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Jesus, the Suffering Servant: Part 3 (Isaiah Sermon 63 of 81)

Jesus, the Suffering Servant: Part 3 (Isaiah Sermon 63 of 81)

February 08, 2015 | Andrew Davis
Christ's Humiliation, Atonement

One of the Most Painful Experiences in Life

Patrick Morley, in his book, The Man in the Mirror tells a heart-wrenching story about an ill-fated Alaskan fishing trip. Some fishermen went out on a small seaplane, and they found a secluded bay up there in Alaska and they had a great day pulling in salmon and they returned to their plane late that afternoon, but to their surprise, they found that the aircraft was high and dry because of the fluctuating tide. They had no choice then, but to wait until the morning when incoming tides would make their take-off possible.

The next morning, with the plane afloat, they started the engine, and took to the air, but within minutes, the plane fell back into the sea. What had happened was, there was a leak in one of the pontoons and unbeknownst to them, it had filled with water. And so, the plane crashed in the sea. The three adult fishermen survived the crash as did Mark, the 12-year-old son of one of the fishermen. After praying together, the four abandoned the sinking plane and began to swim towards the shore. They were fighting the whole way the cold waters, frigid waters, and a vicious riptide. Two of the men, strong swimmers made it to the shore barely and reached it exhausted, but as they turned, and looked back, they could see this one father cradling his 12-year-old son in his arms as they were swept out to sea. And it was pretty obvious what had happened, the father could have made it, but he could not leave his son to die and would rather die than watch his son die.

One of the most painful, heart-wrenching agonies a father can undergo is to bury a child or to watch a child die and there's nothing that they can do to save him or her. But in our text today, as we come to Isaiah 53 for the third time, we come to verse 10, in it is just about infinite mystery, something that we can barely be able to comprehend. Because if you look at the translation properly, it says, "It was the Lord's pleasure to crush Jesus and cause him to suffer." Something we can hardly imagine. A father who took delight in the torturous death of his own son. Can't understand it. Now, we could ask, is that really what the text is saying? Yes, that's what the text is saying.

A number of years ago, a chaplain in a prison was preaching a message and he asked again and again this probing question, "Who killed Jesus?" And it was one of those kind of Bible studies and messages where there were some give and take. So the prisoners volunteered some of the information, one of them said, "It was the Jews or maybe the Jewish leaders that killed Jesus. It was the Romans or Pontius Pilate killed Jesus. It was, it was Judas Iscariot that killed Jesus." And the pastor, the chaplain said, "You know, all that's true at one level, but ultimately it was his own father that killed him."

And the text he was looking at was Acts 2:23, it says there, Peter and the Pentecost sermon said that Jesus was "delivered over by God's set purpose and foreknowledge." his own father killed him, delivered over by his purpose. And the text we're looking at here, it says, that it was God's pleasure to do so. God was pleased to do this. To crush him and cause him to suffer." How can we understand these words? How can we understand a father who would take delight in the torturous death of his own Son? Why was it the pleasure of God to do this?

Well, we're going to answer that today in the text, but I can just say right away what the reason was, it was because of all the eternal glory that would come from that crushing and the incalculable joy that that crushing would win for you and me as children of the living God. It brought God pleasure to be exalted and glorified and magnified by that crushing and it brought God pleasure to save a multitude from all over the world by that crushing. In Isaiah 53, we have plainly, Jesus, the suffering servant cut off from the land of the living in Verse 8, and buried in Verse 9, assigned a grave with the wicked and with the rich in his death. But then we see just victory and triumph flowing in these verses, just the triumph of all of this.

In Verse 10, "He will see his offspring, his children, the fruit of his labors, prolong his days." In Verse 11 he will see the light of life, and he will be satisfied with what he's done. In Verse 11, again, "He will justify many and he will bear their iniquities." In verse 12, "He will divide the spoils with the strong." An incalculable, just river of blessings flowing from this crushing, this the single greatest act in all of history. Christ took on Satan's dark kingdom and defeated it. Christ took on the holy law of God, which was set against us and condemned us, and he satisfied its demands. Christ took on the dark realm of the grave and rose triumphant from it. Christ, the victor will receive the spoils for all eternity. We get to Verse 12, "Therefore, I will give him a portion among the great and he will divide the spoils with the strong."

