“He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities” (Isaiah 53:11).
Historically, Christianity has been identified as a bloody, and cruel religion, by those who oppose it. Evidence is cited in that, in the dispensation of the Old Testament, hundreds upon thousands of animals were slaughtered in an effort to appease God who demanded the shedding of blood.
Then, the opponents continue, there had to be the bloodshed of a human, Jesus Christ.
As the unregenerate man looks at the Old Testament sacrifices and the Cross of Calvary it all seems such a needless waste. It all seems to be cold and cruel, and without mercy.
In contrast to the perspective of the natural man is the perspective of God. It is the Divine Perspective I would have you to understand. In simple summary, the Bible says that the Lord looks at the sacrifices of old, and the Cross of Calvary, and He is very much satisfied with the results. There is reason for divine satisfaction.
First, the Lord can be satisfied because His sovereign will has been accomplished according to exact principles of justice.
When sin was discovered in man, the holy God knew that it must be dealt with. There was never a consideration that sin be ignored. The only question was how to satisfy the demands of righteousness and still show mercy and love to the transgression.
Sin naturally separates the one who commits it from God for God cannot behold evil. Evil is always banished from His presence. Adam had sin. The soul that sins must die. Still, love wanted to find a way so that justice could be accomplished in that righteousness was restored and fellowship with man could be maintained.
The answer to the moral dilemma was the Cross of Calvary. The Eternal Godhead decreed a way whereby the sinner could be atoned for, Divine justice satisfied, and mercy expressed.
In preparation for the outworking of the Plan of Redemption, God chose a nation to work through.
From the nation of Israel, the Lord chose a tribe and, from the tribe, a bloodline or specific family.
Then, to spiritually prepare people to understand the many aspects of grace, God instituted a series of sacrifices to teach facets of truth, and to emphasize fundamental ideas. So it was the burnt offering became the offering of worship, the peace offering spoke of fellowship, the meat offering stressed sanctifying consecration, the sin offering emphasized sin’s atonement, and the trespass offering described compensatory payment.
The self-sacrifice of the Servant of Jehovah is reflected in all of these offerings.
As He offered Himself to God in obedience to His Father’s will, Jesus worshipped. By enduring the rod of affliction, Christ secured peace as judgment was administered, and righteousness satisfied.
Certainly, Jesus was holy in Himself and therefore was a proper subject to be offered. As the sin offering, the distance between God and sinners was bridged and the sin of man was covered. The work of Christ was a sufficient payment for sin’s penalty. By satisfying the principles of justice according to Divine volition, the Lord is pleased.
Second there is Divine Satisfaction because, not only has redemption been accomplished, but it is being applied. The righteous servant shall justify many, the text says. While it is true that there is a general love and grace of God for all mankind, it is equally true that there is a special love that the Lord has for those many sons and daughters He shall justify.
Not all people shall be justified and saved. We might wish it otherwise, but the Bible is plain. There is a heaven and there is a hell. There are children of God and there are children of wrath. There are vessels unto honor and there are other vessels fit for destruction. Who is on the Lord’s side?
It does no good to argue against the plain teaching of Jesus who called people to repentance, and warned them of eternal damnation. As the disciples of Christ, we have no right to explain away what the Lord taught nor do we wish to try.
The good news is that the gospel invitation goes to all the earth. There is free grace offered and many shall be justified. From every tribe and nation, from every class and culture, the Lord is calling a people unto Himself. The reports come in from all over the world that souls are being saved. He has already borne their iniquities. He has already accomplished the act of redemption. Now, He shall justify the many. He shall one day see all of those for whom He travailed for in bloody anguish and be pleased.
There can be great comfort in this thought because, as one reads church history and witnesses what happens in the religious communities, it is easy to become discouraged. There are so many human frailties and mistakes.
People say unkind things about each other, sometimes on purpose, and sometimes not.
People misunderstand and misjudge others. The problems of fallen men are real, serious, and at times without solutions.
