After the anguish 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.
I. OUR LORD'S SATISFACTION IN THE PERSONAL RESULTS OF HIS WORK. He has, through it, the "Name which is above every name;" and the power which he can use for larger blessings, "giving repentance to Israel, and remission of sins."
II. OUR LORD'S SATISFACTION IN THE RESULTS OF HIS WORK IN ITS RELATION TO GOD. To see the lest, prodigal sons and daughters of God turning yearning eyes homewards, and saying "Abba, Father!" must be satisfaction indeed to him who came that, in his sonship, he might honour the Father.
III. OUR LORD'S SATISFACTION IN THE DIRECT RESULTS OF HIS WORK FOR MEN. He came to save. He rejoices in every saved one: every "brand plucked from the burning."
IV. OUR LORD'S SATISFACTION IN THE INDIRECT RESULTS OF HIS WORK FOR MAN. To save a man from sin is to raise and ennoble a life, to give new tone to a family, to purify all the relationships of society, and to redeem a nation, and to save the world. Illustrate from what Christianity has done and is doing. But Christianity is an abstraction. The real blessing of humanity is the thousandfold varied influence of the men and women whom Christ has saved from wrath and sin. He has present satisfaction in a heaven full of white-robed saints, in a Church striving to keep its white garments unspotted from the world; and in the expectation of the time when the "creature also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God." - R.T.
I. THE ASPECT IN WHICH THAT WORK IS HERE REPRESENTED BY WHICH OUR SAVIOUR ACCOMPLISHED HIS GREAT UNDERTAKING. The sufferings of Christ were —
I. There must have been a sublime satisfaction in KNOWING THAT THE SUFFERING WAS ON BEHALF OF OTHERS; and that, however unworthy they might be of such entire devotion, they would through it be relieved of a burden which would have crushed them.
He shall see of the travail of His soul.1. The word translated "travail" has not the special force which the English reader might infer from it; it is a word of much more general use, of much less intensity and much greater variety in the notion of sorrow which it conveys. It is used some sixty times in the Old Testament and means trouble of any, kind, as in the following passages: "Man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward." "God made me forget all my toil." "If by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow." In all these cases the same word is used as in the text. It denotes strong effort, attended with pain and grief.
2. Again, the clause is usually supposed to mean that the glorious results which would follow, would be so glorious, that when beheld, the Messiah should look on them and be satisfied. This is a truth; but it is one developed by necessary inference from the text. The clearer and more exact rendering would be, "He shall look out from his sorrow, and be satisfied:" not only satisfied with the results of the sorrow, as if amply rewarded by them; but satisfied in the sufferings, in the fact of having undertaken them, because of the grand reason which was ever present to His view. Even in the midst of the sorrow He could look out above and beyond it. Thus we see in this text a most helpful and gladdening light on those aspects of the atoning work which are set forth in this chapter: we are taught not only that Christ would be satisfied when the outcome of His work was complete, but that He was satisfied with his errand on earth while in the very depths of His sorrow and care. At the same time, this view of the text does not exclude the more usual one. So far from that it intensifies it. For if there was satisfaction even at the very hour of the suffering, much greater must be the joy when the suffering is past and the glory secured.
(C. Clemance, D. D.)
II. There must have been a satisfaction in ASSERTING THE RIGHTEOUSNESS AND LOVE OF THE SUPREME GOVERNOR. In the work of the Lord Jesus Christ "righteousness and peace kissed each other."
III. The Messiah would experience an intense satisfaction at THE PROSPECT OF THE NEW NAME WHICH HE WOULD ACQUIRE, EVEN THAT OF "SAVIOUR."
IV. THE MESSIAH BEHELD FROM AFAR MEN WHO ONCE WERE REBELS, STANDING BY HIS SIDE, AS SONS AND HEIRS OF GOD: and this satisfied Him.
V. OUR SAVIOUR FORESAW THE CLOSE UNION BETWEEN THE SAVED AND HIMSELF, and was satisfied. He knew that after He had died for them, He should live in them, and that there would be such an outgoing of life from Him to them, as to form out of the human race men of finer mould and of higher character than, apart from Himself, would ever have been possible.
VI. The Messiah was satisfied in BEHOLDING FROM AFAR THE RELATION OF SAVED MEN TO EACH OTHER. He saw the Church "perfect in One," its discords hushed, its sounds all attuned to perfect harmony. He beheld the believers sharing His glory, all with Him, seated with Him on His throne.
(C. Clemance, D. D.)
