Desert Hills Bible Church | Crushed, Stricken, Victorious

Crushed, Stricken, Victorious

Trusting others presents massive challenges in our fallen world. Everyone has been corrupted by sin, and therefore fails to be fully faithful or trustworthy. As Proverbs 20:6 says, “Many a man proclaims his own loyalty, but who can find a trustworthy man?”

While humans prove to be both distrustful and untrustworthy, God presents Himself as the One we can supremely trust for everything in this life and beyond the grave. We see an intentional emphasis in Scripture on the trustworthiness of God, but Scripture does not command us to have a blind faith. The Lord instructs us to trust Him, and then He demonstrates He is worthy of our trust. God never speaks, then fails to act. He always proves Himself faithful. 

Despite this truth, we often struggle to trust God, which manifests itself when we give in to sin in times of various trials and temptations. So how do we grow our trust of our Lord and His power over our sin? 

We find a helpful answer to this question in Isaiah 53. Here, God reveals His Suffering Servant, the Lord Jesus as eminently trustworthy. Whether we suffer because of trials or temptations, Jesus can be trusted to see us through and bring God’s covenant promises to fruition. 

There are four ways Isaiah shows Jesus’ trustworthiness in this passage.

First, Jesus humbled Himself when we were proud.

At the start of this chapter, Isaiah laments Israel’s unbelief. Just before, in Isaiah 52, we learn that the Gentiles would marvel at the exalted Servant. Yet when the scene flips to Isaiah 53, regardless of the magnificent salvific promises of the previous passage, we observe the ongoing disbelief of people who have had a front-row seat to God’s work. What makes God’s promises so difficult to trust? Isaiah answers by showing us the Servant’s humility alongside the pride of sinners who reject God’s word. 

Isaiah gives a description of the Servant’s humility, using agricultural pictures to convey Jesus’ outward appearance as useless and unfruitful. The Servant came in the humblest of ways, and His circumstances and appearance made Him look dispensable. People would have contempt for God’s Messiah and suffering Servant.

Thus, we see both the humiliation of the Servant and the pride of man. God in human flesh descends to us, and we despise Him because He does not meet our ideals. God, however, sees us in our pride, knows how we will respond, and still comes to save us from sin. 

Jesus proves Himself trustworthy in His willing humiliation for prideful sinners. Isaiah includes himself in those who thought little of the Servant, saying, “We did not esteem Him.” We must include ourselves in that we. Apart from God’s grace, we rejected Him. Christ, though, condescended to save us, showing He is trustworthy. 

Second, Jesus was faithful when we were not.

Isaiah paints a rather ugly picture of us. The Servant was carrying our griefs and sorrows, but we saw His suffering and said, “God has rightly stricken Him for His sins.” We were unfaithful hypocrites, thinking we stood blameless before God’s law as we cast condemnation on His very own Christ! 

The reality is Jesus was pierced and crushed for our transgressions, our iniquities, and our acts of ungodliness! He took the punishment we deserved so we might have peace, wholeness, and well-being. He healed us of our sins by enduring the scourging. We thought we could condemn God’s Servant, but we were actually under God’s curse. 

This, though, was God’s purpose and plan, according to Isaiah. That plan involved Christ suffering and dying for us. God Himself caused our unrighteousness, sins, and disobedience to fall on Jesus. God imputed our sins to Jesus on the cross. Jesus stood in our place, took our sins and the wrath of God, and bore our punishment so we could have shalom with God.

The irony here is stark. The prophet says we looked at Jesus and thought, “God punished Him because of His sin,” but God did this to Him because of our sin. Jesus faithfully submitted so we could be forgiven, stand righteous before God, and be made whole again. Jesus’ faithfulness, even while we were faithless and lost, inspires confidence and trust in Him.

Third, Jesus submitted to death when we deserved it.

Verses 7-9 are remarkable in portraying our Savior’s substitutionary death on the cross.

Jesus was treated with contempt, but He was silent like a sheep before shearers.  He suffered horrifically, received no justice, was humiliated, and died childless, a sure sign to that culture that God’s displeasure rested upon Him. His separation from sinners, even though He identified with them, was made clear in His burial.

Isaiah then inserts the phrase, to whom the stroke was due, referring to the utter condemnation God brings down upon sinners. This is another reminder of Jesus’ faithfulness. We should have suffered the wrath of God, but Jesus absorbed the condemnation we deserved.

Think about the ways we are tempted not to trust Jesus, Christian. Jesus took our place and bore in His own body our sins, sorrows, griefs, and condemnation; and He went to this extreme to bring us peace, to free us from the guilt of sin, and to save us from eternal punishment. The question is never, “Is Jesus going to provide everything we need to live before Him and attain salvation on the last day?” The question is always, “Do we trust Him?” He died for us when we deserved death. We have every reason to trust Him. 

Finally, Jesus gained the victory over sin when we were the transgressors.

The resounding theme of verses 10-12 is the Suffering Servant, though crushed and stricken, was ultimately victorious. 

We see Jesus’ victory over sin in His resurrection in verse 10. The Lord was pleased with the Servant’s suffering because Christ’s death was an offering to remove our guilt.

God was pleased because the cross was not the Servant’s end. Through His death, Jesus was fruitful, and the things that please God would flourish through Christ’s work. He would live forever, even though He died a horrific death. 

Jesus’ victory over sin is assured in His success in justifying sinners. The result of Jesus’ anguish would be satisfaction for Him, and justification for us who trust in Him. Jesus was victorious over sin, not in some abstract sense, but in the very real sense that our sins are forgiven, cast into the depths of the sea, as far as the east is from the west; and we are now one with the Righteous One, so that His righteousness has become ours. 

We also see Christ’s victory in His exaltation. He, who appeared to be nothing more than a cast off, was the mighty warrior who leads the conquerors in celebration over their enemies. Why? Because He bore our sin and interceded for us, the transgressors, which is the strongest word Isaiah could have used to picture someone’s wickedness.

Jesus showed Himself trustworthy by gaining the victory over sin when we were the transgressors. Through His resurrection, justifying work, and exaltation, Christ is worthy of our trust and confidence. When the apostle Peter read Isaiah 53 and saw what Jesus had done for His people, his response was to see Jesus’ suffering as a model of His faithfulness, so that no matter what we are experiencing or facing, we can trust ourselves to Him. 

  1. Desert Hills Bible Church | Crushed, Stricken, Victorious

    Bob Lehman

    Excellent, inspiring article Robb! Very timely as we approach and reflect on Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday.

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