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Monday, December 12, 2016

The Cross of Calvary # 2

The Cross of Calvary # 2

Moreover Isaiah not only foretold the sufferings and death of the Christ, but the very way of His burial. His grave would be with the wicked, and He Who had been despised and rejected of men, would be with the "rich in His death."

This was literally fulfilled; and the instrument prepared of God to carry out His counsels was found in "Joseph of Arimathea, a counsellor of honorable estate", who was one "looking for the kingdom of God", and said to be a secret disciple of the Lord Jesus.

Joseph had sat in the council that condemned the Righteous One, but "he had not consented to their counsel and deed". He must have marveled with the Governor at the extraordinary silence of the Divine Sufferer, and in his heart reechoed the verdict of Pilate that there was no cause worthy of death found in Him.

Unable to save the victim from His accusers, Joseph did what he could as soon as the sentence of death had been carried out, by going boldly to Pilate, and asking for the body of the Lord, afterwards reverently laying it in his own new tomb.

The Provided Lamb of God (verse 10)

"It pleased the Lord to bruise Him..."
"He hath put Him to grief ..."
"His soul a guilt-offering for sin ..."

"God will provide Himself a lamb" Abraham had said to Isaac on Mount Moriah, and Isaiah foreshows the Lamb provided by God Himself, to be revealed in the fullness of time.

Despised and rejected of men, wounded, bruised, cut off out of the land of the living, this One with the marred face is now plainly described as "a guilt-offering for sin" - the anti-type of all the guilt-offerings sacrificed day by day in Israel, by the command of God Himself.

Hitherto the worshipers had to bring the sacrifice, but when God provided the Lamb, and laid upon Him the iniquity of all, there would be nought for them to do but accept the provision made for them.

The One Who had grown up before the Father as a "tender plant" is "put to grief" by the express will of Jehovah. It was His sovereign pleasure to "bruise Him".

In this passage we see Calvary from the standpoint of the Father, Who so loved the world that He spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all; just as in the preceding paragraph we have foretold the voluntary offering of the Son, when "He humbled Himself", and gave Himself up to death, as a "lamb led to the slaughter"; a sheep in the hands of the shearers, opening not His mouth.

The Fruit of the Cross (verses 10, 11)

"He shall see His seed ..."
"He shall prolong His days ..."
"He shall see of the travail of His soul".
"He shall ... be satisfied ..."

Another aspect of the Cross is referred to in these words.

Calvary is viewed now as in harmony with a law of God - the law of sacrifice for fruitfulness.

Bruised and put to grief, the Christ is said to "prolong His days" through the seed thus brought into being and "the pleasure of the Lord" in seeking fruit after His own image, prospers in His hand.

The yearning of the Creator for fellowship with beings created after His own likeness, is  one of the greatest mysteries in the revelation of the heart and character of Jehovah. "Let us make man in Our own image, after Our likeness," the triune God had said, when the beautiful earth, created by His word, lay before Him, but with no beings upon it answering to His heart.

"He shall see His seed." "He shall see and be satisfied with the travail of His soul" reveals the same yearning in the heart of the God-man. Grieved over the fall of the first creation, He gives His life on Calvary for the birth of a new race, a re-creation of those who had gone astray, and had turned each one to "his own way." By His death "making many righteous" through His bearing of their iniquities,He beholds the fruit of His travail, and is satisfied.

This new birth for the fallen children of the first Adam, is declared to be the fruit of His Cross by the Lord Jesus Himself, at the beginning of His public ministry on earth, when He told Nicodemus that sinful men "must" be born again; and that the Son of man "must" be "lifted up" to become the source of life eternal to them.

The Victory of the Cross (verse 12)

"Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great."
"He shall divide the spoil with the strong ..."

Yet another aspect of Calvary is shown us here. Another one called the "strong" is mentioned, and the language used suggests a battle, and the dividing of the "spoil" won in the fight. Elsewhere Isaiah speaks of the "prey of the terrible" and the deliverance of the "captive of the just" from the "mighty."

It is also said that the spoil is given to the Man of sorrows "because ... was numbered with the transgressors."

Calvary was thus to be not only the bearing of our iniquities that we might be healed; the guilt-offering for sin through which we would be made righteous; the travail for the birth of a new race in the likeness of the Son of God, but also a battle with a terrible foe for the deliverance of those held captive in his power.

This accords with other Scriptures, for David in vision beheld the ascended Lord leading "captivity captive" into the sanctuary on high, and the inspired writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, says that "through death" the Christ brought to nought the devil, that He might "deliver all them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage."

It is written that He took the spoil from the strong because He was "numbered with the transgressors." In perfect obedience to His Father's will, He accepted and drank the cup of suffering and death! How can we fathom what it meant to Him "Who knew no sin", to be "numbered with the transgressors", and "made sin on our behalf?" This view of Calvary may reveal to us one cause of the victory of Christ over the terrible one. The devil had sought to be exalted even as the Most High, but the Son of God humbled Himself, and consented to be made lower than the lowest. Therefore God highly exalted Him, and gave unto Him the Name which is above every name; for Calvary in its depth of shame on earth, was exaltation in heaven.

~Jessie Penn-Lewis~

(continued with # 3)

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