1. Expiatory and piacular.
3. Most intense and awful.The travail of His soul. He had a spirit unequalled for sensibility and affection, and keenness of feeling. To form a just conception of His sorrow, we must unite the ideas of compassion for the grief of the distressed, and horror at what was cruel and unjust; of indignation at the oppressor, and pity for the oppressed; of a wish to deliver the guilty, and an abhorrence of their sin. We must connect all the iniquity which He witnessed, and all the knowledge He had of the human heart. We must think of all the wickedness, the hardness of heart, the unbelief of man. We know nothing of the nature of this sacrifice; but this we know, that it was an act of amazing energy, of strenuous labour. It was not submission merely; it was a direct and positive consecration of His whole being; as if He would place Himself on the altar, and become Himself the sacrificing Priest.
II. THE SUBLIME AND HEAVENLY SATISFACTION ARISING TO THE REDEEMER IN CONTEMPLATING THE EFFECT OF HIS SUFFERINGS.
1. It is the pleasure arising from the expectation of success.
2. It is the pleasure of the most pure and exalted benevolence.
3. It is such satisfaction as springs from the great importance and difficulty of the event brought to an accomplishment.
4. It is satisfaction arising from the peculiar relation of His character and work, to the event itself, and all its consequences.
III. THE CERTAINTY THAT THIS SALVATION SHALL BE FINALLY REALIZED.
1. The sufferings of Christ are assumed as the basis of this assurance, and lead us to observe the natural and inherent attraction of this doctrine. But this certainty arises —
2. From the tendency of the Gospel to an unlimited and ceaseless diffusion.
3. From its conferring, wherever it is embraced, the greatest temporal advantages in connection with its spiritual benefits.
4. From its amazing progress.
5. From the promises of final success, and the encouraging appearances in the circumstances of the Church in the present day.
(R. S. McAll, M. A.)
1. Contemplate the character of that purpose, in reference to its objects as manifesting the benevolence of God.
2. The wisdom of God.
3. The holiness of God.
II. THE INDISSOLUBLE CONNECTION THAT SUBSISTS BETWEEN THOSE SUFFERINGS AND THE REDEEMER'S SUBSEQUENT TRIUMPHS.
1. The character of the triumphs of Christianity on earth.
2. The certainty of those triumphs.
3. Their extent.
(J. W. Etheridge.)I. WHEREIN THIS SOUL-SUFFERING DID NOT CONSIST.
1. We are not to suppose any actual separation betwixt His Godhead and His manhood.
2. There was no sinful fretting, no impatience, nor carnal anxiety in our Lord.
3. There was not in him any distrust of God's love, nor any unbelief of His approbation before God, neither the least diffidence as to the result.
4. Neither are we to conceive that there was any inward confusion, challenge or gnawing of conscience in Him, such as is in desperate sinners, cast under the wrath of God, because there was no inward cause of it, nor anything that could breed it.
II. WHEREIN IT DID CONSIST.
1. It consisted in the Godhead s suspending its comfortable influence for a time from the human nature. Though our Lord had no culpable anxiety, yet He had a sinless fear, considering Him as man. The infinite God was angry, and executing angrily the sentence of the law against Him.
2. He had an inexpressible sense of grief, not only from the outward afflictions that He was under, but also from the current of the wrath flowing in on His soul.
3. It consisted in a sort of wonderful horror which the marching up of so many mighty squadrons of the highly provoked wrath of God, making so furious an assault on His innocent human nature, was necessarily attended with.
(J. Durham.)I. CHRIST'S TRVAIL OF SOUL IN THE WORK OF OUR REDEMPTION.
II. THE CERTAINTY OF SUCCESS. "He shall see."
III. HIS CONTENTMENT THEREIN. "He shall be satisfied." He counts the salvation of lost sinners to be satisfaction enough for all His pains.
( T. Manton, D.D.)
( T. Manton, D.D.)
I. EVIDENCES OF IT.
1. Christ pleased and entertained Himself in the thought of it before the world was (Proverbs 8:31).
2. This was the end and aim of His coming into the world; and it is pleasant when a man hath attained his end, especially if it be greatly desired and much laboured for. For delight is according to the degree of the desire and labour.
3. Now, in heaven it is His rejoicing to see the work thrive.
4. When He shall come from heaven to judge the world, with what triumph and rejoicing will He come, when He shall deliver up the kingdom to the Father!
II. THE REASONS OF IT. His love was the cause of all — His love to the Father, and His love to the saints.
( T. Manton, D.D.)
I. THE TRAVAIL OF CHRIST'S SOUL. He suffered because of His quick sympathy with the anguish that sin had brought to man. He probably saw, as we cannot, the timid oppressed by the strong; the helpless victim pursued by rapacity and passion. He heard the wall of the world s sorrow, in which cries of little children, the shriek or moan of womanhood, and the deep bass of strong men wrestling with the encircling serpent-folds, mingle in one terrible medley. He sighed over the deaf and dumb, had compassion on the leper, wept at the grave. As the thorn-brake to bare feet, so must this world have been to His compassionate heart. He must also have suffered keenly by the rejection of those whom He would have gathered, as a hen gathers her chickens under her wing, but they would not. But these elements of pain are not to be compared with that more awful sorrow which He experienced as the substitute and sacrifice of human guilt. It could not be otherwise. He could not have loved us perfectly without becoming one with us in the dark heritage of our first parent. Dost thou love Christ? The first duty He will lay on thee will be love to others. And if thou dost truly love, thou too shalt find thy meed of soul-travail.
