Summary: We have life because the grave could not contain it’s prey. Paul told us that Christ conquered even the last enemy - death.
On Good Friday we spoke on Isaiah 53: 4-6 discussing the Universal Depravity of man and the Universal Sufficiency of Christ. Sometimes Christians find that concept hard to grasp. Dr. Barnhouse used this illustration to portray this simple truth to his congregation and I would like to share it with you.
A young man, suffering from amnesia, lived a new life amid his old surroundings; he could remember nothing that had happened before he fell off a haywagon. As he fell, observers noticed, he cried out these words, “Hand me that pitchfork and I will...”
He was eighteen when the accident occurred; ten years of his new life had passed. One day he got into a fight, and received a sharp blow that knocked him to the ground. His head struck a rock and he cried out again, this time finishing the sentence he started ten years earlier - “...spread the hay.” He rose, thinking that he was still eighteen years old, still on the haywagon.
The blow that stuck the race in Adam made all his sons unconscious of the true nature and being of God. In that unconsciousness we were born; and in that unconsciousness we live until the moment we are saved. Immediately we are made aware of the holiness of God. We go back to a comprehension of our own creaturehood and of our total dependence upon the Savior.
This morning, Easter morning, once again we will dwell on that act. An act of such sacrifice that the world will never again be the same. On Easter morning, the church around the world celebrates the culmination of that act in the Resurrection. And as we watch the sunrise, we are well aware that another age has begun. An Age of our Lord and of our Christ. An age begun and an age that will never have an end.
In our preaching through Isaiah 52:13 - 53:12 we have seen, The Surprising Appearance in Isaiah 52:13-15; The Strange Attitude in Isaiah 53:1-3; The Substitutionary Atonement in Isaiah 53:4-6. And this morning we will look at The Sacrificial Act in Isaiah 53:7-9.
Follow as I read our text from Isaiah this morning:
See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. Just as there were many who were appalled at him-- his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness--so will he sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand.
Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, 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.i