August 18, 2002 Bethlehem Baptist Church
The Risen Christ - Satisfied With His Sufferings
John Piper, Pastor
(Isaiah 53:3-12) He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows
and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was
despised, and we did not esteem Him. 4 Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And
our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God,
and afflicted. 5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed
for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by
His scourging we are healed. 6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of
us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him. 7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open
His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent
before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment
He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut
off out of the land of the living For the transgression of my people, to whom
the stroke was due? 9 His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with
a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any
deceit in His mouth. 10 But the Lord was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to
grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring,
He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in
His hand. 11 As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied;
By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He
will bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the
great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself
to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin
of many, And interceded for the transgressors.
One of the great advantages of having the Old Testament and the New Testament
in one Bible is that they give support to each other. Together they strengthen
our faith that both are God’s word.
So if you are Jewish or come from a Jewish background your confidence in the
Old Testament – the Jewish Scriptures – may be strong. Yes, and
with good reason. And so when you see the amazing fulfillments of the Old Testament
in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, and his teachings, and the movement
of Christianity that he unleashes, your confidence in the New Testament is made
Or if you have never read a syllable of the Old Testament and hear the story
of Jesus Christ and his life and teaching and death and resurrection and the
movement he unleashed you may be overpowered by the truth and relevance and
credibility of Christ and believe that he really is who he says he is and become
a Christian. And then you discover that this Jesus embraces and endorses the
whole Old Testament as true and reliable Scripture (as in Matthew 5:17 when
he said, "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets;
I did not come to abolish but to fulfill."). And so your confidence in
the Old Testament grows because of the New Testament.
And so it works all through the Christian life. The better you know Jesus Christ,
the better you know the roots of his life and ministry in the Old Testament
where God was at work to prepare for the coming of his Son into history. And
the better you know the Old Testament, the better you know the meaning of Jesus
Christ and what he came to fulfill that God had been planning for so long.
So this morning I thought it would deepen our understanding and strengthen
our faith if we fixed our gaze on the resurrection of Jesus as it was described
by the prophet Isaiah 700 years before it happened. Here in Isaiah 53 we will
see the content and the confirmation of the resurrection of Christ – content
because the precious meaning of it for our lives is opened to us; and confirmation
because it was predicted 700 years before it happened.
The View of Islam
Don’t miss the significance of this in a day when the question of Islam
is much on people’s mind. I had my first serious conversation with a well-trained
Muslim about 20 years ago. I discovered for the first time that if you share
the good news of the death and resurrection of Christ with a Muslim you will
find out that Muslim’s do not believe Jesus died on the cross for sinners
and rose again but that there was a replacement on the cross, he escaped death
and later was taken to heaven. The Q’ran, sura 4:156-157 says:
. . . and for their [the Jews’] saying: "We slew the Messiah, Jesus
son of Mary, the Messenger of God" – yet they did not slay him, neither
crucified him, only a likeness of that was shown to them. Those regarding him;
they have no knowledge of him, except the following of surmise; and they slew
him not of a certainty – no indeed; God raised him up to Him; God is all-mighty,
Therefore Muslims in general believe that the central message of the New Testament
and of Biblical Christianity is built on a mistake: Christ did not die, and
Christ did not rise. Therefore the very heart of Christianity is false.
There are significant historical reasons why the Islamic reconstruction of
the life of Jesus is not true. But here’s the point in taking our text
from Isaiah 53 this morning. This chapter was not written by Christians after
Christ’s coming, trying to distort or failing to understand what really
happened on Good Friday and Easter. This chapter was written by a Jewish prophet
700 years before Christ came. And what he saw in the future was not a Messiah
who escapes death and resurrection, but a Messiah who dies – and dies
explicitly in the place of sinners – and then rises again to make intercession
for his redeemed and forgiven and justified people for ever.
So let’s go to Isaiah 53:3-12 and see the prophecy that the Servant of
the Lord (52:13; 53:11), the Messiah, would die and would rise again, and that
this death and resurrection are planned by God and necessary. And as we look
at this, keep in mind, it has to do with you here and now and for the rest of
your life and eternity. What becomes clear from this chapter and from its fulfillment
in the New Testament is that your sins can be forgiven, you can be declared
righteous before God, and you can have eternal life with the risen Christ in
The Promised Servant of the Lord Was to Die
First, let’s notice that the promised Servant of the Lord was to die
The death is made explicit in verses 8, 9, and 12. First verse 8. After verse
7 says he was led "like a lamb to the slaughter," verse 8 says that
the slaughter actually was successful: "By oppression and judgment he was
taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out
of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people?"
He was "cut off out of the land of the living." He was killed. It
was execution, not accidental.
Then verse 9 makes the death clear by referring to his burial: "And they
made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he
had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth." He died and
he was buried, and if we had time we could draw out the details of fulfillment
in the life of Jesus here in relation to where and how he was buried. But I
focus now simply on the fact that the death of God’s redeeming Servant
is predicted clearly.
One more confirmation from verse 12: "Therefore I will divide him a portion
with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured
out his soul to death."