II. THE CERTAINTY OF INFINITE COMPENSATION. "He shall see." It is impossible to suffer voluntarily for others, and not in some way benefit them. Thy pain may sometimes seem abortive — the mighty throes that rend thee for the souls of others appear in vain; but it is not really so. Drop by drop thy tears shall presently turn the scale. Patience shall have her perfect work. The laws of the harvest in this sphere are as certain in their operation as in that of nature.
III. THE NATURE OF CHRIST'S COMPENSATION. It will come —
1. In the glory that shall accrue to the Father.
2. In the redemption of untold myriads. Great as the harvest of sin has been, we believe that the saved shall vastly outnumber the lost. Nothing less will satisfy Christ. Remember that in the first age, before mention is made of the latter triumphs of the Gospel, John beheld in heaven a multitude which no man could number.
3. In the character of the redeemed. He shall present them to Himself without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.
4. In the destruction of the devil s work. What is involved in the majestic promise that He should destroy the works of the devil, is not yet made manifest. In due time we shall see it all.
IV. THE GREATNESS OF THOSE RESULTS.
1. They must be proportionate to the glory of His nature. It is not difficult to satisfy, at least temporarily, a little child. But as its nature develops, it becomes increasingly hard to content it. But surely there is more difference between the capacity of an angel and that of a man, than between the capacities of a man and a babe But, great as an angel is, his capacity is limited and finite. What then must be the measure of that blessedness, of that harvest of souls, of that result of His travail, which can content the Divine Redeemer?
2. They must be proportionate to the intensity of His suffering. The results of God's work are always commensurate to the force He puts forth. You cannot imagine the Divine Being going to an immense expenditure without a sure prescience that He would be recouped. Satisfied! We shall hear His sigh of deep content, and see the triumph on His face. And if Christ is satisfied, we shall be. On this let us rest.
(F. B. Meyer, B.A.)I. A few thoughts illustrative of THE MEANING of the text.
II. Two or three PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS to show how we ought to be affected who believe that meaning.
1. The "satisfaction" of Messiah in relation to the present world is yet incomplete. This should promote humility.
2. In spite of all past disappointments, we confidently expect the fulfilment of this prophecy.
3. The subject ought to lead us individually seriously to examine whether we are contributing to the Saviour's satisfaction, either by what we are or by what we are doing.
(T. Binney D.D.)
1. In the free remission of sins which, through His blood and in His name, has been proclaimed to the children of men.
2. In the actual return of sinners to God.
(R. Gordon, D.D.)
I. Whatever there may be in this word, there is a lesson of this sort, that WITHOUT SACRED TRAVAIL IN THE SENSE OF LABOUR, SACRIFICE, PATIENCE, THERE IS NEVER ANY ABIDING SATISFACTION. Not even for God. There are, I doubt not, indeed, many things which yield satisfaction to God, which, perhaps, involve no Divine travail of proportionate amount. I dare say it might be the case that creation came easily to Him, to the overflowing energy of Divine omnipotence. That it was easy for His infinite wisdom to adapt every organism to its place, and every creature to its circumstances; and He has satisfaction in that work of His hands. Perhaps providence comes easily to Him. But when He aims at the greater objects that engage His heart, when He would not make but save the world, when He would get back to Him the love of His suspicious and wandering children, when He would fill His house with guests, and when He would make these guests eternally worthy of His fellowship, and capable of communion with Him, then not easily even for Him can that work be done; but between Him and this joy that He sets before Him there is the travail of Bethlehem, with its lowliness, of His lonely pilgrim path of misunderstanding, of the weakness of feeble friends, and the bitterness of hateful foes: — there is Gethsemane, there is Calvary. Do not let us dream of doing anything effective for ourselves, or others cheaply, lightly, easily. "If any one will be My disciple," says Christ, let him take up the cross — the gibbet — and follow Me" — bidding farewell to dreams of ease, thoughts of self-indulgence, and copying the pattern set upon the Mount of Calvary. There is no sorrow in the world which you and I cannot materially relieve if we will but share it, but there is no sorrow that can be touched till we share it.
II. WHEREVER THERE IS SACRED TRAVAIL THERE IS ALWAYS ABIDING SATISFACTION. There may be travail in other directions without any satisfaction. Travail for wealth often leaves a man in poverty; travail for the sake of honour leaves him still insignificant and unknown. Do not spend your labour for that which will not profit, but aspire to the grand reward, to the noble results of existence, and put forth the sacred travail which, exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think, is rewarded and blessed of heaven.