Now, no chapter in the Bible so clearly predicts the spoils of that victory as Isaiah 53. But no chapter in the Bible, I think so clearly depicts the spoils as Revelation 5. And there in Revelation, you know that God the Father has the scroll, the title deed of the Earth sealed with seven seals, and no one is worthy to take the scroll or open it and then suddenly behold the lamb slain, the lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has triumphed, we're told. He is able to take that scroll and its seven seals and open it. And they sang a new song in that chapter, "And they sang a new song: 'You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.' Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders.  In a loud voice they sang: 'Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!' Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: 'To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!'"

That's why, that's why it was the Lord's pleasure to crush him. A river of glory for God, and joy and satisfaction for us, the redeemed. So this now is the third sermon on this amazing prophecy. Isaiah 53 is the clearest chapter in the Bible. Old Testament or New Testament, on the central mechanism of our salvation, which is substitutionary atonement. The idea that our sin, our guilt, our wickedness can be transferred to a substitute, and his suffering death can completely atone for it all, that's the center piece of our salvation. This eternal gospel, this timeless message of salvation through a substitute sent by God was proclaimed with crystal clarity 700 years before Jesus was born.

I. Review: Outline of the Chapter(s)

So we've looked at this chapter now for over the last two weeks, and now by God's grace, we'll seek to finish our look at it. But we're going to spend eternity in heaven probing the details of all of this, won't we? And I can't wait. So let's review briefly where we've been already, broken to five sections, each of three verses long, beginning in Isaiah 52:13 through 15. Christ is presented in Verse 13 as, one, who'll be successful, he'll be raised and exalted, and highly lifted up. In Verse 14, and we're also told on the other hand, that he will be appalling to look at. He'll be disfigured so badly that he'll be barely recognizable as a human being. In Verse 15, the disfigurement of the servant of the Lord was the way by which he would sprinkle many nations. And we talked about that, that that sprinkling was an atoning blood poured out for us and we would be cleansed by it.

In Verse 15 also, this is the very one who would be proclaimed even to Kings and they'll shut their mouths because of him. The distant gentile kings will hear about him and they will believe. Isaiah 53:1-3, we see, this assertion in verse one that this is a message that must be proclaimed. A message that must be believed, but it's hard to believe. It's hard to accept and we'll never accept it, unless the arm of the Lord is revealed to us by God's sovereign grace, by the Holy Spirit. You'll never see Christ crucified and resurrected. You'll never understand it unless God reveals it to you by the Spirit.

In verse 1, he is the arm of the Lord, mighty to save. But yet verse 2, he's revealed also as human. He grew up before him so he's a human being. Grew up in the ordinary way and nothing that remarkable about his appearance, there was nothing in his appearance that we should worship him as God. Nothing in his appearance that would attract us. He was unattractive, unimpressive. Verse 3, he was despised and rejected. People horrified by his appearance and he was held in low esteem. People underestimated him.

In verses 4-6, we have the theological center of the Bible, substitutionary atonement, Christ takes up our pain. He carries our sin and he dies for it. He's pierced for our transgressions. He's crushed for our iniquities. The punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds were healed. Verse 5, Jesus thus gives health to diseased people who are dying and peace to wicked rebels, formally at war with God. But he does this at the cost of his life. Pays his life for this. Verse 6, "We all like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned his own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all."

In verses 7-9, we see Christ innocent, but willing to be slaughtered. Christ, by his willingness to die in our place is able to atone for our sins. In some sense, this suffering man was exactly like the sheep led to the slaughter. But in a very significant way, different. He went meekly, but unlike the animal, he knew exactly where he was going, he knew exactly what was happening, he was laying down his life for us. No one was taking his life from him, no one could do that, he's God, but he laid down his life as an act of his will. So he's different than the animals in that regard. Completely innocent. There was no violence in his actions or wickedness in his speech. The full scriptural revelation is that Jesus was a perfect man. He was sinless, but he died in our place. The prophetic details of this cannot be swept away, they can't be ignored. Words like pierced in verse five, and the fact that he was buried in a rich man's tomb in Verse nine, these don't just go away, they can't be allegorized.

So how amazing is all of this? We're the sheep going constantly astray. We're the wicked rebels made sick by our sin and at war with God. Before all the nations, God bears his holy arm in the form of a frail, unimpressive human being, a Son whom we despised and rejected. This One carried our infinitely heavy load and he died under the infinitely fierce wrath of God and he was buried in a rich man's tomb, this same One rose from the dead, and now enjoys looking at his spiritual children day after day from every nation on Earth. How awesome is that, how beautiful is the gospel.

