He Identified with Us and Our Sin
Isaiah 52:13 & 53:1-12
My daughter and I went skiing. She always skied faster than I did. In fact, she would laugh at how slow a skier I was. One time, she went shooting ahead of me on her skis, and I followed after slowly. We were going down a snow-covered road down the side of a hill and she was ahead of me. She turned a corner and was out of sight. Then I followed her and she had fallen in the meantime. I laughed as I went by and I got to the bottom of the hill. When I got to the bottom of the hill, I had to wait several minutes. I began to worry. It occurred to me the last thing she heard was actually me laughing at her fall. I felt bad. What kind of father would laugh at his daughter's pain? Finally she came down the hill and she had twisted her leg. She asked if she could go rest in the car and she was quite alright later. But what kind of father would laugh at the pain of his daughter? Certainly not a good one.
Yet we find in Scripture that God the Father took delight in the suffering of his Son. It says that in Isaiah 53:10: "But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to sickness."
We are going to discover the truth behind that verse. We will find that the Song of the Servant in Isaiah 52 - 53 is all about identity. We've been studying that truth, and we will see that identity is a crucial reality in this Song of the Servant as it is called.
Everyone who studies Isaiah finds there five poems or Songs which are connected to the Servant of God. This Servant in Isaiah 52 and 53 suffers greatly. And it says that God found pleasure in his suffering using one of the most strong Hebrew words for delight in the Hebrew language. This of course is shocking. How can God find joy in the suffering of his Son? So let us read the first three verses of the Song.
"13 Behold, My servant will prosper, He will be high and lifted up, and greatly exalted. 14 Just as many were astonished at you, So His appearance was marred more than any man, And His form more than the sons of men. 15 Thus He will sprinkle many nations, Kings will shut their mouths on account of Him; For what had not been told them they will see, And what they had not heard they will understand."
These verses said that the Servant will be high and lifted up after going through tremendous suffering. Why will he be high and lifted up? The answer to that question also answers the question why God is delighted to see his Son suffer.
What we will find as we look at the text of this Song is that 14 different places the Servant substitutes himself for the people. He takes their suffering on himself. Let's take a look at this. We shall look at the 14 different places where he identifies with the people or substitutes for them. Verse four says the following: "Surely our sicknesses He Himself bore."
This is the first of the 14 substitutions we will look at. It says that he bore our sicknesses. In this context, sickness is used as a metaphor for sin. And as we look at the entirety of the Song we shall see where the Servant heals us from our sin by becoming a substitute for us. Here he himself bore our sicknesses or sins. Then in the same verse it says that he carried our pains, "And our sorrows He carried."
The words sorrows is pains. He took our pains upon himself. This probably refers to the wages of sin, the punishment for our wrongdoing. That is the second substitution. Now we have the third. "5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions."
On the cross Jesus was pierced through with a spear. This Song tells us that it was for us it happened. After he died a Roman soldier made sure of the death by sticking a spear into him. Then we have the fourth substitution, "He was crushed for our iniquities."
He was crushed for our iniquities; all of our sins became a heavy weight that destroyed him. The next substitution is the fifth one, "The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him."
Christ was severely beaten before he was nailed to the cross. That chastening led to our Shalom. Shalom is the Hebrew word for well-being. We came to a state of health because he was put through torture. Then the sixth one, "And by His scourging we are healed" (Isaiah 53:6).
That scourging led to our healing. Notice that our health and healing comes from his suffering. He identified with us by becoming our sin and therefore he suffered for our sins. Notice how he took our sentence and the result was our healing and wholeness, our Shalom. Then we have the seventh one, "But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him."
All of our iniquities fell on him. He has fully identified with us in our wrongdoing. Identity has three parts to it. First Christ identifies with us. Then, we are identified with Christ. Then we have to choose to live out of that identity. Now we have the eighth substitution.
"And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living, For the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due?" (Isaiah 53:8).
No one considered the fact that Jesus was receiving the punishment that really was due to the people of this planet and of Israel. But that is the reality, he was a substitute. Now we will examine the ninth substitution, "9 His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His deaths."
In the Hebrew Bible, the Servant is described as suffering many deaths, plural. The Book of Hebrews says that he tasted death for every person. This is reflected in the verse nine. Again we have his substitution for us. Then we come to the verse which makes the statement that the Lord was delighted to crush him. And that is the 10th substitution, "10 But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to sickness; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring."
The Lord put him to the sickness of sin, and crushed him as a result. But it is verse 10 that gives us the purpose of the substitutions. The Lord will see offspring from the suffering of the Servant. The individuals that he is dying for will become the seed of God, the children of God, the daughters and sons of God. Why is God delighted? It is because Christ is bringing many children into the family God that is why he is delighted. The Son has identified with us and with our sin so that we can become the children of God.
So this is the study for this weekend, and next weekend we will pick up in Isaiah 53 and look at the rest of the substitutions, and learn more about how Christ has identified with us.
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