III. Our text suggests a third lesson which it is desirable for all Christian workers to remember — THE SALVATION OF MAN IS THE SATISFACTION OF GOD.
IV. THE SALVATION OF MEN WILL BE ON SUCH A SCALE, AS TO GIVE COMPLETE AND PERFECT SATISFACTION TO GOD. The word "satisfaction" is a large word. You know it is easy to please a man, but it is hard to satisfy him; and, as some one has said, it is the same with God; He is easily pleased, but hard to satisfy.
(R. Glover, D.D.)I. THE TRAVAIL OF HIS SOUL. Think of the travail of our Lord's soul between Bethlehem and Calvary.
1. The travail of waiting during the long years of the life at Nazareth, during the tedious process of training the disciples that followed (Luke 12:50).
2. The travail of His own personal temptation, in the solitude of the wilderness, the protests of Peter, the impulses and the spiritual aloofness of the multitudes, and the actual hostility of their leaders (John 1:11).
3. Omitting many other particulars, the travail of Gethsemane and the cry upon the cross (Matthew 27:46).
4. The travail with sin. "Upon Him was laid the iniquity of us all" A pure spirit is alway pained, even at the sight of meanness or vice. Christ's spirit was so pure that Satan could find nothing in Him (John 14:30); and yet in the loneliness of the passion He suffered the penalty of sins not His own, wrestled with them in prolonged, triumphed over them for ever on the Cross. And if the travail of His soul be measured by the distance between His holiness and the guilt with which He consented to be charged, it will be seen to be absolutely without parallel in human history.
II. THIS TRAVAIL, SO IT IS SOMETIMES STATED, HAS PROVED SHEER WASTE, or at least, has not accomplished, and is not likely to accomplish, anything like what Christ in enduring it expected.
1. "Christianity a failure has been the theme of many a critic of our faith; and the failure has been alleged to occur in almost every department of thought and morals and mission. It must be confessed that Christianity has not yet succeeded completely anywhere. Even in places where it has had on its side almost every possible advantage — been supported by governments, illustrated by every kind of genius, in control of the influences of education and public opinion — it has not made society quite pure, or even the average character of its own agents and adherents faultless. And at present there is no part of the earth upon which the Saviour can be imagined to look and to be satisfied with what He sees. The complaint sometimes takes a more personal form. Every Christian is occasionally tempted to think that religion is proving for himself personally something of a failure. After years of sincere trust and service, there are faults of temper, elements of discontent and self-seeking and sin present in the nature, and often apparently even supreme there. And instead of imagining that our Saviour is satisfied with us, the disposition is rather to imagine that we can never satisfy Him, never become "perfect" and matured, but that we shall have to go on stumbling and faulty to the end.
2. There are two obvious modes of dealing with these complaints and suspicions. It would be possible to plead the intractability of the material, and to imitate natural science in her ceaseless demand for time. Or, we may place ourselves with this prophet at the ultimate end of our Lord's career, and see whether there are not, in society and in the heart of man, processes of progress that are tending to success. The conclusion will probably be that the success of Christianity, in relation to everything that concerns morality and religion, has already been so great as even to guarantee the eventual satisfaction concerning which this verse speaks.(1) In regard to the thoughts, which in reasoning men must underlie and to some extent determine their practice. Think what an incalculable improvement Christianity has effected in the prevalent conception of God. From these new thoughts of God the early Christians deduced their conclusions as to the infusion of a Divine element into the spirit of man, by means of which he may be lifted up to God.(2) In matters of social progress and the amelioration of the race, is Christianity a failure? The more personal suspicion, that religion is proving a failure as far as we ourselves are concerned, is a natural fear, due sometimes to the ease with which our best aspirations are forgotten, sometimes to the weight of this "body of sin." But it is impossible to imagine the Saviour, now "expecting until His enemies be made His footstool," ever turning to His Father in tones of protest, "After My travail and death, is this penitent sinner to be rejected? this man, struggling with the sin within him and about him, to be worsted?" Did He not once actually say to His Father, thereby pledging both to pardon and help us, "For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth? And therefore as certain as the Cross of Christ are the pardon of every worst sinner who comes to God through Him, and the perfecting of every believer who with inflexible purpose cleaves in devotion to Him. This word "satisfied" again, in its Scriptural use, suggests as much. Almost the only place where a man is spoken of as being really satisfied with what he perceives himself to be is in one of the psalms, and even there it is an emotion that is not reached until after death: "When I awake, I shall be satisfied with Thy likeness." It seems to imply that, as long as a man lives, he will have some fault to find with himself, weakness or immaturity or aptitude to sin. But, clinging to his Saviour when he dies, all these miseries will fall away from him, and at last the sinner and the Saviour will be satisfied.
