In the Hebrew language, word order is important. And normally, a verse begins with the verb, the action word. But in our text, verse ten begins with the Divine Name, “the LORD.” Which means the emphasis in the verse is on the LORD himself. It is the LORD who willed what happened in our text. It was the LORD’s will to strike, smite, and afflict Jesus. It was the LORD’s will to crush Jesus and cause him pain. It was the LORD’s will to make him a guilt offering. It was the LORD’s will that Jesus suffer and die on the cross on Good Friday.
And Jesus accepted that will. On the night Judas betrayed Him, Jesus pointed to these verses of Isaiah 53 and said, This must be fulfilled in me. Why? For us. And, we’re thankful that it was the Lord’s will. Because the Lord’s will was also to lift Him up and exalt Him. It was the Lord’s will to prosper Him, and through Him to prosper us. Here’s the truth: The One Who Was Crushed Prolongs Our Days.
The word crush is an interesting word. It means to be broken into pieces. Here it means “to be crushed to death.” What kind of a person would light a cat on fire, as was in the news this past week? The LORD’s will was to “crush to death” his Son. What kind of a LORD is that? The word for “caused him to suffer” is an interesting word too. Jesus was full of grief. It was the LORD’s will to wear down, to pain, and make sick his Son. What kind of Father does this?
The religious leaders of the Jews conspired to kill Jesus. Satan entered Judas to betray Jesus. Judas betrayed Jesus. It was the ruling body of the Jews who voted that Jesus should die. It was the Roman governor who gave the order to crucify Jesus. It was the Roman soldiers who beat him mercilessly before nailing him to the cross. But it was the LORD’s will “to crush him and cause him to suffer.”
By crushing Him, the LORD offered Jesus as compensation. Jesus is called the sacrifice of atonement. In the Old Testament system of sacrifices, that’s exactly what the guilt offering was, a repayment of debt. So, what’s the debt? Did Jesus owe something to God? No. We owe something to God, a debt beyond calculation. We owe compensation for the damage of our sins.
And we either pay our debt or get punished. The problem is we can’t possibly do everything that God demands as payment for this debt. When He said Be holy, He didn’t mean kinda’ holy, or sorta’ holy, or mostly holy. He meant a continual, complete, and perfect holiness. So, it’s option two: punishment. And God doesn’t garnish wages for sins. He doesn’t send us upstairs without dinner. He doesn’t forbid video games. No, the payment for sin is death.
But now, instead of me, all this happened to Christ! Imagine that! The LORD willed for Him to be punished for us: [Jesus] was delivered over to death for our sins, Paul says. Our sin caused the Jesus to be crushed. But it is clear that it was the LORD’s desire to do so. This is God’s amazing grace. The LORD desired that Christ suffer, for us and instead of us. And it’s not because He revels in blood lust. It’s because He wants all people saved. And because He wants all people saved, it has to be this way, or all people will go to hell, because without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. And our sinful blood won’t pay the debt we owe. But this desire of the LORD that all men be saved, when worked by His hand and carried out by His Servant, does succeed. Because Jesus didn’t pour out sinful blood, when He was pierced and stricken holy, divine blood poured out, God’s blood, for our sins. And since the crushing of Jesus caused divine blood to flow, Jesus was victorious. No he doesn’t look victorious when he is crushed and destroyed. But Jesus compares this crushing of him to the planting of wheat: I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Even nature teaches us that death brings life! From Jesus’ death, from the crushing and piercing of Jesus comes life!
Not only was it the LORD’s will to crush Jesus, but Jesus offered himself to be crushed. And he knew he would be crushed. Think of Him in Gethsemane sweating like great drops of blood. Think of Him on the cross crying out, My God, My God, why have you forsaken me. This was not light and easy for Jesus. Bearing your sin and mine, bearing God’s curse isn’t light, it isn’t easy. It’s dreadful. Scripture compares it to childbirth. Labor is painful. There’s no joy in going through contractions. Christ endured great pain giving birth to our salvation. But that child is born, so praise the LORD and Jesus! And Jesus’ labor pains ended when He cried out, It is finished. And the LORD, in His mercy accepted it. And because Jesus was crushed, we get to be declared reborn, holy, not guilty, debt free! That’s God’s promise: my righteous servant will justify many. To that promise our faith clings because God is the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
But there’s more. Isaiah says, He will see the light of life. Despite being crushed to death on the cross, there’s sight, there’s life, there’s satisfaction, there’s acquittal. As David prophesied, You will not let your Holy One see decay. Jesus rose! Jesus lives! As Paul says, He was raised to life for our justification. Jesus lives to acquit us, saying to our Father, “I did it. I bore it. It’s on Me.”
But there’s more. The letter to the Hebrews says, Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation. That’s another way of saying what Isaiah said: Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong. Jesus conquered and won. He poured out His life and raised Himself from the dead. For you. And so God gives Him the spoils of victory. And Jesus didn’t just take this prize home to heaven to enjoy himself. He shares the spoils of victory with us.
What’s the prize? He will see His offspring and prolong His days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in His hands. What the LORD wanted to not only crush Jesus, but to crush Him instead of me, to destroy the devil’s work, and thus bring forth the light of life – all this happened in Christ’s work! That’s what He shares with us: Life! He lives, we live He shares with us the forgiveness sins. I find the forgiveness of my own sins, the declaration of righteousness, innocence, and holiness through faith in His blood! He’s shares his innocence! He’s the only one who has been innocent, but in Jesus, it’s also my innocence, my holiness, my righteousness! We will live with Jesus in heaven.
But that’s still not all. God exalted Jesus to the highest place, His right hand. He will exalt us too, not to become God, but transforming our bodies to be like His body. This perishable, decaying, wreck of a body that we lug around will become imperishable, incorruptible and perfect, as God intended all bodies to be in the Paradise of Eden. How? Because Jesus was numbered with the sinners, He became the greatest of all sinners, and then He poured out His life, He bore our sin. He crushed the devil’s head. And in the knowledge of finishing all that God desired and required, the crushed Son who now lives stands beside God and makes intercession for us sinners. He says, “The price has been paid. The sacrifice has been offered. The treasure has been gained. Father, free my brothers from death! Purify them in my blood!”
The Christian is an optimist. The Christian has hope, because at least eight times in Isaiah 53, not just in our verses, but the whole chapter, the Spirit declares to us what Christ gained and what Christ gives: He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows; He was pierced, crushed, and punished for our sins; the LORD laid on Him our sins; He was oppressed and afflicted, yet suffered silently, led to the slaughter; for our sins He was stricken; the LORD willed to crush Him; He bore our sins; He bore the sin of many and makes intercession for sinners. Talk about repetition for emphasis. Though death seems to shorten our days, as it crushed our Savior Jesus, we see that death brings life, because Jesus’ death means our forgiveness, and the end of Jesus’ days means the lengthening of ours. For we will live with Him. We will see the light of life. Forever. Jesus lives! Amen.