II. The Pleasure of the Lord in Crushing His Son (vs. 10)

So now let's look at the verses that are still remaining before us, Verses 10 through 12. First, Verse 10, the pleasure of the Lord in crushing his Son. KJV says, "Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him. He has put him to grief." And again NAS has, "But the Lord was pleased to crush him, putting him to grief." Those two, the King James and the New American Standard tend to be the most accurate meticulous translations. And so they go right from the Hebrew over into the English with the word "pleased" or "pleasure".

Now, our God is a happy being. The Bible reveals this. He's always happy, continually happy. We're the miserable ones. He's the happy one, always. He's happy in heaven. The perfect joy of the Lord is in no way disturbed or troubled by the events of earth. He's happy in and of himself, and always has been, and he always will be.

Great verse on this, is 1 Timothy 1:11, it speaks there of "the glorious Gospel of the blessed God." Again that phrase, the blessed God is something we could just go right over but the word blessed just means happy deeply, richly, fully happy that's God. And so it's the good news of a happy God. John Piper translates the verse that way and it's a beautiful way. God delights perfectly in himself, he's happy being God and he perfectly delighted in his son from eternity past, he loves him with a love that cannot be measured. The Father delights in his rulership over heaven and earth. This is expressed in his sovereign will, expressed in detailed plans that he is pleased to make. And so, often verse 10 is translated, "it was the will of the Lord to crush him." NIV has that kind of language. So it was the will of the Lord, and that's fine, it's what the Lord pleased to do, what he was pleased to determine. It was the will of the Lord to crush him, and that's fine. Many other verses linked God's will with his happiness.

So Psalm 115:3, "Our God is in heaven, he does whatever pleases him." That's a great verse. Whatever he wants to do, he does, and who can stop him. Who can hold back his hand, who can question him. Whatever he pleases to do he does. And so often we have this language of it please the Lord to X and then something would come. So we could use this language. It pleased God to create heaven and earth. It pleased God to create the birds and the fish and the animals, and so there were birds and fish and animals. It pleased God to create man, male and female in his image, and so they were created. It pleased him to do it. He did it. And then it extends beyond into the redemptive plan of God as well. It pleased God to permit Satan's fall into wickedness and rebellion. It pleased the Lord to permit man Adam and Eve to follow Satan in that rebellion.

It pleased God to begin working a very complex amazing plan of salvation of redemptive history after that, which included the pleasure of God and choosing out a man, Abraham, and making certain promises to him. It pleased God to justify Abraham, though he was a sinner, though he was wicked because of his sins, it pleased him to justify him simply by faith, and it pleased God to unfold the history of the Jewish nation Abraham's descendants, physical descendants. It pleased God to allow them to go into Egypt during the time of famine. It pleased God to allow them to become slaves and it pleased God at the right time, through Moses, to bring them out with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. It pleased God to destroy Pharaoh's army through the Red Sea crossing.

We could use this language and the Bible does again and again, it pleased him. It even includes the exile as part of God's pleasure. In Deuteronomy 28, he warned them very plainly, the Jewish nation, right before they entered the Promised Land. "You must keep my covenant, if you don't, I will kick you out." And he puts it in this language, listen to Deuteronomy 28:63. Very interesting verse, "Just as it pleased the Lord to make you prosper and increase in number, so it'll please him to ruin and destroy you." Exact same verb. But it has to do with what God is willing, what he's determining to do.

Now, the will of the Lord sums up this verse as well. Look at Verse 10, "It was the Lord's will, [or pleasure] to crush him." And then at the end of the verse, "The will [or pleasure] of the Lord will prosper in Jesus's hand." So this is infinite mystery here. It pleased God to crush his son. How could we understand this, how can we understand the pleasure of God in the torturous death of his son?

Some have rejected substitutionary atonement, rejected this whole idea. They use language like heavenly child abuse. It's horrible, they don't understand what's going on here. I don't think for a moment that I can plumb the depths of this mystery. No earthly father has ever loved his son more than God the Father loves his perfect Son, Jesus. And never will. No doting Father, no matter how much you feel you love your children. You don't come up to one millionth of a percent of the Father's love for his son. You don't hold a candle to that raging inferno of God's love, the passionate love he has for his son, which he expressed twice in the Gospel of Matthew, once at his baptism, when a voice came from heaven saying, "This is my son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased." No words can capture it.

And Jesus lived a sinless life. He said this in John 8:29. "I always do what pleases him." John 14:31, this is Jesus speaking, "The world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what the Father has commanded me." Learn in what way? By my death. I love my father and I'll do everything he's commanded me to do. Yet it was the pleasure of God the Father to crush such a son.