(Prof. R. W. Moss, D.D.)I. THE SUFFERINGS OF OUR LORD. These sufferings were —
5. Completely effectual.
II. THE SATISFACTION WHICH HE FEELS IN VIEWING THE EFFECTS OF HIS SUFFERINGS.
1. The sight. Our Lord has seen of the travail of His soul(1) From the beginning He beheld in contemplation all the fruits of His sufferings; this was the joy which was set before Him.(2) During the various dispensations preceding His actual coming in the flesh He saw the effects of the sacrifice which He had engaged to make.(3) But it was on the cross itself that the Lord Christ saw with one unerring view the full and splendid results of His undertaking.(4) After His ascension into heaven, however, the prospect of the salvation of men began to be realized in a more ample manner.(5) Throughout the succeeding ages of the Church the Saviour has still continued to behold the fruits of His travail.(6) But not only has our Lord already seen of the travail of His soul, He still does see of it. "His arm is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither is His ear heavy, that it cannot hear."(7) But the Saviour shall, see hereafter in a still more ample measure this glorious sight.
2. The satisfaction. We are not merely to consider the salvation of sinners as satisfying the Saviour, but as satisfying Him after all the preceding anguish of His sufferings.Conclusion:
1. The light which the subject casts on the value of the soul of man. Both the inconceivable agony of our Lord's passion, and the satisfaction He derives from its effects, suppose the unspeakable worth of the human soul.
2. The light which this subject reflects on the hope of a penitent's acceptance with Christ. Surely, if He endured such a travail, such anguish of soul and body, and that for the redemption of sinners, He will never reject any one who sincerely renounces his sins and flies to Him. Surely His atonement can reach the case of the worst offender.
3. The illustration which this subject supplies of the powerful motive, by which the Christian is constrained to obey his Saviour. What can claim and fix our love and obedience, if such sufferings, voluntarily endured for us, cannot?
4. The light this subject throws on the future propagation of the Gospel throughout the world. For, if the engagement of the Covenant of redemption expressly be that our Lord "shall see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied," then we may go forth in the cause of missions and of the Bible with a humble confidence.
(D. Wilson, M.A.)I. SOME OF THOSE OBJECTS WHICH IT IS DECLARED THE MESSIAH SHALL BEHOLD, AS THE RESULT OF HIS SUFFERINGS.
1. To remove obstructions out of the way of the sinner's salvation.
2. The salvation of His own people.
3. To rectify the moral disorders of our nature.
II. THE SATISFACTION WITH WHICH THE SAVIOUR WILL BEHOLD THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF HIS PURPOSES.
1. The completion of any great undertaking is accompanied with satisfaction.
2. Another source of satisfaction to the Saviour must be in the consciousness of having accomplished a work of infinite beneficence.
(S. Summers.)I. WHAT WAS THE TRAVAIL OF CHRIST ?
II. WHY HE SUBMITTED TO IT.
III. WHY AND WHEN HE IS SATISFIED THAT HE ENDURED IT.
1. He is satisfied when He sees any penitent transgressor alarmed by His warnings, or touched by His merciful invitations, and turning to the obedience which he owes to God.
2. When He sees those whom He has redeemed walking uprightly before God.
3. The last and fullest recompense of the Redeemer s sufferings is still to come; to come in that great and joyful day, when He shall see the family which He has ransomed with His blood surrounding His throne in glory.
(J. B. Sumner, M.A.)I. THE DEEP, DIVINE, IMPASSIONED SYMPATHY OF THE REDEEMER.
1. If we analyze the expression, "the travail of His soul," we shall find that its meaning is not exhausted, if, indeed, it is illustrated at all, by a reference to the physical sufferings of our Lord. In the writings of the Fathers; in the devotional literature of the Middle Ages; in much of the sacred poetry of ancient, and even of more recent, times; and more specially in the highly realistic conception of sacred and legendary art, the physical sufferings of the Redeemer are treated with an emphasis and detail, which is not authorized by the Inspired record, and which imperils the clearness of our insight into the deeper meaning and mystery of His passion. It is not denied that physical suffering, most acute, most varied in form, and far transcending power of description or of imagination, was the Divinely appointed lot of Him whom "it pleased the Lord to bruise." Yet there is a reticence on the part of the inspired writers in relation to the physical sufferings of our Lord which is profoundly suggestive, not only as implying that a too realistic conception of the Passion is prolific of unhealthy and morbid tendencies, but as indicating that it is not within the range of His bodily anguish that we are to discover the true gauge and meaning of His "travail"
2. If we contemplate the more subjective phases of the Redeemer's suffering, we see the impossibility of appreciating, from the standpoint of our human experience and intelligence, the travail of a sinless soul, "smitten of God and afflicted."
