November 25, 2013
From the desk of Dr. A.J. Higgins
Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; Because .
The final verse of Isaiah 53 brings before us four reasons why God has determined to exalt His Son. Each tells us something of what God valued in the person and work of our Lord Jesus.
The first is because “He poured out His soul unto death.” A number of things are suggested by this expression, “poured out.” Perhaps the first and the one we can identify with best, is that there was absolutely no resistance. The imagery of being “as water spilled on the ground” (2 Sam 14:14) is familiar to us, indicating how helpless we are to resist death. The Lord Jesus was not subject to death. But He poured out His life.
It suggests as well that there was nothing held back. Everything was given. Like a pitcher emptied of its contents, He gave His all.
The “pouring out” may also link with the drink offering and the joy He had in fulfilling the Father’s will even though it meant the cross and shame.
The second statement is that “He was numbered with the transgressors.” If the first expression tells us of the depth of His sacrifice, this tells of the depth of His shame. To be listed in the annals of Rome and to be esteemed by man as just another criminal was a reproach we cannot even begin to measure. For the “high and lofty One Who inhabits eternity” to be listed among earth’s criminals is beyond any script that men would write. Yet God appreciated that there was One Who willingly allowed Himself to be “numbered with the transgressors.”
Thirdly, “He bare the sin of many.” God will honor His Son for the great work of substitution. Not only giving Himself; not only humbling Himself. But He chose to be the substitute for many with all it entailed of suffering and loss. Sin was not only a barrier for us as sinners, but it was an offense to the throne of God. The purposes of God all hinged on an answer to the problem of sin. The Lord Jesus met that need – not only for us, but for the throne of God as well.
Finally, we are told that God is going to exalt His Son because He “made intercession for the transgressors.” I don’t think this refers to His request for forgiveness while on the cross. I think it is better understood that He makes and continues to make, intercession for transgressors. In other words, He has provided a salvation available to sinners and is actively bringing people to God, as the result of His great salvation. He is glorifying His Father by bringing Him worshipers; God will glorify His Son for this great work.
If God is going to honor and exalt His Son for these four reasons, they should be four aspects of His work for which we can worship Him.