The Messiah in Isaiah
Isaiah 53:10 – The Messiah Crushed by the Lord
By I Gordon
Isa 53:10 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.
We looked last time at verses 7-9 of Isaiah chapter 53 and saw that it was a clear prophecy about the trial, death and burial of the Messiah. Now, if the chapter before us was about any other man then verse 9 would likely be the end of the chapter would it not? Game over... thanks for coming, next please! For anyone else, death and burial is the end of the story. Well, let me tell you that when it comes to the Messiah Jesus, death is not how the story ends! And because of that, Isaiah 53 verse 9 is not where the chapter ends. There is a whole lot more to this story that we’ll see in the remaining three verses. But one thing that is a little different in the remaining three verses is that they start to give us more of an idea what was happening behind the scenes. So far Isaiah has given us a prophetic vision about what would happen to the Messiah on earth. In the remaining three verses we will see the results of that work and we will see God’s perspective on the death of His Messiah. Now, I consider verse 10 to be a pivotal verse so we are only going to look at this one verse in this study. Hope that is fine with you! I think it is worth it... but then I’m the one writing the study so I would. Let’s have a look.
Who killed Jesus?
As mentioned previously, verse 8 of Isaiah 53 spoke of the Messiah being ‘cut off from the land of the living’. In other words, He would be killed. Verse 9 spoke of His burial saying that ‘His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death.’ So the obvious question is ‘who killed Jesus?’ Who was behind the death of Jesus? Who caused it? Who was responsible? Was it the Jews? Was it the Romans? Satan? You? A case could be made for all of them. Especially that last one! Yet behind it all was God the Father. Let’s look at the start of verse 10 again:
‘But the LORD was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief...’
Now, on the surface I think you would agree that this is one strange verse. You see right from the very first mention of the ‘Messiah Servant’ in Isaiah 42 we saw what God the Father thought of this ‘servant’ and this has never been anything but absolutely positive! In Isaiah 42:1 God said about the servant that He is ‘My chosen one in whom my soul delights.’ God the Father delighted in His Son, the servant Messiah! Jesus filled His heart with delight. On more than one occasion the gospels tell us that God just had to tell people what He thought such as in Matt 3:17 where we read ‘And behold, a voice out of the heavens said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased." God delighted in Him! He was ‘well pleased’ by Him... And yet now we read in Isaiah that God was also ‘pleased to crush him’. So why? Why would God not only crush His Son, but take pleasure in doing so? Is He sadistic or vindictive? Is He unsound? Of course not! So why take pleasure in crushing the only the one you sent... the only one who had ever lived a perfect life and performed the will of God 100%?
Good question and good to see you thinking along the right lines! The answer is that in Jesus’ death, it wasn’t just Jesus being crushed. Sin was being crushed. Satan’s power and authority was being crushed. The power of death was being crushed. The first creation and the effects of the fall were being crushed. And from God’s perspective you too were crucified and crushed with Jesus as well! That is what pleased God the Father. The plan that He had before the foundation of the world was being implemented to bring about a New Creation based on His life in mankind and that brought Him pleasure! To this end we read:
2Co 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
Gal 6:14-15 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.
Let me say it again – the pleasure that God the Father got in crushing Jesus was in what would result from that event – the whole new creation! Rest assured that God never crushes His own without a purpose of eventual blessing and for new life to come forth. Not Jesus and not you! And you would do well to read those last two sentences two more times!
The biggest IF in the Bible
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.
Moving on to the next part of the verse we come to the biggest ‘if’ in all of scripture. The scripture says that ‘if’ Jesus would give Himself up as an offering then certain things would happen. In the entire history of ‘ifs’ that this world has seen, none are more important that this one! None have ever had so much relying on one act being carried out... and never has so much rested upon one man. We need to realise that God’s entire plan rested in the total obedience of His Son. That is what makes that a HUGE ‘if’... If He failed there was no plan b. If He failed there was no one else to take up the cause. There was no one else that would, or even could, put up their hand and say ‘Yeah, I’ll have a go at that mission!’ There was no other saviour. It all rested upon Jesus. Let me illustrate the importance of this ‘if’ through the use of a well loved story in the Old Testament that also contains a very important (though lessor) ‘if’. The story could possibly be the most well loved story amongst little boys in Sunday school – David and Goliath. I trust you know the story so let’s just focus on a few verses that illustrate this point.
1 Sam 17:8-11 ‘Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.” Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the ranks of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.” On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.’
Now, I’m sure you agree that this is one strange
fight. The Philistines and Israelites were all lined up yet they weren’t going
to fight for each side had to pick one representative that would fight on
behalf of the entire nation! In the red corner was Goliath... 9 ft 9 and over
250kg. In the blue corner, weighing an impressive 50 kg (when dripping wet) and
standing an imposing 5 foot nothing was young David.
