Suffering Servant (8 of 10)

The Word
Yet 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 53:10)

 Voice from the Church
“What good father could wish for his son to be crushed? It is only possible if there was some unquestionably greater good to be obtained. And what greater good could possibly justify the crushing of the Servant? The answer is given in the second half of the verse. It is when the ‘life’ of the Servant is offered as a sin offering that God’s purpose in bringing him to this place is realized (‘prosper’).”
(John N. Oswalt, b. 1940)*

The heart of the Father must have been crushed as well as the heart of the Son when the Servant trod the winepress alone.

The sufferings and death of Christ were the will of the Father. There was no other way to obtain redemption for fallen man: “it was the will of the Lord to crush him.”

This is holy ground. It is one thing for sinful man to offer up a guilt offering for his own sins; he is guilty and deserving of punishment and death. It is quite another matter, infinitely greater, for the Father to offer up his sinless Son for the sins of the entire world. God’s Lamb must be crushed; the Father’s Lamb must die a most ignominious death.

It is only through this crushing that resurrection (“he shall prolong his days”) shall come; it is only through crushing that glorious fruit shall spring forth (“the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand”). Before life, there must be death; before resurrection, there must be crushing.

We may not know, we cannot tell,
What pains He had to bear;
But we believe it was for us
He hung and suffered there.
(C. Frances Alexander, 1818-1895)**

*John N. Oswalt, The NIV Application Commentary: Isaiah, p. 586.
**From “There is a Green Hill Far Away” by Cecil F. Alexander.

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Author: Ralph I. Tilley

I joyfully identify with the long history of the orthodox, evangelical stream of the Church. Theologically, I am a conservative. On issues of secondary importance, I will not quibble with my brothers and sisters in Christ. We are called to “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” I would hope I have no doctrinal biases; however, I realize that is a practical impossibility: “Now I know in part.” You can read more on the About page.