Understanding How He Was Crushed

Now, the Hebrew word "crush" here is well translated. The idea is of immense pressure brought to bear until at last, it's crushed. That's what the word is. You saw it earlier in verse 5 with a piercing verse. In verse 5, it says, "he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquity." Same thing. How do we understand the pleasure of the Lord in this? Well, I think the only way I can get my mind around it, is to understand the mind of the Father through the mind of the son. So, how did Jesus think about the cross? And that will give me a good indication of how the father, because I think the same. And you get that in Hebrews 12:2. Hebrews 12:2 is a great insight into the Lord's pleasure in this. Listen to Hebrews 12:2, "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, despising its shame and sat down at the right hand of the Father."

So think of the Father, that way too. He's not a masochist delighting in the actual process of the crushing of his son on the cross, not at all. The father takes no delight or pleasure in the cross itself. He endured it, like Jesus did. How? For the joy and the glory that's set before him, he gets the glory, we get the joy. He gets joy too. And that's why it was worth it to him to endure this. I want you to remember the actual circumstances of Jesus' death. There were two amazing indicators of how the father was feeling at that time. If we can use that language. How is the father feeling about the crushing of his son? How about an eerie, supernatural darkness that came over that entire region of the world? I mean extended history tells us, as far as Rome. Day became night and then at the moment that Jesus dies, there's a tremendous earthquake, a rending of the rocks, that's what the father is feeling in pouring out his wrath on his own son.

So he endured the cross. Why? For the joy of what it would produce. Not the thing itself. No, he did it because it was the Father's good pleasure to give you, little flock, the kingdom. That's why, he wanted to give you a kingdom and he had to pay the price for it. And he could not bring sinners like you and me into Heaven without atoning for our sin first. The justice had to be paid... We had violated his law, and it was wrong for him to take us unatoned for in heaven, he had to do it. That's why.

III. The Fruit of His Labor: Spiritual Offspring (vs. 10)

Now in Verse 10 also, we have the fruit of Christ's labor, spiritual offspring. It says, "When you shall make his soul an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days." So we have theme of substitution again, Jesus did not die for his own sins, he was not crushed for his own wickedness, "But God," it's literally second person there, "when you shall make his soul... " so that's God. God made his soul an offering for sin, God the father did, he did that so that we might live forever.

Since that is done, when that is done, because that is done, Jesus gets to see his offspring. He gets to see his seed. Had to pay the price, and once that was done, he could see his seed. There's a strong link then because of his substitutionary death, Jesus will see his offspring, his seed. If he had not died in their place, they would have been crushed by God's justice eternally in hell, but Jesus wins seed or children for God.

In the Old Testament, to see your descendants, to see your grandchildren and great-grandchildren, that was a great blessing, that's a blessed life, because children are blessing from the Lord, a heritage from God, that's a blessing. So, you remember at the end of... All of Job's crushing, and at the end of that, God... All of his children died, but God gave him more children and it says "After this, Job lived 140 years, he saw his children, and their children to the fourth generation." That's blessed to be able to see that and that's a clear mark of blessing.

Well, Jesus is going to see his spiritual sons and daughters, forever, to the nth generation. I don't know how many there are, but lots and lots and lots. Centuries and centuries of children flowing from this. We are his children, his spiritual children, not biological, spiritual. So it says in John 1:12-13, "But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." Those are Jesus' offspring, and he'll see them forever.

Says in Hebrews 2:13, Jesus speaking, "Behold, I and the children God has given me." You see that, he's like presenting us to heaven, "Behold me, and all my children." And we come in through him. And it says in Hebrews 2 also, "Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity, so that by his death, he might destroy him who holds the power of death, that is the devil, and free those, who all their lives, are held in slavery by their fear of death."

IV. The Will of the Lord Prospers in Christ’s Hand (vs. 10)

Verse 10 also says that he will of the Lord will prosper in Christ's hand. Prosperity, richness, fruit. I get the picture of Jesus, like a skillful gardener and the father entrusts this amazingly complex deep-plan to him and said, "Do something with this." And he says, "Yes, father." And makes it flourish and he just makes it beautiful by his death. Skillful gardener and just all these fruits and vegetables and fragrant, fragrant aromas and beautiful flowers and just flowering in Jesus' hand.

Or another image would be of a skillful violinist let's say, and the father wrote some incredible music and hands it to his skillful son and says "Here, play this," and he plays it beautifully, he plays this music perfectly. The will of the Lord flourishing in Jesus' hand, the pleasure of God.

