December the 6th finds us again in the book of Isaiah chapter 53, verses 10-12:
Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.
In verses 10 and 11, we see the reason Jesus came to earth: to pay the penalty for our sins.
Verse 12 speaks to at least three prophetic fulfillments:
1. Therefore I will give Him a portion among the great, and He will divide the spoils with the strong
Roman crucifixion was a particularly painful and disgrace way to die, and it was meant to be. The victims would be stripped of their clothing and flogged and/or scourged before carrying their own cross to the site of their execution. Then they would be hung on the cross naked. It was a death primarily for criminals but it was also used as a political weapon, used to send a message. Although Jesus would die in a disgraceful way, He would receive great honors:
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
He humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place
and gave Him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)
Jesus is our Servant Messiah. By raising Him from the dead God would prolong his days (Isaiah 53:10) and enable Him to see the light of life (Isaiah 53:11). God would reward His servant as if He were a conquering king sharing in the spoils of a victory.
2. Because He poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors.
The Messiah takes a place alongside sinners, fulfilled by Christ on the cross. Matthew 27:38, Mark 15:27, Luke 23:32-33, and John 19:18 all tell us that Jesus was crucified with two criminals, one on His right and the other on His left. He promised one of the criminals hanging beside Him a place with Him in paradise. In the Gospel of Luke chapter 23 verses 39-43 we find:
One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at Him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with Me in paradise.“
It’s never too late, is it? I’d love to talk with this man in heaven.
3. For He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
The Messiah assumes the role of an intercessory high priest. This role began before the cross. In the Gospel of John chapter 17 verse 11 we find:
I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, protect them by the power of Your name, the name You gave Me, so that they may be one as We are one.
It continued on the cross. In the Gospel of Luke chapter 23 verse 34 we find:
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up His clothes by casting lots.
And, it continues in heaven. In Hebrews chapter 7 verse 25 we find:
Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them.
And in Hebrews chapter 9 verse 24 we find:
For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; He entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence.
Jesus Christ is our Savior. He willingly died for us all on the cross and now, in heaven, He prays for us and represents us before the Father. When the Father looks at us, He sees the righteousness of Jesus represented by His blood, shed on the cross.
The ornament that goes beneath the tree tonight consists of three small wooden crosses: one in the front center, one on the right, and the other on the left.