Good Friday: God Crushed the Perfectly Sinless for the Vile Sinful – Isaiah 52:13-53:12

I thought I would include some thoughts/quotes I have found helpful. This is not a sermon outline as much as just an outline of thoughts.

God Crushed the Perfectly Sinless for the Vile Sinful

“The fourth Servant song may without any exaggeration be called the most important text of the Old Testament. This is confirmed first by the numerous citations in the New Testament, and second by the voluminous Jewish and Christian literature which has been based on this prophecy down through the centuries.”

“If lost from the Old Testament, this passage could almost be reconstructed from its quotations in the New Testament.”

“Perhaps the most distinguished thing about it [this passage] is the fact that this very portion stands in the background of almost every New Testament treatment of the great events connected with our Lord’s passion, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, exaltation, and second coming.”

“The extant literature on the monumental fifty-third chapter of Isaiah is so vast that, perhaps, no person could read it in a lifetime.”

God announces the exaltation of His Servant because of His satisfactory substitutionary death for the sins of both His guilty people and the gentiles.

  • The Messiah’s exaltation despite the astonishment and rejection He received (52:13-53:3).
    • It is not that He will simply act wisely, but that He will certainly accomplish all that He is sent to accomplish. Despite what it will look like, He will succeed. (v. 13)
    • “High and Lifted up” => used four times in Isaiah and nowhere else in the OT. Each of the other three times are clear references to God Himself. (v. 13)
    • The revelation of God’s Messiah has forever changed the World!
    • Christ’s contemporaries were appalled by Him (both His life and His death) (v. 14).
    • Many since have been appalled for the same reasons (v. 15).
      • People don’t want a Saviour. They certainly don’t want a suffering Saviour.
    • God now reveals His “arm.” He has promised throughout the book of Isaiah to deliver His people by His “arm.” He now reveals what that will look like and it is nothing like they expected (v. 53:1).
    • God’s Messiah is not a “dominating, forceful, attractive, magnetic individual.” He is just a little sprout – not a mighty oak. The purpose of this passage is not to reveal Christ as being physically unattractive, etc. That is precisely not the point. He is the kind of person, who if in a crowd we wouldn’t even notice (53:2).
    • Not only that, He is full of His own problems. He is full of sorrow and experiences much grief Himself (53:3).
    • “Despised” in Hebrew lacks the emotional feeling that the English word carries. Basically it means “to consider someone or something to be worthless, unworthy of attention.” Christ does not so much suffer from a conscious and deliberate rejection so much as a hasty dismissal (53:3).
      • How can he help me?
      • People simply are not interested because they do not see Him as having any significance for them.
      • Is that still true? Do you notice Christ each and every day? Do you draw your attention to Him? Do you draw other’s attention to Him (you children, etc.)?

“Such a one as this can hardly be the one who can set us free from the most pervasive of all human bondages: sin, and all its consequences. To a world blinded by selfishness, he does not even merit a second thought.”

  • The Messiah was punished for others (53:4-6).
      • Surely => A strong positive contrast. You may think He is not worth a second thought, but surely He is (v. 53:4)!
      • He is not suffering with us. In a sense He is not even suffering because of us. He is suffering for us, in our place, as our substitute (v. 53:4).
      • “wounded” = “pierced through” (v. 53:5).
      • “bruised” = “crushed” (v. 53:5)
        • Some have argued that these two terms together would describe the most horrible and violent death possible in the Hebrew language (v. 53:5)
      • Why? Because of our twisted, depraved sinful rebellion!
      • “We typically wish to make light of our “short-comings,” to explain away our “mistakes.” But God will have none of it. The refusal of humanity to bow to the Creator’s rule, and our insistence on drawing up our own moral codes that pander to our lusts, are not shortcomings or mistakes. They are the stuff of death and corruption, and unless someone can be found to stand in our place, they will see us impaled on the swords of our own making and broken on the racks of our own religion.”

Huge implications to our lives! Recognizing sin in our lives and calling it what it is! Parenting! Are we gospel focused in our parenting?

