November 04, 2013
From the desk of Dr. A.J. Higgins
Yet we did esteem Him stricken . Yet He opened not His mouth .
Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him.
Isaiah 53:4, 7, 10
Three times over in the short space of twelve verses, Isaiah seems to stop and ponder that despite certain facts about the Messiah, certain things occurred. Each is highlighted by the word “yet.” We can only wonder if he paused, put down his quill, and lifted his heart in worship to God for the grace of the One Who was coming.
His first pause comes when He considered what the Lord Jesus Christ did and how the nation misunderstood Him. “Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we did esteem Him stricken . of God.” At the moment He was affecting an eternal redemption for spirit, soul, and body, Israel thought He was actually under the stroke of divine judgment. With self-assured and self-righteous satisfaction, the leaders of the nation gloated in their victory and triumph over Him. “He trusted in God. Let Him deliver Him if He will have Him” (Matt 27:43). Their mockery seemed valid since never before was there a man who had trusted God who was forsaken. The abandoned Christ seemed to justify their boast.
Isaiah adds, “He was oppressed and he was afflicted.” Yet amidst all of that – the greatest possible stress, “Yet He opened not His mouth.” Never a word of vindication nor a word of vengeance came from His lips. He did not speak. His silence was not that of ignorance, or irate seething anger but a beautiful blending of meekness and majesty. As a Lamb led to the slaughter, He had no words of reviling or threatening for others (1 Peter 2:23).
But perhaps the greatest mystery lies in the final “yet” of verse 10. The previous verse highlights the sinless perfection of the Lord Jesus. “He had done no violence neither was any deceit in His mouth.” There was neither the abuse of power not the stratagem of weakness. Both acts and words were pure and perfect. “Yet,” adds Isaiah, despite all that, He was crushed by the omnipotent hand of Jehovah. When we are told that it “pleased the Lord to bruise Him,” we must never think that it gave God pleasure to crush His Son. The thought behind “pleased,” is that it was His sovereign will.
The first “yet” reveals to us the spiritual blindness of humanity. Beauty was deemed as ugliness and holiness was called sin. The second tells us of the silent submission of a Savior. The final “yet” reveals to us the Sovereign purposes of our God. We should, with Isaiah, bow in worship.
1. Verse 7 tells us of the Lamb going to the slaughter and a sheep going to its shearers. The one speaks of the taking of life and the other of the removal of the glory and beauty of the sheep. Consider Calvary as a slaughter and as a stripping and shaming by men of all that they could of Christ.
2. James will tell us that the most difficult thing for a man to control and tame is his tongue (James 3). Only one Man was able to control His tongue and He did it in the most difficult of circumstances.