Yet the LORD was pleased to crush Him severely.
So begins the fifth and final stanza of Isaiah’s fourth song of the Servant (Isaiah 52:13-53:12).
- First stanza – Wake Up, City of God; the suffering of the Jews foreshadowed the Messiah’s suffering.
- Second stanza – Believe It, People of God; as hard as it might be to believe, the Messiah came as a man.
- Third stanza – Consider the Why, Rebels of God; the Servant’s suffering had purpose.
- Fourth stanza - Behold the Lamb, Children of God; the Servant was shorn and slaughtered as a lamb.
And all of this made God happy? It pleased Him?
The four previous stanzas described the sacrificial death of the Servant with awful terms.
- Disfigured, beaten to the point of being unrecognizable
- Despised, rejected, a man of suffering
- Stricken, struck down by God, afflicted
- Pierced, crushed, punished
- Oppressed, judged, cut off
Why on earth would God find pleasure in this?
Because of this…
The Servant’s death would make restitution for wrongs done against the holy name of God. Jesus gave Himself up as a restitution offering (aka, guilt offering in other translations). Jesus’ death created a way for the ultimate wrong to be made right – for God’s creation to be restored to their former position. God and people could dwell together once again.
What happened then?
With restitution made, the Servant will see His spiritual offspring. Through resurrection, He will no longer experience death. He will accomplish the desire of God.
Yes, He will go through anguish to reach the end goal. God’s not pleased with that part. But sin’s entrance into the world brought with it the need for sacrifice. God is pleased that the Servant willingly offered Himself as the final sacrifice to permanently make right the wrong done by our choice to sin. And despite the anguish, Jesus will be satisfied because He knows the results.
He knows His anguish will make restitution to declare us righteous.
He knows His anguish will bear our distortion of truth – that His resurrection will defeat our distortion of truth. That He is truth.
He knows His suffering will take us from co-conspirator to co-heir (Romans 8:17). From vile to victorious (1 John 5:4). From condemned to conqueror (1 John 4:4).
And in true Hebrew fashion – to circle back around and link to the beginning of this song – “He will be raised and lifted up and greatly exalted” (Isaiah 52:13).