And here is what was on the line... IF Goliath won, all the Israelites were to
be slaves of the Philistines. But IF David won then the Philistines would have
to serve the Israelites. Each side had one representative and everything
depended on that one person! Now I’m sure you grasp the picture here for it
foreshadows Jesus, the Son of David, who would go into battle as our sole
representative. If Jesus won the battle by being a sinless sacrifice at the cross,
then all those who place their faith in Him win as well. But if He sinned or
was tempted to choose a different path, then the enemy has won and all is
I have come to do your will O God
Thankfully, from the day Jesus came into the world to the day he departed, He was completely focused on why He came to this earth. And that is to live according to the will of God and to die according to the will of God. Jesus was born to die! Let’s look at a couple of passages that show this.
Heb 10:5-7 Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: "Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, 'Here I am - it is written about me in the scroll. I have come to do your will, O God.' "
God took no pleasure in the Old Testament sacrifices which at best could only temporarily cover sins. They could not take sins away. But, as we have seen in the book of Isaiah, what did please God was Jesus the servant who would live for God’s will completely. Jesus knew that the only thing that would please the Father would be for sin to be dealt with once and for all. So a temporal physical body was prepared for the eternal invisible Son of God so that He could offer up that body as the final and complete offering for sin. That is what Jesus meant when He said above ‘I have come to do your will O God.’ He knew that meant the cross. Do not ever underestimate the extreme difficulty of that statement. The next passage, spoken just days before going to the cross, expresses the anguish that Jesus felt as He contemplated all that He must accomplish.
John 12:23-28 But Jesus answered them, saying, "The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor. "Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name." Then a voice came from heaven, saying, "I have both glorified it and will glorify it again."
As Jesus contemplated the cross His soul became troubled and the temptation was there to ask the Father to save Him from it. Yet, Jesus knew why He had come to this earth saying ‘but for this purpose I came to this hour’. In other words, this was it... this is why He came. Jesus knew that He was born to die and that ultimate victory would only be achieved ‘IF’ He followed the will of God wholeheartedly. Yet the Father’s will would lead to rejection, humiliation, and the worst type of death thought up by mankind – crucifixion.
Light at the end of the tunnel
Isaiah’s prophecy though tells us that if
Jesus would render Himself as a guilt offering by going
to the cross, three things would happen –
Who was responsible for the death of Jesus Christ? While there are many candidates in that ‘whodunit’ ultimately it was God’s will that His precious Messiah be crushed for the sin of the world. In the next study we shall look at the heart of Jesus and exactly what it was that drove Him on to the cross. But for now, it is appropriate to consider our response to what He has done. I will leave you to contemplate this response which the apostle Paul has said is our acceptable service given what Jesus has done for us. There is only one who can be the true sacrifice, but there are many who can, in response, be living sacrifices.
Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. (2) Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-- his good, pleasing and perfect will.
 Maybe we can blame in on the Jews? It was their leaders that wanted Him killed and it was the Jewish people of the time that chose Barabbas to be freed and Jesus to be crucified saying ‘Let his blood be on our hands and on our children’. Not the wisest thing to say! So clearly it was the Jews the killed Jesus, right? Well, wait just a little while there before casting your vote... The Jews at the time had no power to put someone to death. That was the authority of the Romans. And Pilate, though he could find no reason why Jesus should be crucified (and even tried to absolve himself of any responsibility by washing his hands of the incident) still gave the a-ok to proceed with the crucifixion. And he did that even after God warned his wife in a dream not to have anything to do with Jesus because He was innocent! As the Believers Bible commentary says ‘water will never absolve Pilate's guilt in history's gravest miscarriage of justice.’ And yet, maybe we should go further, for the powers of darkness also wanted the Son of God killed and removed from the scene. Behind the wicked schemes of men were the even more thoroughly evil schemes of Satan. So maybe we should blame him? Well, unlike the game of cluedo, it is fair to say that this death may be the result of many parties and to be honest we are still only scratching the surface as to who was responsible. The fullest answer lies in verse Isaiah 53:10 itself as we shall see.
 That last statement is a most important one for the Christian to grasp. We may not feel like a new creation because at this time the New Creation is housed in a body that is very much of the old creation! But one day that will all change. That which is hidden shall be unveiled! “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Col 3:2-3)
 Jesus is the ‘Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.’ (Rev 13:8) For this reason, Peter could preach on the day of Pentecost that Jesus died according to God’s set purpose. If there was any verse in the New Testament that accurately sums up what Isaiah 53:10 is saying it is this passage from the book of Acts:
Act 2:22-24 Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.
 Ok, you got me... I don’t know David’s height and weight at the time of fighting Goliath but we do know that David was called a ‘youth’ which is likely to have been around 13 or 14 years old (1 Sam 17:33). But what amazing faith!
 On the paradoxes of this great passage as a whole, Moody comments:
‘Despised, yet accepted and adored. Poor, yet rich. To die, yet to live. The Rabbis said there must be a double Messiah to fulfil this chapter.’
 C.S Lewis pictures this well when, after Aslan has been killed on the stone table, he is seen again by Susan and Lucy!
does it all mean?” asked Susan when they were somewhat calmer.
“It means,” said Aslan, “that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of Time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who has committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards.
 Thus, when John sees Jesus in his revelation, Jesus could say: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.