Love So High – Insights on Isaiah 53

“Your love so great, Higher than the stars, Unfailing love, Deeper than the sea…” – Hillsong UNITED, ‘Love So High’


“Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?


For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.


He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.” – Isaiah 53:1-3

And so it was. We were His enemies. We did not see anything remarkable about Him, the same way Herod mocked Him before going back to his party, the same way Pilate thought of his power certainly higher than His. He believed he was as any other convict in that he had power over His life.


Not esteemed, even despised, shunned. Those who knew Him were shaken down to the core. Helpless, routed, humiliated, they fled, or denied Him.


“Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” -Isaiah 53:4-5


There HAS to be so much more to 53:5 than the general Christian population gives it credit for. It’s so much more than just magic words to say in a prayer whenever someone is sick or recovering, it’s yet another wonderful perspective of the Living Word!


Look in a dictionary and you may see that chastisement is punishment. And yet, Christ was chastised/punished for our peace?? Consider this: Christ was wounded and bruised because of our transgressions and iniquities, and chastised, punished, that we have peace. Let’s see it again.

The chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes, we are healed.”

We like to say the second part as if it was all there was to it. If we try converting the first section to the format of the section we’re all familiar with, we have:

“By His punishment, we have peace.” Or rather, “By the punishment upon Him, we have peace, and by His stripes, we are healed.”


“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.


He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.Isaiah 53:6-7


First of all, “the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” – This was the belief before and after Christ’s finished work at the cross. 2 Corinthians 5:21 states, “…for He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us…”

Also,“He opened not His mouth.”; When exhorting about the Holy Communion, I like to say that it should be noted that there are NO verses saying, “The nails were driven through Jesus’ wrists, and He said ‘OUUUUUUUCH!'”.


Now I also see that there were also no verses where Christ said anything to the effect of, “Just you wait! I’m gonna get back at ALL of you with fire and brimstone and all the hosts of the heavens are gonna layeth the SMACKETH DOWN ON YOUR CANDY Asorry, I got carried away there.

Ahem.

As a sheep before its shearers, He was silent. Scourged. Mocked. Humiliated. Crucified. Brought to great pain in any and all ways pain could ever be felt.. and yet, graciously, powerfully… silent.


Consider verses 4-5, and you have this: He was made to be sin. The punishment was upon Him… Yet He did not open His mouth, and we have peace.


It was peace to be had before healing, before anything else. It was sin to be lost, sin to be dealt with, BEFORE peace, BEFORE healing. Sin and punishment, down to the core of our beings; Christ’s stripes, the wounds and bruises tore Him apart in ALL aspects, in order for us to have peace… and then, healing. 


We could not, in all our capacity, pay for sin. The peace bought for us was priceless. In the light of this full and complete love, be healed. 


“He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of my people He was stricken.And they made His grave with the wicked – but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth.”Isaiah 53:8-9


That first part of verse 8 threw me off a little so let’s go to the ESV: “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?”


Looking further into the related verses (which is why I love the ESV), I’m led to passages which lament how a ‘righteous man perishes’ (Isaiah 57:1), ‘the Godly One is gone’ (Psalm 12:1), and ‘the godly has perished from the earth’ (Micah 7:2). 


I chose to move on to verse 9 in the ESV: “And they made His grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death (a reference to Joseph of Arimathea, who I’ll write about briefly in another quick article), although He had done no violence, and there was no deceit in His mouth.


Going back to 2 Corinthians 5:21: He knew no sin. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in His mouth (1 Peter 2:22). He was in every respect tempted as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15). He appeared in order to take away sins, and in Him there is no sin (1 John 3:5).


The Jews or the Gentiles could have dumped His body with the other corpses; Yet when Joseph of Arimathea volunteered his new tomb and asked for His body, Pilate agreed. 


They could have stopped it. The Sanhedrin, or even Pilate himself could have stopped it. In fact, the former KNEW. They could have told Pilate what to do with the body, but they went to him only after Christ’s body was lain to rest, to have the tomb guarded and sealed. 


Both the Jews and Gentiles knew that Christ was innocent, and they had no legitimate charge against Him (Pilate certainly knew this, and washed his hands), and they knew He had no sin. 


Accused, they accused. Condemned, they condemned. The pain and consequence, the pinnacle of temporal consequence brought about by the ultimate in sin, fear and death was slammed upon Him…


“Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief.”  – Isaiah 53:10a


It is as God said in the beginning; man ate of the fruit, and He surely died. Death stung Christ. Hell seemingly had its victory over Him. Sin tore Him apart, and since sin was upon Him, and since He became sin, He took the punishment. He bore the consequences, and took the eternal punishment for sin.


(10a, ESV) “Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush Him; He has put Him to grief (He has made Him sick)”


It pleased the Lord to bruise Him. It was the will of the Lord to crush Him. We esteemed Him stricken, struck by God, and afflicted. 


At the cross, Christ took the punishment for ALL, from Creator AND Creation.


” …When You 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.

He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities. 

Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”Isaiah 53:10b-12


He was made an offering… And yet He shall prolong His days? Yet, the pleasure of the LORD shall proper in His hand? Let’s take a look at John 12:24-25. Jesus speaks:


“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it does, 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.”


Christ knew. “He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied.” 10b in the ESV states, “Out of the anguish of His soul, He shall see (light) and be satisfied.”


Through all the rough, I’m led to believe that He absolutely KNEW it was all going to be worth it. Just as He knew of His betrayal, He knew of His resurrection. He even spoke of it (“I will tear this Temple down and raise it up on the third day!”).


I see the hope and wisdom of Jesus and how, indeed, it can be perceived as foolishness. He was neither anxious or overly excited. He was, in wisdom, silent. Focused. He knew what was to come, and what was to come after. Tempted in every way, yet without sin, to the end of His body, and beyond. 


“By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities.

Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong…”

“by His knowledge shall the righteous One, my Servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and He shall bear their iniquities.

Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the many (with the great), and He shall divide the spoil with the strong (with the numerous).”

Isaiah 53:11b-12a, NKJV & ESV

Consider verse 12b: Christ poured out His soul unto death. He was counted a sinner, AND He bore the sin of many, AND He made intercession for sinners.


Because of Christ’s finished work, we have been made righteous, our sins have been taken away, Christ has won the victory, and the enemy has been defeated.

Life brought low, for love so high. In ultimate defeat, He won the greatest victory. 

Christus Victor. Christus Salvator.

“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous. Moreover the law entered that the offense may abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”Romans 5:19-21


“Your love so sure, Stronger than the mountains, Oh Your love, It’s everything to me… 

How deep, how wide, how long, how high…”

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