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Heb. iv, 15. In Matt, viii, 17, our prophet's words are quoted and said to be fulfilled in Jesus' casting out demons and healing all that were sick; and there we have the peculiar reading* "Himself look our infirmities and bore our sicknesses." Let us beware bow we dilute these words. Iu working his miracles of mercy there went out a conscious power from the Lord. Mark v, 30. When he stood face to face with the miseries of mortality, he sighed, (Mark vii, 34,) and at the grave of Lazarus his spirit surged with mingled grief and ire, John xi, 33,38. His soul was intensely
sensitive, and capable of sorrow, even unto death. Matt, xxvi, 38. He entered into the keenest emotion under a sense of other's woes, and he saw in all the forms of sickness so many various ebullitions of sin working wrath and death in human nature.- And so healing of the sick was a part of his redeeming and mediating work. In all his miracles of mercy to the sick and the maimed and the blind he literally lifted their diseases, lifted them up and bore them away. At times, at least, it made him sick to do it, (verse 10;) ^nd the culmination of all his anguish was in Gethsemane and on the cross. We are to think of him as consciously entering into and grasping a thousand forms of human woe in order to lift and bear away the fearful load. But while the suffering Christ bore all this load, Israel strangely misunderstood him. They looked upon him as they would look upon a leper, and supposed that he suffered under some fearful judgment-stroke of the Almighty. And there was a partial truth in this opinion. He was smitten of God, as verse 5 goes on to show, but.not in the sense that Israel imagined. Not for his own sins was he smitten, but he teas pierced for our transgressions, crushed down for our sins. Here the prophet utters his profoundest oracle, and we are furnished with the most explicit statement of the Messiah's vicarious suffering. The vivid picture may have been helped by the prophet's knowledge of David's crucial psalm. Psa. xxii; comp., especially, verse 16. It would. almost seem that he descried afar the crushing violence of the assembly of the wicked that hurried the Christ away to the spot where they pierced his hands and feet and side. But the piercing and the crushing have also a profounder meaning. They are to be understood of all the bitter and unspeakable agonies of the
passion hour. So, too, the words that follow. His suffering are presented as the scourging pf a chastisement by which our peace with God is secured. Such chastisement was visited upon him; inflicted with many stripes, (comp. Matt, xxvii, 26; John xix, 1; Luke xxiii, 16,) and so he has become our peace. Eph. ii, 14-17. O blessed stripes, by which there comes divine healing to the sin-sick soul!
The sinner's waywardness and folly are well compared to the perverse wanderings of a silly sheep, (verse 6,) and here the prophet seems to look beyond any one race, or people, and utters words of universal application: ALL WE like, sheep. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God, and there is imperative need that redemption be provided for all, without exception. And now comes that pregnant and profound expression, Jehovah mediated in him the sin of all of us. See on this the critical notes above. In him, in the living, spotless soul of Jesus, Jehovah caused to meet and strike with fearful violence the sin and guiltiness of a wicked world. What language can picture, what thinking spirit comprehend, the awful throes of that mediation! lie who knew no sin by any personal transgression in thought, word, or deed, and who never made the slightest deflection from perfect righteousness, took upon himself onr nature, and felt the violence of all our woes. As Elisha "stretched himself upon the child, and put his mouth upon his month, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands," (2 Kings iv, 34,) so the Incarnate Word put himself in closest possible contact with all that is hmr.an; but, unlike Elisha, who felt not the agony of the child's death, the Lord Jesus seized (wXaupdva, fleb. ii, 16) gnilty humanity with such a grasp that all its sinfulness and sorrow, like a baleful electric shock, sent nameless pan<*s of horror and amazement (Mark xiv, 33) through his soul, and prompted on the cross the bitter cry, "My God, my God, whv hast thou forsaken me!"
Verse 7 informs us how Jehovah's servant demeaned himself under his sore oppression and trial. Twice over we are told with emphasis, he opened not his mouth. He made no struggle to resist his oppressors, though conscious of a power to call in the aid of twelve legions of angels. Matt, xxvi, 53. His inoffensive silence is touchingly set forth by the double simile of the sheep and the ewe. One has but to read the mockery and contemptuous treatment Jesus quietly received at the hands of the Jews, Herod, Pilate, and the soldiers, until he sank down under the weight of his cross, to have a most lively illustration of the several statements of this verse. Com pare, especially. Matt, xxvii, 29-44; Luke xxiii, 11; Heb. xii, 3; 1 Pet. ii, 23.
Verse 8. Having now given the vivid picture of Messiah's sufferings and his meekness under them all, the prophet passes to speak of "the glory that shall follow." 1 Pet. i, 11. But with all his triumph and glory there is constantly associated the memory of his sore travail and sacrificial death. That thought finds expression in every succeeding verse. First, the seer seems to see him snatched away' from the suffering and judgment which he had portrayed. He is lifted up on the cross, and thence to paradise, and afterward to the throne of God, by his resurrection and ascension. But what most affects the seer is the thought that the generation which should see the Messiah cut off (compare Dan. ix, 26) would not understand, nor be able to tell that he was cut off from the land of the living, not for himself, but for the transgression of Israel. As Balaam's vision penetrated the far future, and caused him in view of wonders to come to exclaim, " Alas, who shall live when God doeth this!" (Num. xxiv, 23,) so our prophet, but with deeper pathos, cries out, partly by question, partly by exclamation, "Who in Messiah's day will tell that he was cut off and made a curse tor Israel's sin!" The phrase, a. curse for them, is another pregnant expression peculiar to Isaiah, and sums up in itself all that has been said before of the vicarious nature of Messiah's sufferings. The land of life, or land of the living, is the earth, where dwell all in whom is "the breath of life." Gen. ii, 7. It is thus distinguished from Sheol. or Hades, the dwelling of the dead.