V. Christ’s Resurrection Victory (vs. 11)

Now in verse 11, we have Christ's resurrection victory, "After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied by his knowledge. My righteous servant will justify many and he will bear their iniquities." So the death of Christ clearly established, an Isaiah 53, as we've seen, verse 8, "cut off from the land of the living." Sounds like death. Verse 9, "assigned a grave with the wicked". He's definitely dead, he's with the rich in his death, he's dead. But verse 11 makes it clear that he didn't stay dead "After the suffering of his soul…" Clearly referring to his death, "He will see." That's all it says literally, just he will see. The NIV helpfully, or unhelpfully adds "the light of life." I think it's just enough to know that after he's dead, he'll see something, which you can't do unless you're alive. So it speaks of the resurrection and all that you ever see is light anyway, so light of life is fine with me. So this is a clear testimony to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. After the suffering of his soul, he will be raised from the dead and see the offspring that are going to come.

We get clear doctrine, again, in Verse 11, of substitutionary atonement. "By his knowledge, my righteous servant will justify many and he will bear their iniquities." One scholar says, Verse 11 is one of the fullest statements of atonement theology ever penned, this one verse: "By his knowledge, my righteous servant will justify many and he will bear their iniquities." So the suffering servant, knows it, this knowledge he knows the needs to be met, he knows what must be done since he is righteous and my servant or God's servant, he is fully acceptable to God, to do this. He is appointed by him to satisfy his wrath. He identified himself personally with us and our sins, he accomplishes the atonement fully and perfectly once for all time. And so, we have double imputation here, our sin laid on him, and he dies, his righteousness laid on us and we live. 2 Corinthians 5:21, God "made him who had no sin, to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." That double exchange.

VI. Eternal Glory for Christ’s Substitutionary Atonement (vs. 12)

Verse 12, we see the eternal glory for Christ, substitutionary atonement, "Therefore, I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong because he poured out his life unto death and because he was numbered with the transgressors, for he bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors." This a glorious summation of all of these 15 verses. Glorious, and it begins with the word "therefore", Christ gets what he deserves. Like in Philippians 2,"…being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross, therefore, God exalted him to the highest place…" because he did this, he gets everything that's coming to him.

So also, as we've seen, Revelation 5, Jesus won the right to come and take the scroll from the right hand of the one who sat on the throne. He earned it, because he died because he won this victory, it's a triumph. And so he gets a portion with the strong. He's the greatest warrior in history, but his way of fighting is different than other warriors greater than Samson, greater than David, greater than any warrior, Jesus' warfare was of a different type. And he deserves the spoils for his victory, that's what the verse is saying, he deserves to be honored for it, he deserves to be worshipped. And what are the spoils of his victory? We are. He won us. If you're a Christian, you belong to another. You belong to your master, 1 Corinthians 6, "You are not your own; you were bought at a price." And so you are blood-bought, you're blood owned by a marvelous King and Master and so he gets the spoils, and we're it. A multitude greater than anyone could count, from every tribe, and language, people and nation bought with his blood and they belong to him.

Now we see also here a powerful link between Jesus' atoning work, his blood work, and his intercessory work. There's an indissoluble link between the two of them. Everyone that Jesus sheds his blood for, he prays for. And only them. And everyone he prays for, he sheds his blood for. And only them.

So verse 12, "He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." How comforting is it to you to know that Jesus is at the right hand of God and is interceding for you? Romans Chapter 8 says that he ever lives or always lives to make intercession for us. He has a permanent priesthood. And he's able to save us to the uttermost. Save us completely, because he's constantly praying for you. And what is he praying? Well we've seen this time and again, in Luke 22, remember?

Simon Peter saying, that even if all fall away on account of Jesus, he never would. Yeah, that before the hardest night of his life, the biggest fall he ever had into sin. The worst, most shameful night of his life and he didn't know it was about to hit him. And Jesus said, "Simon, Simon. Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat. But I've prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail." That's the intercession he's making for you, transgressors, that's the intercession he's making for me, that my faith in Jesus won't ever fail until I don't need it anymore. And when will I not need my faith anymore? When I see him with my own eyes, the day of faith will be over, and I will have finished my salvation journey. But I'm not done yet, I have a race to run, and it's a hard race. And I'm assaulted every moment by the world of flesh, and the devil, and he's not going to stop praying for me that my faith won't fail until I'm done with my race.