3. But "the travail of His soul" involves more than this. It includes that profound and indescribable sympathy, that yearning pity for fallen man, that self-denying and soul-absorbing love of souls, which led the Eternal Son of God to surrender Himself to humiliation and suffering, to empty Himself and become "obedient unto death — the death of the Cross" — that sympathy which perhaps has told more powerfully upon the human heart than the most picturesque and stirring incidents in His life of lowliness and pain. It was in respect of His sorrow for the fallen and the lost that there was "no sorrow like unto His sorrow." I linger on the study of this "travail of His soul" because of its intimate relation to the success of all truly Christian toil. With many of us the gravest problem of life is the comparative fruitlessness of our work. Does not the secret lie in the feebleness of our sympathy, in the absence of that which has been called a "passion for saving souls"?
II. THE CALM AND TRANQUIL ASSURANCE WITH WHICH THE DIVINE REDEEMER SURVEYS THE COURSE AND DEVELOPMENT OF HIS TOIL. A single word in the original is responsible for this deduction, which, however, is sustained not only by the highly elliptical character of the passage, but by the general tenor of the references of Holy Scripture to the mediatorial function. These passages more particularly which refer to the session of the Redeemer on the right hand of the Majesty on high, and notably the memorable passage in the Hebrews: "But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God, from henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool," establish the doctrine which the Hebrew original, with characteristic conciseness, enshrines in one word. The same doctrine is reflected in the history of the Christian Church, which, even in its varying cycles and its intermittent fortunes, bears witness to a Divine Headship, calm, patient, and undisturbed. This tranquil survey of the development and fruitage of His past travail in the moral history of the world does not involve the idea of the personal inactivity of the ascended Son. But this ceaseless activity is not fretted by the anxieties which wait upon human toil. Our noblest work is harassed and hampered by conscious weakness, by distrust of our methods, by the precarious conditions under which we labour, by actual failures, or by the dread of prospective defeats. We, too, are baffled by contingencies not calculable by human foresight: and in front of us there looms that inevitable end of all work which comes alike to all. It is not under such conditions that the enthroned Redeemer surveys the fields of His toil. In the calm assurance which these words imply, there lies a tacit rebuke of the recklessness and feverish impatience of the Church in regard to the conversion of the world.
III. THE CERTAINTY OF HIS FINAL AND ETERNAL SATISFACTION. It is obvious that if this passage is to be taken literally, the ultimate issues of redemption will far transcend the loftiest anticipations which the Church has ventured to entertain. For though there be a few passages even in the ministry of our Lord which seem to look towards a less cheering sequel, a study of their surroundings will show that there is no collision between them and the most hopeful interpretation of the words of the text. No conclusions drawn from merely human analogies can be fairly applied in the endeavour to ascertain the limits within which the satisfaction of the Reedemer is to be understood. Human nature is governed by sentiment. Judging of the Divine administration by its own feelings, it has assumed that nothing less than the final restoration of every fallen man can satisfy the travail of the soul of the Redeemer. But the Divine economy is not an economy of sentiment. The infinite love of the Father acts only in harmony with the other attributes of the Divine nature. Law must be satisfied as well as love; and the human will must not be coerced in its acceptance or rejection of the provisions which mercy has devised. But while we decline to indulge even a larger hope, which rests only on sentiment and on the subtle perversion of the Sacred text, no limitations which must necessarily be assigned to its exposition can spoil it of its overpowering significance. No human mind can indicate the sources or measure the depths of that satisfaction. The practical application of this ancient prophecy is furnished by St. Paul (1 Corinthians 15:58).
(R. N. Young, D.D.)
I. HE SAW THE COMPLETION OF THE MOST STUPENDOUS UNDERTAKING OF GOD.
II. THE VISION GAVE HIM THE SATISFACTION OF A CONQUEROR.
III. IN THAT VISION WAS A SIGHT OF THE SUCCESS OF THE GOSPEL IN WINNING THE HEARTS OF MEN TO GOD.
(C. F. Deems, LL.D.)
I. THE TRAVAIL OF HIS SOUL. We may take note of some of the ingredients that entered into the cup, although we cannot measure the degree of their bitterness.
1. He who was from all eternity the beloved of His Father put His glory off, and put on our nature.
2. He severed Himself from the company of the holy who loved and worshipped Him, for the company of the unholy who in feeble friendship vexed or in open enmity crucified Him.
3. "He who knew no sin was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him."
4. He met personally with the person of the wicked one in our quarrel.
5. His heart was often sore vexed by ignorance, selfishness, unfaithfulness, even of His own selected disciples.
6. The people for whose sake He came into the world — the Israel among whom he was born and bred — would none of Him.
7. The office of the priesthood, which He loved and honoured as God s institute to hold up the promise of redemption, was by those who held it prostituted to reject the counsel of God.
8. But alone, and above all, incomprehensible to us, yet awful both for the part that we know and the part that we know not, is the desertion by the Father, and the final descent of wrath, due to sin, on the Redeemer's soul.
