The Immediate Exaltation of Jesus

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“And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth” (KJV, Is. 53:9).

“And he made his grave with the wicked”

Jesus continues to go low while living in the will of God. The humiliation of Christ is both an encouraging and sad experience to witness. It is encouraging to know that Christ experienced the shame of living on this earth. Therefore, one can go to Christ during his troubles. On the other hand, it is sad because Christ was innocent and did not deserve what He bore.

The descent of Christ can be seen from the beginning. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, and there was no room for the Messiah in the inn. So instead, Jesus was born in a stable and was laid in a feeding trough as a baby. While He had some visitors who honored Him, He also had many who sought to kill Him even as a child.

The humility of Christ is told well by Paul. He said that Jesus “… being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:6-8). Nevertheless, Jesus was punished for crimes He did not commit. He was killed by an act of capital punishment by those He came to save.

Isaiah was correct in His prophecy when he stated that Jesus made his grave with the wicked. Jesus was put on trial, and a murderer and thief named Barabbas was placed next to Him. The Jews desired that Barabbas would be set free. The irony of the situation is that the people yelled out that they wanted Barabbas. Barabbas means son of the father. Jesus was the Son of the Father, but they did not want Him. Instead, they wanted Jesus dead.

Shortly after, Jesus is hung next to two thieves. They were two of Barabbas’ accomplices in the insurrection. Therefore, the men were likely more than thieves. They were also likely to be murderers or at least accomplices to murder.

Jesus hung on the cross and died a sinner’s death. He was accounted among the wicked, but at the same time, one can see the love He had for them. While one of the thieves railed at Jesus, the other had a change of heart. He looked to Christ, acknowledged Jesus as Lord, and pleaded that Jesus would allow him into His kingdom. Jesus responded by granting the man’s request. While one of the thieves died and bore the weight of his own guilt, the other was forgiven for all his crimes.

But the words of Christ, which come shortly after the forgiveness He grants to the thief, are crucial for understanding the rest of Isiah’s passage. John tells of the last words of Christ and says, “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and bowed his head, and gave up the ghost” (John 19:30). Jesus’ work was done. It was finished. Therefore, so was His humiliation.

“and with the rich in his death”

As a result, Isaiah moves forward in his passage to the exaltation of Christ. While Jesus died with sinners, He was honored in His burial. Paul said that Jesus did not count equality with God as a thing to be grasped. Instead, he told of how Jesus came to the earth, took on flesh, and became a servant humbling Himself to death, even death on a cross.

But then Paul says, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth” (Phil. 2:11-12). The descent of Christ led to His rise. The humiliation of Jesus brought about His exaltation.

After Jesus died, Joseph of Arimathea, a Jew looking for the kingdom of God and who had not consented to the decision of the Jews to kill Jesus, came and asked for Jesus’ body. Scripture says, “This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid” (Luke 23:52-53). The tomb itself identifies Christ as receiving a burial among the rich. For instance, the tomb was hewn from stone, and Jesus was buried by Himself.

“because he had done no violence”

The exaltation of Christ began immediately following His death and could be seen in His burial. But then Isaiah tells the reader why Jesus was exalted. First, Isaiah says that Jesus had done no violence. The perfection of Christ is displayed through the New Testament.

The reality of Jesus’ death was not that He was a sinner but that He took upon Himself the sin of man. Scripture says, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). The words of Paul are astounding.

Paul tells the reader that Christ was made to be sin for the believer’s sake. But it is essential that the Christian knows how this took place. Christ never sinned, but Paul said, “For he hath made him to be sin for us….” Who made Jesus to be sin “for us.” The answer is the Father made Jesus to be sin for the believer’s sake.

Jesus had done no violence; He did not deserve to die. But the Son willing submitted to the Father’s will as the Father imputed the sin of man upon Christ. In the Old Testament, the great high priest would lay his hands on a live animal and transfer the sins of the people to the animal. Thus, God, for many years, taught people about substitution.

Christ came and fulfilled the sacrificial system, which foreshadowed His coming. It was ultimately the Father’s plan for His Son to die, and it had to take place for the sinner to be made right with God. This is why Isaiah could go on to say, “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief…” (Is. 53:10). Therefore, Jesus has been exalted and given the name above all names. He is the Savior.

“neither was any deceit in his mouth”

Not only did Jesus do no violence, but neither was deceit found in His mouth. Both the conduct and speech of Christ were perfect. James has said, For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body” (James 3:2). Jesus was that perfect man.

Everything Jesus said was in line with the Father’s will. He did not speak His own words, but only the words that His Father had given Him, for He came down not to do His own will but the will of Him Who sent Him. Therefore, Peter could say, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth” (1 Pet. 2:21-22). Jesus is truly the perfect example for the Christian.

While Jesus died a death He did not deserve, the Bible says He came for that reason. He saw the sin of man, He saw the rebellion, He saw the anger and hatred directed toward God, but He came anyway. He predicted His death and knew He would die, but He also knew His life would be made an offering for sin.

“And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin” (1 John 3:5).

Final prayer

Father, I thank You that when Jesus came to the earth, He accomplished what You had asked of Him. He died for me, and I am forgiven in Him. Thank You for His exaltation. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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