So what does he pray? He prays for our faith, that it won't fail. On what basis? On the basis of his shed blood. Think about the hymn Come, ye Sinners, Poor and Needy. It says this, "Lo the incarnate God ascended, pleads the merit of his blood." he's pleading on the basis of his blood to his Heavenly Father, for us. Or again in the hymn, Arise, My Soul Arise, is what the hymn writer put it, how he put it, "Five bleeding wounds he bears, received on Calvary. They pour effectual prayers, they strongly speak for me. Forgive him! Oh forgive they cry, nor let that ransomed sinner die." The Father hears him pray, his dear Anointed One, he cannot turn away the presence of his son, "His Spirit answers to the blood and tells me I am born of God."  So that's the nature of the intercessory prayer ministry going on, constantly for us.

VII. Applications

So what application can we take for Isaiah 53? Well, I prayed many times and I continue to pray for any that are here that are outside the Gospel. Or walked in here. You know you're in a lost state. I'm pleading with you to come in while there's time. To come in while there's time. You have to deal with this chapter, it doesn't just go away.

It doesn't blow away like the dust, you have to deal with Isaiah 53. You have to deal with the fact that the Dead Sea scrolls say it's at least 2 1/2 centuries older than Jesus and that history tells us it's actually seven centuries older than Jesus and that it clearly speaks of one, a servant, who dies in the place of others to bear their sins and in that way, it makes sense of all of the animal sacrificial system, which other than that doesn't make any sense at all, frankly. I don't understand how modern Judaism understands the animal sacrificial system without the fulfillment in Christ. Doesn't make any sense to me. Made no sense because it's gone now.

But if Christ is the final sacrifice, it makes perfect sense. You have to deal with this, this isn't going to go away, and you've heard it now you're sitting here. We've been through all 12 verses of Isaiah 53 and then the three that preceded it. And someday you're going to have to give an account to God for what you've heard here. I'm asking, I'm pleading with you, flee to Christ now. Repent of your sins and trust in him, that you might be justified, counted righteous, forgiven by simple faith in Christ. Come to Christ.

Now, if you're already believer in Christ, you've been so for some time, maybe a long time. Can I just urge you to rejoice in the certainty of your salvation? Just be confident that you're going to be saved. You are continually going astray into sin, we all do that, all of us, like sheep do this. So just thank the Lord for suffering in your place, trust in him more and more to fully cure you of your wandering ways, present those wandering ways to him and say, "Cure me of this, you're my good shepherd. Cure me of my wandering ways." But know the whole time you're atoned for, you're forgiven of your wandering ways.

And believers, share this chapter with an unbeliever. It has converting power. I said that last week. I would love to hear if there are any stories of attempts that you made to share this with folks. Try again and try again next week, even when we're in Isaiah 54, God willing. Keep trying with Isaiah 53. It's awesome. Use it as a witnessing tool. Find a co-worker, a neighbor, a fellow student, a dorm mate, and ask if they'd be willing to go through this chapter with you. Explain how it's written seven centuries before Christ, go carefully through its message, emphasize the "we" part of our sin and the "he" part about what Christ has done, go through all that. And then urge them to repent and believe.

Now, to you who are suffering disease and pain, and you're fearful of death and you're Christians, meditate much on the resurrection body that Christ has won for you. Think about that a lot in the midst of your suffering, just rejoice in that. To those of you that are wrestling with besetting sin, I want you to picture in Isaiah 53, what your sin cost Jesus. Think about that. Think about what he went through because of your sins, the piercing and the crushing he went through, and learn to hate sin as much as the Father and the Son do. Hate it and fight it, while you know you're forgiven.

To those of you who feel unloved, lonely, forsaken, see in Isaiah 53, the greatest display of God's love you'll ever see. God demonstrates his love for you in this, while you're still sinners Christ died for you. This is a display of love, that the Father would do this, not sparing his own Son, but giving him up for you. To those of you that are bewildered by what God's doing in your life, you don't understand this adverse providence that's come. I don't know what it might be, but I know it's got to do with some suffering on your part and you don't know why God is crushing you. Understand, if you're being crushed, it's by God, and that he's pleased to do it. He is pleased to crush you and cause you to suffer. He's pleased to do that. Why? For the good, the joy that's going to come from it, from the joy that's going to come on the other side of these afflictions. This is not an accident what's happening to you. You just don't see it properly perhaps up till now. See it as directly from the hand of God for your ultimate good, if you're a Christian.

And then finally give Christ the spoils he deserves, which is yourself, give him yourself, present your body to him every moment as a living sacrifice. He earned it, he paid for it. You are his, give it to him. Close with me in prayer.

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