It is at such times as these that it would be good for God’s people to see what the Lord sees, and what the Lord sees is the object of the travail of His soul. The reference of course is to the church, the elect of God, the Bride of Christ, and the redeemed of all the ages.
For the Church, Christ died. For His own people He bore their iniquities. In particular, there is the iniquity of a rebellious, fallen heart. Here is a subject matter we all would rather not talk about.
It sounds so harsh in the presence of good people. It is hard to utter a blanket condemnation and to suggest that there is much secret sin in our midst. Therefore, it is difficult to present the corruptions of the heart but, the truth of the matter is that there is much that grieves the Lord.
In a congregation of any size there are souls struggling with impure thoughts.
Some fight bitterness and anger or, worse yet, do not fight unholy impulses at all.
Others wrestle with a fiery temper, or an untamed tongue.
In the privacy of home, fights break out, unkind deeds are done. Somehow life goes on but the pressures are real and the source of all the problems is the human heart.
Nevertheless, it is difficult to state plainly the iniquities of the heart because of the reaction such preaching tends to produce. To give people wonderful and positive thoughts is personally and emotionally satisfying.
It is only when the light of the glorious gospel is brought to bear on the true nature of the heart that conflict begins because Satan does not give up his strongholds easily.
Still, pretending all is right with the soul when there is much corruption is spiritually damaging.
To describe a condition of iniquity is not mere name calling. Sometimes it is a holy diagnosis of what needs to be done.
To tell a soul that there is pride in the heart, a hostile spirit, a rebellious nature, or unholy ambition, is not name calling, but a diagnosis in order to help. The alternative of silence is more disturbing and destructive.
When I was a child living in New Orleans, Louisiana, I remember we lived in one house that had a terrible roach problem. We did not live there for long, but I can remember those ugly creatures. A person would leave a room and it would look very normal. The lights would be turned out. Then, a few minutes later, someone would go into the same room, turn on the lights, and if it was one of my sisters, scream. Ugly, terrible looking black roaches had come out of hiding in the darkness. Keep the lights on and the room was fine. Turn the lights off and there was a terrible problem.
Our hearts are like that. In the privacy of our home, in the quietness of our thoughts, there is a problem but it is hard to see.
Suddenly, the Word of God shines forth, and there is much that surprises everyone. How many would like for the Lord to flash on a screen for all to see your thoughts and comments on the last three days? It is important that all iniquity be exposed so that the Gospel message can be applied. Jesus Christ has died in order to bear the sins of those He shall justify.
When sin is spoken of in the Bible, it is not because God enjoys condemning those who come under the sound of His Word, nor is it because He does not care how people feel and how people react.
The Lord wants to be proclaimed, and the ultimate truth is that something caused the Righteous Servant to die. Something created a situation so that the Lord of Glory has to engage in a travailing experience. That something is the manifold corruption of your heart and mine.
We dare not pretend we have not transgressed in word, thought, and deed. It does no good to get angry, defensive, or self-righteous when the true statutes of the heart is exposed. There is a better way. Let us see what Jesus sees. Let us enter into His soul’s suffering, for when we do we behold One, “despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.”
The Bible tells us that Jesus was so battered and bruised that it astonished all to see Him so hurt.
His face became swollen and grotesque as healthy soldiers punched and beat Him almost senseless.
We must see Jesus wounded for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him. But we must also see spiritually, that the Father caused to meet in Jesus the iniquity of us all. In a very real sense, your sins and my sins were poured out in wrath upon Christ who was judged in our place.
The wonder of it all is that our Lord said prior to the Cross, “It will be worth it all. If I can but purchase back souls, it will be worth it all.”
On this side of the Cross, we watch the Savior’s face for a sign. He smiles and we know that His soul is satisfied. We meet to worship a satisfied Savior. His sovereign will was exercised, according to exact principles of justice. Redemption has been accomplished and is now being applied. The gospel is being preached, and the many throughout the earth are being justified. In this, the Savior is satisfied. He has no regrets that He travailed to save individuals, and we who are redeemed by the Lord’s death, are very much satisfied with our Savior.