Christ Triumphant

EXCRUCIATING DEATH

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Isaiah 53:9 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.”

Notice the language does not say “they made his grave.” It says “he made his grave.” Jesus said, “I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father (John 10:17).” Jesus was a man on a death mission to redeem mankind through his own demise.

Thomas W. Jenkyn explains the significance of Christ’s commission: “Christ voluntarily suffered death, not as the inflicted penalty of the law–because for a person of his character the law had no penalty–but, voluntarily suffering death, as an agreed arrangement, and as a received “commandment” from his Father. The result is that, the divine government has been more honored, by the obedience of such a person, than it has been dishonored by the disobedience of the offenders.”

Hebrews 2:14-15: “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”

Jesus was crucified between two thieves even though he had not done anything unlawful or deceitful. Indeed, “He was the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6).”

The Apostles’ Creed records, “He was crucified, dead and buried.” The events around the passion of Christ were providential. Ultimately, Jesus was allowed to choose his own manner of death. A quick death like a beheading would not have been suitable to demonstrate unto men and angels the terrible consequences of sin. Jesus chose the slowest and most painful (hence the term excruciating, literally (out of crucifying), gruesome, and ignominious manner of execution known to men, thus revealing his love, even for his enemies and executioners.

Yet, there were limits as to what God would allow in Christ’s humiliation. God did not permit Jesus’ corpse to be desecrated. Usually victims were left on display long after death for vultures to consume; ordinarily burial was not permitted. But Jesus was carefully buried in the tomb of a rich man, Joseph of Arimathaea, who was a disciple of Jesus.

 

THE PLEASURE OF THE LORD

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Isaiah 53:10: “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.”

This bruising of Christ actually comes from Satan, not God. The first promise in the Bible of the Savior-Messiah is found in Genesis 3:15, when God pronounces judgment on Satan through his cover the serpent: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

Satan crushed Jesus’ heel (his humanity) in the Garden of Gethsemane and upon Mt. Calvary. However, when Jesus rose from the dead, he crushed the head of the devil. Jesus dealt a fatal blow to Satan’s power and dominion.

The Heavenly Father does not take a sadistic pleasure in his Son’s humiliation. His pleasure is in the results of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice. There is a sense in which the Father takes responsibility for the bruising since he is the one that sent his Son in harm’s way.

The Commander-in-Chief sends soldiers into battle knowing that many will be killed and others wounded. He realizes that his men will have to pay a horrible price to protect freedom and bring victory. The soldier experiences grief and deprivation while in the field of battle even if he is not wounded or killed. In some sense the Commander is responsible for the sufferings of his army since he gives the orders. However, we do not blame the Commander; we blame the enemy for the death of our patriots.

Jesus’ ministry against the devil begins with 40 days and nights of fasting in the wilderness. It culminates in sweating blood in Gethsemane and his scourging and his crucifixion. One can be sure that the Father was pleased with the Son’s victory over Sin, Death, Hell and the Grave, despite the costliness of the battle. Freedom from Sin and Death was purchased by our Savior at an incalculable cost.

When Isaiah writes, “thou shall make his soul” (and his body) a sin offering, the prophet may be speaking of both Jesus and the Church. Jesus “through the eternal spirit offered himself without spot to God (Hebrews 9:14);” much like a soldier in war offers himself as a volunteer to his Commander and his countrymen knowing the dangers. However, the patriot is willing to pay any price to defend all that is dear to him.

The Church regularly presents Jesus’ sacrifice unto the Father through the Lord’s Supper. The Church (his heel) suffers with the Son as we enter into spiritual warfare and stand against sin and fight for righteousness. As we are tested and tried, we offer ourselves to the Eternal Father as a sacrifice. “As it is written, For your sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter (Romans 8:36).” We eat of his flesh; we drink of his life-giving blood.

The Lord identifies with our suffering and our slaughter as we engage the enemy. He realizes that the Army of God (the Church) will have to pay a horrible price to preserve the freedom and maintain the victory, which he purchased on the tree. “For in that he himself has suffered being tempted (tested), he is able to help them that are tempted (Hebrews 2:18).”

Isaiah foretells, “He (Jesus, as well as his body, the Church) shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.” Both the Messiah and his Church have posterity (the family of God). Jesus in his short life procured endless days for himself and his spiritual offspring because of his resurrection from the dead. It is God’s pleasure or will that “none perish but that all come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9)” and that all prosper in his grip.

“According as his divine power hath given unto us (his offspring) all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these we might be partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:2-4).”

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