  • Like sheep we don’t think past the next moment. We don’t consider the choices we are making and the consequences they will have. We just wander aimlessly through life, just doing what seems good, what feels right (v. 53:6).
    • For those who have been brought up around church and the Bible, this aimless living may seem a bit more moral, but it is still sheep-like.
    • Morality is the biggest enemy of godliness.
    • Living life without being consumed by Christ is sin! The very sin Christ died for!
  • The Messiah was unjustly punished (53:7-9).
    • Notice how the sheep metaphor continues. However now it is a positive comparison.
    • Not only was Christ punished for others, He was unjustly punished for others (v. 53:7).
    • He humbly submitted to a punishment He did not deserve for people who did not deserve the atonement He would provide (v. 53:7).
    • Not only was Christ humbly submissive as though to some huge legal mistake. He was intentional. He suffered on purpose. He took your place! Your death (v. 53:8)!
    • Not only was He humbly submissive – He was truly innocent. He had done nothing nor said anything that could be accounted to his as sinful (v. 53:9).
      • This is the only way He could be your substitute. He could not be guilty of the same thing He was dying to atone.
    • Even his burial was an insult. He was surrounded in His death by many of those who had oppressed and despised Him most – the wealthy (v. 53:9).
  • The Messiah’s substitutionary atonement will result in many being made righteous (53:10-12).
    • vv. 10,11 => These verses are HUGE!
    • This was all planed by God Himself. This was and is no accident.
    • It is His life (not just His message or His story) that must be offered and accepted as an offering for my sin!
    • His offering satisfied God’s wrath. He will see His seed and God’s pleasure!

In the Lord’s providence I preached Mark 15 just this past Sunday evening, so I include an outline of thoughts on Mark 15 as well.

Mark 15Vs. 1-5:

Jesus’ silence attests his innocence, as sacrificial lamb. (Augustine)

Out of his human silence, woundedness and death come divine speech, healing and life. (Gregory of Nzianzen)

Jesus, who is, indeed, King of the Jews in a deeply spiritual sense, has refused to lead a political uprising. Yet now, condemned for blasphemy by the Jews because of his spiritual claims, he is accused by them also before Pilate by being precisely what he had disappointed the crowds for failing to be – a political insurgent! (Moule, Gospel of Mark, p. 124)

Vs. 6-15:

While the guilty were receiving pardon, the pardoner was being pronounced guilty. (Augustine)

The civic justice that failed in fair judgment in the presence of the final judge will be corrected on the last day. (Augustine)

The incarnate Lord did not remain aloof from sin but identified himself with sinners, taking their sins upon himself. (Augustine)

Jerusalem repaid him with evil for the immensity of his grace. (Ephrem the Syrian)

The heavy whip is brought down with full force again and again across Jesus’ shoulders, back, and legs. At first the heavy thongs cut through the skin only. Then, as the blows continue, they cut deeper into the subcutaneous tissues, producing first an oozing of blood from the capillaries and veins of the skin, and finally spurting arterial bleeding from vessels in the underlying muscles…Finally the skin of the back is hanging in long ribbons and the entire area is an unrecognizable mass of torn, bleeding tissue. (C. Truman Davis, “The Crucifixion of Jesus. The Passion of Christ from a Medical Point of View,” Arizona Medicine 22, no. 3 [March 1965]: 185)

Vs. 16-20:

The giver of the cloak of righteousness that hides our sin was himself stripped of his earthly clothing. He face is covered with spittle who cured with spittle the eyes of the blind. (Cyprian)

Even their mockery obliquely served to reveal the revealer, to crown the humbled Lord of glory. (Cyirl of Jerusalem)

A conclusive revearsal was being consummated in human history through his mocking crowning. The judge was judged; the Word was silent. (Cyprian)

Vs. 21-32:

No death is more shameful than the public horror of crucifixion. (Eusebius)

Prophecy was being fulfilled even by his tormentors. He who had turned water into sweet wine is offered vinegar and gull. (Cyril of Jerusalem)

The incomparably innocent one tasted the extreme bitterness of the degrading death of a criminal, spurning supposed comforts. (Augustine)

Crucifixion: The cruellest and most hideous punishment possible. (Cicero,Inverrem5.64.165)

The ultimate sentence came not at the trail but at the cross. There the final judge was placed with one criminal on his right and one on his left, as if to anticipate final judgment. He did not cease being the Son of God on the cross. He who was able not to die unless he willed it did die because he willed it. (Augustine)

The crucifixion begins. Jesus is offered wine mixed with Myrrh, a mild analgesic mixture. He refuses to drink. Simon is ordered to place the patibulum on the ground and Jesus is quickly thrown backward with His shoulders against the wood. The legionnaire feels for the depression at the front of the wrist. He drives a heavy, square, wrought-iron nail through the wrist and deep into the wood. Quickly, he moves to the other side and repeats the action, being careful not to pull the arms too tightly, but to allow some flexion and movement. The patibulum is then lifted in place at the top of the stipes and the titulus reading “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” is nailed in place.