II. THE FRUIT THAT RESULTS FROM THE TRAVAIL OF HIS SOUL. It is not to the sufferings in themselves that the Redeemer looks. Herein appears the greatness of His love. He looks over and past the travail of His soul, and fixes His regards on the results that it secures.
III. THE SATISFACTION WHICH THE SAVIOUR EXPERIENCES IN THE RESULTS OF THE TRAVAIL OF HIS SOUL. How comes it that this new creature is graven more deeply on the heart of the Eternal Son than all His other works? Those other possessions were created by His word, or fashioned by His hand, but this springs from the travail of His soul.
(W. Arnot, D. D.)
(W. Arnot, D. D.)
I. THE GLORY THAT SHOULD ACCRUE TO THE FATHER from the new splendours reflected on all the perfections of His character by the work of human redemption.
II. THE REWARD THAT SHOULD ACCRUE TO THE SAVIOUR HIMSELF, His personal exaltation, mediatorial authority, His Father s approbation, and the blessings of countless millions ransomed by His blood.
III. THE BENEFIT THAT SHOULD ACCRUE TO HIS PEOPLE, the blissful change produced upon their condition, character, and prospects — children of wrath snatched from hell, servants of corruption rescued from their debasing servitude, rebels against God subdued by the sweet influence of His grace, cleansed from all moral defilement, arrayed in the beauties of holiness, purified, refined, ennobled, rendered worthy associates of unfallen angels, and made to people heaven, who, but for Christ's interposition, must have been the tenants of hell. This last is the cause of His satisfaction specially referred to in the text.
(J. Roxburgh, M.A.)
I. WHY THIS SUCCESS OF THE GOSPEL IS CALLED THE TRAVAIL OF JESUS' SOUL. Because Gospel blessings are given us on account of Christ's sufferings.
II. If we would see a little more clearly the final success of the Gospel, let us ask, WHEN DID HE SEE THE TRAVAIL OF HIS SOUL, AND WAS SATISFIED? at what time? This chapter, I think, tells us when. "When thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin," says the tenth verse, "He shall see His seed."
III. If we would ask IN WHAT RESPECTS JESUS WAS SATISFIED, we may answer at once, in every respect. All the purposes for which He died will be accomplished. We may hence learn —
1. That the number of those finally saved will be exceedingly great.
2. The complete final sanctification of believers.
3. Another reason for which Christ poured out His soul unto death was, to obtain for us the grace and help of His Holy Spirit.
(E. Bradley.)I. THE PREDICTION BEFORE US HAS ALREADY BEEN PARTIALLY FULFILLED. Already has our Redeemer seen much of the fruit of His sufferings. Our once barren world, watered by His tears and His blood, has already produced a large harvest of righteousness and salvation.
II. DURING THE PERIOD WHICH MUST ELAPSE BEFORE TIME SHALL END, THIS PREDICTION SHALL RECEIVE A MUCH MORE AMPLE ACCOMPLISHMENT.
III. IT IS TO THE FINAL CONSUMMATION OF ALL THINGS, IT IS TO ETERNITY, THAT WE MUST LOOK FOR THE COMPLETE FULFILMENT OF THIS ANIMATING PREDICTION. Our Redeemer will see that spiritual edifice, the foundation of which was laid in His blood, which has been so long erecting, standing before Him finished, resplendent in glory, and perfect in beauty.
(E. Payson, D.D.)
I. JESUS SAW THE NECESSITY FOR THE CROSS.
1. He knew that God the Father had plans for man. He was a being of order and intelligence. Man was to be created in the image of God. He was to have happiness within his reach. It was to come by a perfect obedience to the will of God. That was all man needed for happiness.
2. Jesus saw that men would go away from the plan of God.
II. JESUS SAW THE REALITY OF THE CROSS. Jesus knew as He looked with prophetic eye that there must be some satisfaction rendered for the law that had been violated. He saw that He must render that satisfaction.
III. JESUS SAW THE FRUIT OF THE CROSS.
(A. W. Bealer, D.D.)
(C. Clemance, D.D.)
(J. Stalker, D.D.)
(J. R. Macduff, D.D.)
(J. Stalker, D.D.)
By His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify manyI. THE GREAT BENEFIT THAT FLOWS FROM CHRIST'S SUFFERINGS. Justification.
II. THE PARTIES MADE PARTAKERS OF THE BENEFIT. "Many."
III. THE FOUNTAIN FROM WHICH THIS BENEFIT FLOWS TO MANY. "My righteous Servant."
IV. THE WAY CHRIST JUSTIFIES. Not simply by forgiving, but by His satisfying for them. "He shall bear their iniquities."
V. THE MEANS BY WHICH THIS BENEFIT IS DERIVED. "By His knowledge."
I. He is called the Lord's SERVANT. It looks to Him as Mediator. It imports —
1. A humiliation and inferiority in respect of God (Philippians 2).
2. His prerogative as being singularly and eminently God's Servant.
3. The particular task or work that is laid on Him, and the commission that He hath got to prosecute that work.
4. That our Lord Jesus, in performing the work of redemption, cannot but be acceptable to Jehovah, because it is a performing of that with which He hath entrusted Him.