Ten Statements of Why God Planned for His Holy Servant to Die
Now, why did he die? Ten times we are told why. I will let the words of scripture
have their own multiplying effect by just saying them to you, without comment
on each one. Ten times. Before I mention them notice verse 10, "But the
Lord was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief." This death is not
a historical accident. It is the purpose and plan of God. So as we hear these
ten statements of why he died, keep in mind: these are God’s purposes,
not human accidents. And if you will receive it, they are God’s love to
you. Here they are. Ten statements why God planned for his holy Servant to die:
1. Verse 4: "Surely our griefs He Himself bore."
2. Verse 4: " . . . And our sorrows He carried."
3. Verse 5: "But He was pierced through for our transgressions."
4. Verse 5: "He was crushed for our iniquities."
5. Verse 5: "The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him."
6. Verse 5: "And by His scourging we are healed."
7. Verse 6: "The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all."
8. Verse 8: "[He was] stricken for the transgression of my people."
9. Verse 11: "He will bear their iniquities."
10. Verse 12: "He bore the sin of many."
If you are here this morning and you have ever asked, What is the essence of
Christianity? What’s at the heart and center of it all? Here is the answer.
Let’s use the words of verse 6: All humans have gone astray. All of us
have turned to our own way. This is called sin. Turning from God and making
ourselves our own master and our own treasure.
But God was not willing to leave us in this guilty and condemned condition.
He planned from ages past to send a Suffering Servant, not mainly to model love
for us, but to bear our sins as a substitute for us. "The Lord has laid
on him the iniquity of us all."
This is the heart of Christianity.
Jesus Christ came into the world to fulfill this prophecy – yes, many
others to be sure, but this one is central and basic.
He came to die.
He came to die in our place.
He came to die for our sins.
This is our only hope. And the New Testament is all about how this happened
and how it affects our lives now and in the ages to come. I urge you to pursue
the knowledge of these things with all your heart and all your mind.
The Redeeming Servant of the Lord Was to Rise
Now what about the resurrection? Let’s look at the resurrection of the
redeeming Servant of the Lord in these words written 700 years before it happened.
At least three times Isaiah tells us that the sacrifice that the servant made
in dying results in a resurrection triumph. He does not use the word "resurrection,"
but the reality is plain.
First, verse 10b: "If He would render Himself as a guilt offering [which
he did] . . ." now three things will result: "(1) He will see His
offspring, (2) He will prolong His days, (3) And the good pleasure of the Lord
will prosper in His hand." In other words, if he dies for others as a guilt
offering – as a substitute – 1) he will live to see his offspring
– those whom he has saved by dying for them – and 2) he will live
for a long time ("prolong his days"), by implication, forever since
when death is conquered it can’t defeat you again (Romans 6:9); and 3)
God’s great purposes will triumph in his hands – he will take the
scroll of history and unroll it as the Lord of heaven and earth (Revelation
5:5). This is a picture of the Messiah who was dead and is alive and victorious
forever as the Lord of all those who receive his salvation.
Then verse 11. Again triumph comes from death. "As a result of the anguish
of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous
One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities."
Again three results from his dying for sinners: 1) He sees the fruit of his
death and is satisfied. He is not dead. He is living and satisfied. His work
is complete, and he is glad. He is alive and satisfied. 2) He justifies many
– all those who trust in him. If you trust him, you are declared just
and righteous before God. That is what "justify" means. A dead Christ
does not justify. A living Christ justifies. 3) "He will bear their iniquities."
Yes, he bore these iniquities when he died. But he goes on making intercession
and bears them forever in the sense that as long as he lives it is plain that
his death was utterly sufficient to pay for all your sins.
He is satisfied.
We are justified.
And all our sins are carried by another forever.
We will never bear them again.
Finally, verse 12. God speaks. "Therefore, I will allot Him a portion
with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because [there
is the third statement that this resurrection existence is because of his obedient
death for sinners] He poured out Himself to death." In other words, after
he pours out himself to death he lives and divides the booty with the strong
– as though his death were a great triumph in war with much booty.
He Will See It and Be Satisfied, among His Offspring
Let’s end on this note. The resurrection of Jesus did not happen for
his sake alone. It was for his sake! O yes! And we would not have it any other
way. Let him be honored for his great work of salvation on the cross! Verse
11: "He will see it and be satisfied." Christ was raised from the
dead for HIS satisfaction.
But what is the Son satisfied with? Verse 11 says, literally "He will
see [it and] be satisfied." Verse 10 says, "He will see his offspring."
I conclude that part of Jesus’ satisfaction in the resurrection is looking
out on a great assembly of people from every race and tribe and language and
nation who have trusted him and been forgiven and justified. And with tremendous
joy he walks among them now and in the ages to come – a people "great"
and "strong" (verse 12). And he divides the spoil of his triumphs
with them all. This is what he loves to do. This is his satisfaction. He delights
to save. He loves to bring people from death to life so they can enjoy his majesty
In just a moment we are going to sing two songs. One is "Crowns Him with
Many Crowns" and the other is "Victory in Jesus." One rivets
our attention on the Majesty of Christ the risen Lamb upon the throne. The other
catches us up into the victory and celebrates our salvation: "He sought
and he bought me with his own precious blood." That’s exactly the
way it should be: Exult in your salvation and make much of Christ in his majesty.
But first: Are you his? You can be. You can belong to that great and strong
people, even though you feel utterly unworthy. That is the whole point of the
death of Christ. He died in our place.
And all who trust him as the Savior and Lord and Treasure of your life will
be forgiven and justified and live forever with him.
I urge you to say "no" to all that pulls you away and say "yes"
to Jesus Christ.
Copyright 2002 John Piper
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