The left foot is pressed backward against the right foot, and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of each leaving the knees moderately flexed. The Victim is now crucified. As He slowly sags down with more weight on the nails in the wrists, excruciating, fiery pain shoots along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain–the nails in the wrists are putting pressure on the median nerves. As He pushes Himself upward to avoid this stretching torment He places His full weight on the nail through His feet. Again there is the searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the metatarsal bones of the feet.

At this point, another phenomenon occurs. As the arms fatigue, great waves of cramps sweep over the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to push Himself upward. Hanging by His arms, the pectoral muscles are paralyzed and the intercostal muscles are unable to act. Air can be drawn into the lungs, but cannot be exhaled. Jesus fights to raise Himself in order to get even one short breath. Finally, carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood steam and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically, He is able to push Himself upward to exhale and bring in the life-giving oxygen.

Hours of this limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn from His lacerated back as He moves up and down against the rough timber: Then another agony begins. A crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart.

It is now almost over–the loss of tissue fluids has reached a critical level—the compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues—the tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air. The markedly dehydrated tissues send their flood of stimuli to the brain. (C. Truman Davis, “The Crucifixion of Jesus. The Passion of Christ from a Medical Point of View,” Arizona Medicine 22, no. 3 [March 1965]: 185)

Vs. 27

“robbers” – probably “insurrectionists” from the same insurrection as Barabbas. (Wessel, p. 780)

Vs. 29-32

The jest was the harder to endure since it appealed to a consciousness of power held back only by the self-restraint of sacrificial will.But in a profound sense, if Jesus was to fulfil his messianic mission, he could not save himself. He death has necessary for man’s redemption. (Wessel, p. 781)

Vs. 33-41

With his last words all that had been prophesied of him was brought to completion. He breathed his last not under necessity, but voluntarily. His freedom to die demonstrated his power, not his weakness. (Augustine)

The loud cry of Jesus is unusual because victims of crucifixion usually had no strength left, especially when near death. But Jesus’ death was no ordinary one, nor was his shout the last gasp of a dying man. It was a shout of victory that anticipated the triumph of the Resurrection. (Wessel, p. 783)

In view of Mark’s opening words – “The beginning of the gospel about Jesus, the Son of God” (1:1) – the confession of the centurion at the climax of Jesus’ passion takes on added significance. Whether or not the centurion realised the full import of his words, they were for Mark a profoundly true statement of the identity of the Man on the cross. (Wessel, p. 783)

From When God Weeps: Why Our Sufferings Matter to the Almighty:

“From heaven the Father now rouses himself like a lion disturbed, shakes his mane, and roars again the shrivelling remnant of a man hanging on a cross. Never has the Son seen the Father look at him so, never felt even the last of his hot breath. But the roar shakes the unseen world and darkens the visible sky. The Son does not recognize these eyes.

“Son of Man! What have you behaved so? You have cheated, lusted, stolen, gossiped – murdered, envied, hated, lied. You have cursed, robbed, overspent, overeaten – fornicated, disobeyed, embezzled, and blasphemed. Oh, the duties you have shirked, the children you have abandoned! Who has ever so ignored the poor, so played the coward, so belittled my name?…”

Of course the Son is innocent. He is blamelessness itself. The Father knows this. Be the divine pair have an agreement, and the unthinkable must now take place. Jesus will be treated AS IF personally responsible for every sin ever committed.

It goes without saying that Christ was completely innocent of these things. Peter wrote that Jesus “committed no sin…” Hebrews boasts that he was “without sin,” while positively lauding him as “holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners…” All of Scripture agrees. Old Testament guilt and sin offerings had to be “without defect” because they symbolised the morally perfect Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world (1 Peter 2:22; Hebrews 4:15, 7:26; Leviticus 4 and 5).

But in the most glorious mystery of all time, the Father transferred our sins onto his holy Son. Just as Christ’s righteousness is credited to our account as believers, so our sins were credited (imputed) to his account. “The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). “God made him [Jesus] who had no sin to be sin for us…” (2 Corinthians 5:21). God treated his believed Son as if Jesus had been a sinner, as if he were personally guilty – yet on the cross Jesus remained the spotless Lamb of God, steadfastly righteous in Character.

… The experience of being identified with human sin was infinitely repulsive to Christ’s holy nature; enduring the wrath of his beloved Father (in our stead) far outweighed the physical pains of crucifixion. Yet we must keep in mind that Father and Son had planned the atonement together and were working in concert on that Good Friday. God loved the Son even as his punished him on our account. Does that boggle our minds? It was meant to.”[1] (Tada, Joni Eareckson, and Steve Estes. When God Weeps: Why Our Sufferings Matter to the Almighty. Grand Rapids, Mich: ZondervanPublishing House, 1997, pg. 54.)