Sermon — Isaiah 53:12

9 Jul

He Poured Out His Soul to Death

 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.

 We come this week to the last of our messages on Isaiah 53. It has been a rich time. Next Sunday, Lord willing I will be on vacation. On May 14th, we’ll be dipping back into the Gospel of Matthew for a couple of weeks before summer. This summer, we’ll be doing a churchwide study on the book, Behold Your God. We are encouraging everyone in the church to get one of these study books and work through it during the week. We’ll have small groups through the week to discuss the book and our sermons will be based around the biblical themes of each week’s study. This will be a great tool to help you grow, so take advantage of the opportunity to grow this study will give you.

          For this morning, let’s journey back to Isaiah 53 one last time. Often, in a good movie, you’ll see an epilogue. I recently saw a movie called The African Doctor which revolved around a doctor and his family from Zaire and their life in a rural medical practice in France in the 1970’s. At the end of the movie the results of the story were explained in an epilogue. In a sense, this is what we have happening in Isaiah 53:12. We have an epilogue. This verse is set apart from the others by the word “therefore.” As a result of what we have seen in verses 1-11, we have the truths of verse 12. There are two truths in this verse that flow from the story of Jesus’ death in verses 1-11 . . . CHRIST is EXALTED and WE are BLESSED. These are the results of Christ’s saving work, it is for God’s glory and our joy. This is what God is doing in the world, and it is seen supremely in the living and dying and rising of Christ: He is working for His glory and our joy.

          So this morning, let’s look at the ways Isaiah 53:12 tells us Christ is Exalted and the ways Isaiah 53:12 tells us that we are Blessed.






Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many

Having willingly followed God’s plan, the Servant is exalted. God told us this would happen back in Isaiah 53:12 Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted. In the New Testament, Paul repeats this idea in Philippians 2:9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name. This is one of the reasons that Hebrews 12 says that Jesus could face the cross “for the joy set before Him.” He knew that the aftermath of His suffering would be exaltation. Having been lifted up on the cross to die, the risen Christ is now exalted over all. He gets the spoils of victory.

Ephesians 4:10 He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.

Hebrews 2:9 But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.

Revelation 5:6 And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying,

“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.”

11 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice,

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!”

13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying,

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

We don’t serve a weak and defeated One, we serve the exalted King of Kings! Our sense of self-worth should come from this . . . that such a glorious One set His love on us. Our sense of value should come from this . . . the Son of God has loved us and loves us still. This is our hope, this is our identity, this is our peace. The King is exalted! But God is so good that He doesn’t just exalt His Son through His suffering, He also gives through the sacrifice of His Son many benefits to His people. So let’s look this morning at the benefits we see in Isaiah 53:12 . . .


Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many

Listen to the great words of 1 Peter 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Listen to the awesome message of Ephesians 1:11 11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee[d] of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,[e] to the praise of his glory.

We have a great inheritance. Even if you have no money in the bank and no rich parent to depend upon, you have an eternal inheritance through faith in Jesus Christ. And where an economic downturn or health crisis or sudden tragedy can take away your earthly inheritance this inheritance can never perish, spoil or fade. Nothing can take it away. We need to lean into this inheritance and hope in the blessings God has promised us to get through each day.


and he shall divide the spoil with the strong

I take “the strong” here to be those who are strong in faith. Those who are faithful are promised great heavenly rewards. There is an inheritance that belongs to every believer but Jesus is also clear in the gospels that there are great further rewards to those who follow Him faithfully. This verse in Isaiah seems to signal that truth. Like a victorious general in battle sharing the benefits of victory with His officers so Jesus rewards those who are faithful.

1 Corinthians 9:24 says, 24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

And isn’t it interesting that in the very last part of the Bible we find Revelation 22:12? 12 “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.  Without the work of Christ we would be worthy of nothing but death and hell. But with Him we can live a life of faith where God can not only save us from sin but even reward us. We are not only saved from death we are given life and life more abundant.


yet he bore the sin of many

The central hub of this verse, that Christ “poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors” explains what was described in verses 1-11. The benefits of this sacrificial death is that Christ is exalted and we are blessed. We are blessed through a shared inheritance and the promise of great rewards. But we are also blessed by the forgiveness of our sins. We must always keep front and center in our minds that our sins are forgiven and that we are under no condemnation. This is vital because the ground of our hope is always in what God has done for us in Jesus and not what we have done for ourselves. We have all that we have because we have been brought from darkness to light, from death to life. We have no other hope that the sin-bearing death of Christ in our place.

But notice here also in this verse a missionary note. This little word “many.” Some think this refers to election. Not all are saved but the “many” are saved, those on whom God sets His love. I certainly think this is true, but I think in this verse the focus of the word “many” is different. Look back at the end of chapter 52. In verses 14 and 15 we read . . .

14   As many were astonished at you— his appearance was so marred, beyond

human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind—

15   so shall he sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths because of him, for that which has not been told them they see, and that which they have not heard they understand.

So the “many” here in chapter 53 probably links to the “many” in chapter 52. And the “many” there are not the elect but are “many nations,” in other words, the Gentiles. And notice it is not just the Gentiles in general but it is many nations, many different people groups. This fits the Great Commission, this fits the great passages in Revelation about many tribes, tongues, languages and nations worshiping Christ. God is a missionary God. God has a heart for every race of people all over the world. God is gathering a people from all nations to praise and glorify His name forever. Romans 11:33-36 33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” 35 “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

The final benefit Isaiah 53:12 describes for us is . . .


and makes intercession for the transgressors.

Notice several truths that emerge from this phrase. First, the word “makes” points to the idea of a present intercession. There is an ongoing ministry of the Son, even after His ascension and exaltation. It is the ministry of intercession, of prayer. The New Testament is clear about this . . .  Romans 8:34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

Hebrews 7:25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

Hebrews 9:24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.

1 John 2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

We have an advocate with the Father. Why? Because even though Jesus bore our sins, we are still transgressors. Even though we can live a life of victory through faith in Christ we will still sin. So we still need One who will plead the blood of Christ on our behalf. This is what Christ does as He in His ministry of intercession brings His sufficient blood before the Father on our behalf. He is our defender, though we are unworthy and undeserving. In His great love He stands in our place and continues to intercede for us. This means the glory of Christ is not confined to a past event or not a future that seems so far away to us but the glory of Christ is presently at work in us. So our past is covered and our future is secure and our present is one of peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

What a life! Why do we miss it? Because we take our eyes off the ball. Essential to a good golf swing is to keep your head down through the swing. Essential to contact in baseball is focus on the pitch. A pitcher can add the appearance of two to three miles an hour on his fastball just by keeping the ball concealed a bit longer before he delivers. Focused attention is key to success in sports and it is key to vitality in spiritual life as well. When you forget these things we’ve talked about today, or you disbelieve them or believe other things more, you are headed for defeat. When you are worried about houses and lands and achievements and money, you are headed for defeat. When you are focused on getting rid of your problems rather than knowing Christ and making Him known, you are destined for failure. The way to life is not sin management. The way to life is not a successful outward appearance. The way to life is to focus on who Jesus is and what He has done, is doing and will do for you and then to live your life in light of those truths. This is why Paul says, “For me, to live is Christ.” Don’t take your eye off of these truths. Let them motivate and sustain you every day. Never forget Isaiah chapter 53

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