for the demonstration of His “manifold wisdom.” He “so loved the world that He gave” His Beloved Son up to an utterly final death, a sacrifice so perfect that it could not but eventuate in resurrection. There is unparalleled beauty here, though the slain Lamb “was despised and rejected by men… esteemed… not.”
The Father delighted in this crushing sacrifice, for by it His “will” would “prosper”, the “many” would “be accounted righteous,” and out of the “anguish of His soul” He would “see and be satisfied.” The Triune God delighted unanimously in the Cross. It was not an alternative plan, but was rather the Father’s “kind intention,” a plan to which the Son submitted “for the joy set before Him,” (Heb. 12.12) and it was “through the eternal Spirit” (Heb. 9.14) that He offered Himself up until the work was “finished.” (Jn. 19.30) Behold, the New and Everlasting Covenant of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.
To behold the pleasure of God in the Cross, through sin-mangled hearts apprehended by faith in the One Who has purchased our souls— this is at the root of our everlasting joy. We who had “gone astray” were brought by His pleasure to the place by which we were deemed “accepted in the Beloved,” that is, accepted by God through the “offering for guilt” which the Son has accomplished, “because He poured out His soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors…”
The Holy One, the Suffering Servant, the One Mediator, the holy vessel of Creation and Restoration, the coming King of Israel, the Eternal Son of God, was numbered… with us! And because of what He has accomplished and applied, “He is not ashamed to call us His brethren.”
“…even as He (the Father) chose us in Him (the Son) before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has made us to be accepted in the Beloved.” || Eph. 1.4-6
O, child of God, when did you last settle your soul in the unshakable truth of your acceptance in the Beloved One? In his masterful commentary on Isaiah, Motyer sheds further light for our help:
The Servant who died for the salvation of sinners lives to administer the salvation He accomplished. The true meaning (of v. 12) is, ‘I will give Him the many as His portion’- ‘the many’ being the whole company for whom the Savior died. || The Prophecy of Isaiah: An Introduction & Commentary, Intervarsity Press, 1993
He goes on to translate v. 10b, “in His hand Yahweh’s pleasure will flourish.” In the hand of the Divine-Messiah-Servant, the pleasure of the Father would “sprinkle many nations” and permeate the cosmos. Many nations have been sprinkled, shall be sprinkled yet more, and when His Day has come, the pleasure of God in His Son will cause every stagnant and murky stream of thought and existence to be purified, and to teem with newness of life.
“The Church which is His Body” has received the down payment of this reality. We who had gone astray, we who had counted the suffering Servant as unworthy of affection, are now enjoying that precious permeation, and the future nation of Israel shall know that refreshing as well, when the Servant is revealed from heaven as the slain and risen King of her redemption.
This glorious truth is the ballast for the storm, children.
Thus are our trials transfigured, for-
“we are the trees whom shaking fastens more.” (G. Herbert)
Thus are our sins spiked to the tree, and their accusing remembrances silenced.
Thus our Adamic fallenness is bleeding out and will one day breathe its last.
Thus are we being conformed to the image of the Suffering Servant.
Thus will the whole of this ruptured world be cleansed with fire, mended by the Potter, and renewed irrevocably with Gospel sweetness.
“Light and momentary afflictions” find their value and meaning here. Our missionary task finds its foundation here. The One true God is known, treasured, and glorified here.
Behold the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world. || John 1.29
“It is finished,” “upon this Rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.”
Bask in this Light today, saints. Let it warm and enliven your weary frame, and let it shine before men, that they may too cherish Him, and praise the One Who was pleased to crush His Son for the sake of all who would, through faith, become recipients of His endless delight.