“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand” (KJV, Is. 53:10).
“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him”
What an amazing choice of words. Before Isaiah 53:10, the reader had already been introduced to the suffering Messiah. Most of what has been said up to this point has consisted of Christ and His substitutionary death. But nowhere are the words of Isaiah so clear as they are now concerning the Father’s activity.
In Isaiah’s Suffering Servant, the wording is often passive. For instance, the Bible says that Jesus “was stricken” and “was cut off.” Elsewhere Isaiah said that Jesus was “smitten, afflicted, and was crushed.” The passive nature of these verses indicates the Father’s activity in the death of Christ throughout Isaiah’s Suffering Servant but nowhere has the Father been so obviously involved.
The Bible tells the reader that it pleased God to bruise Christ. The Hebrew word translated as pleased is chaphets, and it carries the meaning of being pleased with desire. It also signifies delight, pleasure, and will. Thus, it was the will of the Father to bruise the Son, and the death of Christ delighted the Father.
The words are almost hard to believe. Elsewhere Isaiah used the same word to depict God’s pleasure. He said, “The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable” (Is. 42:21). Herein one can gain a glimpse of God’s pleasure in the death of His Son. God was pleased for His righteousness’ sake.
But it may be assumed that Isaiah’s words are all there is to consider. But they are not. Joy and sorrow can be mingled together. Paul spoke in a paradoxical fashion of being sorrowful yet always rejoicing. Isaiah speaks of the pleasure of God in bruising the Son. At the same time when Christ was bruised, there was darkness over the land, which symbolized, in part, the lamenting and mourning of God.
“he hath put him to grief”
Ultimately it was God the Father’s plan to put the Son to grief. The Hebrew word translated as grief also carries the meaning of being sick, afflicted, and weak. When Jesus was on the cross, He was in deep anguish. Even before the events of His crucifixion, one can see Him in the Garden of Gethsemane pouring His heart out to the Father.
Jesus knew that His hour had come. He told the disciples to stay back while He sought His Father’s face. Jesus prayed that the Father would take the cup from Him. But in the end, He prayed that the Father’s will would be done and not His own. In Jesus’ anguish, He sweats drops of blood. It is said of Jesus that He looked to the joy set before Him, and as a result, He endured the cross.
It was the will of the Father to put the Son to grief. Scripture says, “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain” (Acts 2:22-23). Sinners crucified Christ. At the same time, it was the Father’s predetermined plan for Christ to die. Thus, man’s sin and God’s plan came together mysteriously. God was not responsible for their sin, nor did He tempt the people to kill Jesus. Nevertheless, God put the Son to grief.
“when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin”
Here one can see the purpose as to why the Father delighted in the death of the Son. Jesus was the spotless Lamb of Calvary. From the beginning of Jesus’ ministry John the Baptist declared, “…Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Jesus was ultimately given as a sacrificial Lamb for the lost.
Even the people of the Old Testament needed Jesus to die for their sins. The blood of the animal sacrifices did not satisfy the wrath of God. Instead, the sacrifices covered the people’s sins as God the Father looked to Christ, the Lamb of God slain before the foundation of the world. Instead, Paul tells the reader of Romans that in God’s divine forbearance, He overlooked the sins of those in the Old Testament, and the death of Christ was to show God’s righteousness. As a result, God is both the Just and the Justifier of the wicked.
“he shall see his seed”
One of the glorious results of Christ’s death and resurrection is that Christ would see His seed. Isaiah previously stated, “He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken” (Is. 53:8). Notice that Isaiah asked, “Who shall declare his generation?” In other words, Jesus died in the prime of His life with no descendants. Matthew and Luke give an extensive genealogy of Jesus, but His line seemingly ended at His death.
However, while Isaiah 53:8 speaks of physical descendants, one can see that Isaiah 53:10 tells of spiritual descendants. John tells of what comes through faith in Christ. He says, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12). Only through the offering of Christ can one become a son of God.
“he shall prolong his days”
Yet again, Isaiah speaks of the triumph of Christ. But, as was previously noted, Isaiah already told of Christ being cut off from the land of the living. Jesus was said to be the Son of Joseph and a descendant of David in His earthly genealogy. But when He died, His genealogy came to a screeching halt.
But the spiritual life of Christ is what was ultimately important. Paul said, “Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Rom. 1:3-4). While declared to be of the line of David and cut off from the world, He remains the Son of God for all eternity.
“and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand”
Isaiah tells of the pleasure of the Lord prospering in the hand of Christ. The same form of the Hebrew word translated as pleased earlier is translated as pleasure in this portion of Scripture. The point is clear. The pleasure of the Father will prosper through Jesus’ obedience to the Father’s will.
It pleased the Father to crush Jesus. The reason is that God is righteous, and His righteousness demands justice. Therefore the breaking of the law demands God’s attention. But God does not delight in the death of the wicked. On the contrary, God wants all people everywhere to turn from their sins and receive forgiveness.
But forgiveness cannot be granted apart from justice. Therefore, God sent His Son to be an offering for sin so that payment would be made and the sinner could be forgiven. It was the Father’s good pleasure to initiate this plan, and in the Son’s hand, it has prospered.
He entrusted the Son with a mission to seek and save the lost. Christ came and did what only He could do. As a result, Jesus has glorified the Father, and justice has been served.
Father, I thank You for Your redemptive plan. You have been good to me and have forgiven me of many sins. However, my heart still needs work, and I pray that You will help me this day. Teach me to rejoice in the work of my Savior. In Jesus’ name, Amen.