Verse 9. But while the personal and conscious spirit of Messiah is taken away from suffering and from judgment, God still permits his lifeless body to be left, in the eyes of the world, exposed to all the indignities to which crucified criminals were liable. Such were usually cast aside without the rites of decent burial, and left to be devoured by dogs and andean birds. The Providence, however, that suffered not a bone of Jesus to be broken, caused his body to be given to a rich man, and deposited, during the period of his death, iu a sepulcher hewn in the rock. Matt, xxvii, 57-60. Nevertheless, the death of Jesus pnd the disposal of his body would ever be associated with a malefactor's end. He was numbered with transgressors, (verse 12,) and the nnjust Pilate and his soldiers had the- control and disposition of his burial, and only by the Roman governor's consent could Joseph of Arimathea take the body away. All this was a part of the humiliation * and indignity heaped Upon one who was guilty of no violence or wrong. Compare 1 Pet. ii, 22. The rich man's obtaining the body from Pilate is not to be pressed as a triumph, and set forth as a deliverance of Jesus from the unjust; but only as a noticeable incident in connection with his death.
Verse 10. And now comes the wonderful announcement that Jehovah was pleased to crush him down like this. It was no accident; nor were Messiah's sorrows, and painful knowledge of the sicknesses of humanity, and the taking of them on himself, (verses 3, 4,) a penalty or consequence of his own sin, but God made him sick. He subjected him to all the humiliation that has been portrayed above, and such was his pleasure. For "thus it behooved Christ to suffer." Luke xxiv,-26, 46; Acts xvii, 3. There was a divine necessity that called for the sacrifice, and the sufferer was not an unwilling victim, but freely "bared his soul to death." Verse 12. And God set him forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, (Rom. iii, 25,) to manifest his glory, and wisdom, and power, and to bring many sons unto glory. Heb. ii, 10. In every.stage and aspect of this atoning work the Eternal Father might well smile, and say, as when Jesus submitted himself to be identified with sinners in the baptism of repentance, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
Rising now in his emotion, the prophet addresses Jehovah, and, with an inspiration and revelation like that which once lifted Simon Peter beyond himself, (Matt, xvi, 17,) he says, Jf tJtou set forth his soul (that is, Messiah's soul) an offering for sin, he (Messiah) shall see seed, (that is, posterity.) If the All-wise Jehovah make his servant's Soul a trespass-offering, (□»«,) what immeasurable results are likely to follow! Such expiatory sacrifice will doubtless insure the noblest gain's, else would not the Omniscient make it. To see a numerous and powerful posterity was among the highest hopes of the pious Israelite, (compare Gen. xvii, 5, 6; 1, 23; Job xlii, 16; Psalm cxxvii, 3-5; cxxviii, 6;) and the thought is.here used as peculiarly fitted to impress upon the Israelitish mind an ideal of Messiah's • after glory. In his spiritual seed would he fulfilled in its grandest form the ancient promise to Abraham, (Gen. xii, 3; xv, 5 ;) for the justified by faith are the true sons of Abraham, and also sons of him whose day of glory Abraham rejoiced to Bee. John viiij 39,.56; Rom. ii, 28, 29. Iu the next sentence we meet a kindred thought, he shall prolong his days. In a higher and grander sense than worldlings think, the-Messiah has " the power of an endless life." Heb. vii, 16. Length of days in the temporal sense (Exod. xx, 12; Deut. iv, 40; Prov. iii, 2) was not for him who was cut off for Israel's transgression, (verse 8;) but by his voluntary sacrifice of himself, and obedience even unto the death of the cross, he obtained the keys of death and Hades, and is alive for evermore. Rev. i, 18. And so he attains "an unchangeable priesthood," (Heb. vii, 24, 25; compare Psalm xxi, 4;) and abides "the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever." Heb. xiii, 8. And also, having risen to the right hand of God, (Psalm cx, 1,) "he must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet." 1 Cor. xv, 25. In view of all this it is absolutely certain that the pleasure of Jehovah, his desire and purpose in the whole plan of redemption, in his hand (his servant's hand) shall prosper and prevail. Jehovah was pleased to crush his servant down, (verse 10,) not because he delighted in his or any one's sufferings, but because it was only by his stripes that the leprosy of sin could be healed, (yerse 5,) and those results reached in which Jehovah has everlasting delight.
Verse 11. And yet in another form will the rapt prophet set forth the glorious outcome of Messiah's toil. Of the laborious travail of his soul shall he see; that excruciating labor, previously described, shall yield rich harvests to his eye, such as will abundantly satisfy him. He will see that the " much fruit" resulting from the dying grain is ample recompense for all the sacrifice. John xii, 24, 32. And with this thought he returns to that of the divine wisdom with which he began his lofty strain, (lii, 13;) and as the vision glows before him, and he ia