“It Pleased God to Crush Him”
The divine life within
Christ could only be
released through His
death and resurrection
In the Old Testament, Isaiah prophesied regarding the death of Christ in this way:
The LORD was pleased
To crush Him,
putting Him to grief;
If He would render Himself
as a guilt offering,
He will see His offspring,
He will prolong His days,
And the good pleasure of the LORD
will prosper in His hand.
— Isaiah 53:10
This verse contains a truly remarkable statement: It pleased God to crush Him.
Indeed, it is so remarkable that some modern versions translate it instead as, “it was the will of the LORD to crush him” (ESV; cf. RSV, NIV). Yet, the basic meaning of this word, as Strong’s says, is “pleasure, delight, to be well-pleased.” It is often used this way in the Old Testament, as when we are told that Jonathan “greatly delighted” in David (1 Sam. 19:1).
The prophet is not saying that God was pleased to see His only begotten Son suffer and die; certainly not. Still—and in terms of our own spiritual life it is very important for us to grasp this point—there was an aspect of Christ’s death that was indeed so pleasing to God, and that was the “crushing” itself.
But, why would that crushing be pleasing to God? Very simply, because it was only through His being “crushed” that the divine life that was within Christ could be released for us to receive.
The Lord Jesus told us in His own words:
“I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how I am constrained until it is accomplished!”
— Luke 12:49-50, RSV
Through the Incarnation, the divine, eternal life was concealed within the God-man, Jesus (John 1,4,14; 1 John 1:1-2). He then longed for the “fire” of His Holy Spirit, which conveys the divine life to man, to be sent forth into the earth (Matt. 1:11-12, Acts 2:1-4). Nonetheless, as a man on the earth Jesus could not impart this life into His fellow human beings. It was in this respect that He was “constrained,” that is, limited, until He passed through the “baptism” of His death, so that the divine life within Him could be released and then imparted into us by means of His resurrection (1 Pet. 1:3).
This is why He also told us:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
— John 12:24
Only by passing through such a process could “the will of the Lord prosper in His hand,” as Isaiah also tells us above. For only then could He make us the many sons of God, possessing the very life and nature of God (2 Pet. 1:4), who would ultimately be conformed to the image of Christ, the Firstborn Son (Rom. 8:29-30), by passing through the same process of death and resurrection that He went through.
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— 17 September 2022 —