Posted by: St. Mark Lutheran Church | October 28, 2012

Sermon on Isaiah 53:10-12

The crushed One prolongs our days

  • Order of Service:  Common Service, p15
  • Lessons:  Isaiah 53:10-12, Hebrews 4:9-16, Mark 10:35-45
  • Hymns: 749, 771, 746, 765

Downloadable Version

In the name of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh.

Hebrew is a word order language.  Normally, a verse begins with the verb, the action word.  But verse ten of Isaiah 53 begins with the Divine Name, “the LORD.”  It puts the emphasis on the fact that the LORD Himself willed and desired these things to happen.  It was the Lord’s will to strike, smite, and afflict Jesus.  It was the Lord’s will to crush Him and cause Him pain, to make Him a guilt offering.  It was the Lord’s will that Jesus suffer and die on the cross on Good Friday.  And Jesus accepted that will.  On the night Judas betrayed Him, Jesus pointed to these verses of Isaiah 53 and said, This must be fulfilled in me.   Why?  For us.  And, we’re thankful that it was the Lord’s will.  Because the Lord’s will was also to lift Him up and exalt Him.  It was the Lord’s will to prosper Him, and through Him to prosper us.  Here’s the truth:  THE CRUSHED ONE PROLONGS OUR DAYS.

By crushing Him, the LORD offered Jesus as compensation, as the sacrifice of atonement.  That’s what a guilt offering is in the Old Testament system of sacrifices, a repayment of debt.  What’s the debt?  Did Jesus owe something to God?  No.  We owed something to God, a debt beyond calculation.  We owed compensation for the damage of our sins.  When we violate God’s laws, we break something of God’s.

And we either pay our debt or get punished.  The problem is we can’t possibly do everything that God demands as payment for this debt.  When He said Be holy, He didn’t mean kinda’ holy, or sorta’ holy, or mostly holy.  He meant a continual, complete, and perfect holiness.  So, it’s option two: punishment.  And God doesn’t garnish wages for sins.  He doesn’t send us upstairs without dinner.  He doesn’t forbid video games.  No, our sin is a great deal bigger than that.  The payment for sin is death.

But now, instead of me, all this happened to Christ!  Imagine that!  The LORD willed for Him to be punished for us:  [Jesus] was delivered over to death for our sins, Paul says.  Our sin caused the Mighty Maker to die, for, as Luther prayed, we are Jesus’ sin.  But, as Isaiah makes clear, it was the Lord’s desire to do so.  This is God’s amazing grace.  The LORD desired that Christ suffer, for us and instead of us.  And it’s not because He revels in blood lust.  It’s because He wants all men saved.  And because He wants all men saved, it has to be this way, or all men will go to hell, because without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.  And our sinful blood won’t pay the debt we owe.  But this desire of the LORD that all men be saved, when worked by His hand and carried out by His Servant, does succeed.  Because Jesus didn’t pour out sinful blood, when He was pierced and stricken holy, divine blood poured out, God’s blood, for our sins.  And since the piercing produced God’s blood, Jesus was victorious, though it doesn’t appear so when He’s crushed and destroyed.  But Jesus Himself compares this crushing to the planting of wheat: I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.  Even nature teaches us that death brings life!  From Jesus’ death comes life!

He offered Himself to be crushed.  And boy was He crushed!  Think of Him in Gethsemane sweating blood.  Think of Him on the cross crying out, My God, My God, why have you forsaken me.  This was not light and easy for Jesus.  Bearing your sin and mine, bearing God’s curse isn’t light, it isn’t easy.  It’s dreadful.  Scripture compares it to childbirth.  Labor is painful.  There’s no joy in going through contractions.  Christ didn’t enjoy giving birth to our salvation because it felt so good and nice.  But when that child is born, rejoice!  Christ’s labor pains ended when He cried out, It is finished.  And God, in His mercy accepted it.  And because Jesus was crushed, we get to be declared reborn, holy, not guilty, debt free!  That’s God’s promise:  my righteous servant will justify many.  To that promise realized in Christ’s death, our faith clings, because God is the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

But it’s still not over.  Isaiah says, He will see the light of life.  Despite being crushed to death on the cross, there’s sight, there’s satisfaction, there’s acquittal.  There’s no lost tomb of Jesus.  As David says, You will not let your Holy One see decay.  Jesus rose!  Jesus lives!  As Paul says, He was raised to life for our justification.   Jesus lives to acquit us, saying to our Father, “I did it.  I bore it.  It’s on Me.”

And it’s still not over.  The letter to the Hebrews says, Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation.   That’s another way of saying what Isaiah said:  Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong.  Jesus conquered and won.  He poured out His life and raised Himself from the dead.  For you.  And so God gives Him the spoils of victory, the winner’s prize.  And Jesus didn’t just take this prize home to heaven and horde it all for Himself.  He shares it with us.

What’s the prize?  He will see His offspring and prolong His days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in His hands.  The prize is success.  What the LORD wants, not just to crush Christ, but to crush Him instead of me, to destroy the devil’s work, and thus bring forth the light of life – all this succeeds in Christ’s hands!  That’s what He shares with us:  He lives, we live; in the forgiveness of His sins (really my sins) I find the forgiveness of my own sins, the declaration of righteousness, innocence, and holiness through faith in His blood!  Not just His innocence, but in Jesus it’s my innocence, my holiness, my righteousness!  From thence come the spoils of Jesus’ victory:  the promise not only of forgiveness, but also of resurrection from the dead, not to eternal death and suffering, but to eternal life.  He won’t leave us to suffer in this world interminably.  He won’t let us drift off into unconsciousness or annihilation.  We will live with Jesus in heaven.

But that’s still not all.  God exalted Jesus to the highest place, His right hand.  He will exalt us too, not to become God, but transforming our bodies to be like His body.  This perishable, rotting, stinking, foul wreck of a body that we lug around, will become imperishable, incorruptible, sweet-smelling, and perfect, as God intended all bodies to be in the Paradise of Eden.  Why?  How?  Because Jesus was numbered with the sinners, He became the greatest of all sinners, and then He poured out His life, He bore our sin.  He crushed the devil’s head.  And in the knowledge of finishing all that God desired and required, the crushed Son who now lives stands beside God and makes intercession for us sinners.  He says, “The price has been paid.  The sacrifice has been offered.  The treasure has been gained.  Father, free my brothers from death!  Purify them in my blood!”

The Christian is an optimist. The Christian has hope, because at least eight times in Isaiah 53, not just in our verses, but the whole chapter, the Spirit declares to us what Christ gained and what Christ gives:  He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows; He was pierced, crushed, and punished for our sins; the LORD laid on Him our sins; He was oppressed and afflicted, yet suffered silently, led to the slaughter; for our sins He was stricken; the LORD willed to crush Him; He bore our sins; He bore the sin of many and makes intercession for sinners.  Talk about repetition for emphasis.  Though death seems to shorten our days, as it crushed our Savior Jesus, we see that death brings life, because Jesus’ death means our forgiveness, and the end of Jesus’ days means the lengthening of ours.  For we will live with Him.  We will see the light of life.  Forever.  Hallelujah!  Jesus lives!  Amen.

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