We’ve been looking over the last few blogs at the significance of the cross as seen from Isaiah 53. We have seen that all of our sins were placed on the Lord Jesus Christ and he suffered incredible things as part of His atoning work on our behalf. Isaiah continues in verse 7 when he writes- “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and like a sheep, before her shearers are dumb, so he opened not his mouth. He was taken from prison and judgment; and who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgression of my people was he stricken,” (Isa.53:7-8 KJV). The Scripture says that Jesus was oppressed and afflicted. These words mean that he was treated unsparingly. Jesus wasn’t completely silent during his ordeal, but he raised no objection to defend Himself. More than once during His trials He responded to falsehood and slander, but this passage is referring to His patience, submission and moral fortitude in the face of great evil. There was never a plead of innocence, even when Pilate challenged Him as to his authority to judge Jesus. Jesus freely offered himself to suffer and to die for us. Having undertaken our debt he underwent our penalty. This takes us back to John the Baptist’s statement in John 1 where he says, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,” ( John 1:29). The fact that Jesus was silent under such incredible torture and torment shows us the divine grandeur of His Majesty in keeping His power under control. Jesus not responding as the Almighty God to destroy those who were punishing Him is one of the greatest demonstrations of self-control. Why was Jesus silent in the midst of these sufferings? First of all, because He had to keep His part of the covenant that was made with His heavenly Father before the foundation of the world. Secondly, because of His great love for us, for He knew that He would be bearing our sins and the punishment that we rightly deserved on the cross. Finally, He sought to bring His Father the greatest glory and the Father receives glory through the obedience of the Son. Remember God speaking on the Mount of Transfiguration where He said, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, hear Him,” (Matt.17:5). Isaiah uses the picture of a lamb being sheared. A lamb bears the loss of its fleece or life without clamor or resistance. Sheep are harmless and helpless; it’s hard to conceive of a picture of more innocence and patience. This was fulfilled by the Lord Jesus in the face of gross injustice.
We see in verse 8 that Jesus Himself was separated from justice. The cross of Jesus Christ was judicial murder, void of any genuine legality. Think of the judge in the case of Jesus was also the prosecutor. Jesus’s trial was an outrage by Hebrew standards. It occurred at night time, and the judge sought witnesses against the defendant. The only jurors that were called were the ones who had already determined Jesus’s guilt. No two witnesses could agree on their testimony, and the judge finally demanded a confession from the Lord Jesus Christ. Pilate made an even grosser violation of conscience by condemning a person that he knew to be an innocent man. It demonstrates how the dark world we live in hates the light. Jesus, it says “was cut off out of the land of the living,” (v.8). The words “cut off” strongly suggest not only a violent death but a premature death as a result of the oppressive judgment of men. Jesus appeared to leave no prosperity or successor. He had no children, and his apparent defeat was a great tragedy. It was this very defeat that was, in fact, His greatest victory. But when Jesus died probably not a one single human being believed in Jesus as the Messiah. All their hopes had been smashed, but it was not for His sins, but our sins as Isaiah says in the last part of verse 8 –“ for the transgressions of my people was he stricken.” Don’t mistake the meaning and purpose of Jesus’s death. I believe the term “my people” in verse 8 refers to all those who down through the ages would put their faith in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is because of what Jesus Christ has done for us that we have the hope and promise of eternal life. Isaiah 53 demonstrates for us from God’s perspective the redemption that God has made possible for us through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. We see in Isaiah’s prophecy written 700 years before the time of Jesus God’s great mercy for the sinner in allowing His Son to suffer our just punishment. It is when we encounter our greatest need that we find God to be the most wonderful provider and one who cares for us. Have you experienced the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ on your behalf? If you know Jesus as your Savior, don’t keep it to yourself. Let those around you know what God has done in setting you free from the bondage and slavery of sin. And if you never trusted Christ as your Savior why not do so today?
For God’s glory,
Pastor Rich Sivo