II. He is called the Lord's RIGHTEOUS SERVANT. He is all excellent Servant; not righteous simply as He is God, nor as He is man, but righteous in the administration of His offices, and in the discharge of the great trust committed to Him. He administrates His offices —
1. Wonderfully wisely.
2. Very tenderly.
3. Most diligently and effectually.
4. With all faithfulness.
1. The efficient cause — God, the Party that doth justify.
2. The final cause — His own glory.
3. The meritorious cause — Christ's merit.
4. The inward instrumental cause — faith.
5. The formal cause, or that wherein justification consists.
6. The external, instrumental cause — the Word of God.
1. Faith is nothing, but as it lays hold on some object. How can faith lay hold on an object, except it know it?
2. Faith, as justifying, is always holden forth as making use of and giving credit to that which is revealed in the Word.
3. In justification, God would have a sinner proceed as a man doth who defends himself before an earthly tribunal. As it is dangerous in a weighty cause to have an ignorant advocate, who puts in a wrong defence, so is it, in this case, to be ignorant (Romans 10:3).
4. There must be repentance ere a sinner can be justified, which supposeth knowledge. He must needs know his sin, and that his own righteousness will not do his turn.
5. Look forward to the duties of holiness, which are necessary, though not to justify you, yet that ye may live as it becomes justified persons. Now, can any know or do duties, who are ignorant?
6. Consider your own peace, and how, in order to it, there is a necessity of knowledge.
(J. Durham.)1. The necessity of it.
2. The Object of it.
3. The act of it.
4. The effects that flow from it.
5. The manner of its concurring in the attainment of justification.
(J. Durham.)1. It is the privilege of the Gospel to discover a way for the justification of sinners "by His knowledge."
2. Faith is knowledge, or an apprehension of Christ. "The knowledge of Him."
3. By faith we are justified. He saith by His knowledge, but He meaneth faith; such apprehensions of Christ as cause answerable dispositions in the spirit.
( T. Manton, D.D.)I. WHAT IS THE NATURE OF THE KNOWLEDGE TO WHICH THE PROPHET ASCRIBES SUCH EFFICACY? It is well to cultivate the understanding, if, perchance, the Spirit of enlightening grace might employ this faculty as an avenue to the heart. And yet we must beware of substituting the means for the end. Others have acquired a more clear view of the Gospel revelation, who know much, but employ their knowledge to no better purpose than to maintain an empty parade of religious profession. What is the knowledge to which we allude — the knowledge which involves privileges so inestimable? The prophet calls it, the knowledge of the righteous Servant of God. This is no other than the holy Jesus, the righteous Messiah.
1. There must be the knowledge of self.
2. The knowledge which the sinner acquires of his own character, though connected with that to which the prophet alludes, is not the thing itself. It is the knowledge of the Saviour, Christ. To know the Lord Jesus Christ is to renounce all virtue in ourselves, and to look to Him alone for salvation. But there is a further particular comprehended in the knowledge which the believer has of Christ. The Lord Jesus is called the "righteous Servant of God." If we love Him, we must love Him as a righteous Saviour.
II. THE BENEFITS WHICH SUCH A KNOWLEDGE IS MADE INSTRUMENTAL IN PROCURING.
1. The believer enjoys justification from sin by the sufferings and death of Christ.
2. As he is united by faith with the Saviour, he partakes in His righteousness.
3. As he is designed for the heavenly inheritance, he must be made meet for its enjoyment; and therefore he has the promise of the Spirit of Christ to sanctify his heart.
(W. North, M.A.)
Expository Times.That is, either by His own knowledge, or by their knowledge of Him. And, as Dean Plumptre puts it, the prophet may have been directed to an expression which included both. For both are true of Christ. Men are saved by knowing Him; and, on the other hand, it is His knowledge of the Father that enables Him to lead men to the Father.
(Expository Times.)1. Here is a state supposed with regard to the many — that they would need to be justified. Look at history. Let us look into our own hearts. Let us look at the pure and holy law.
2. The prophet foresees One who would be an exception to the many. While to them iniquities belong, this one would be the "righteous Servant." There has been but One in all history to whom this expression could completely and unreservedly apply.
3. Nor did the prophet foresee this One merely as one Righteous One amid a desolate waste of sin, but he foresees Him taking on Himself the liabilities of the race. "He shall bear their iniquities."
4. The knowledge of this Righteous One should have peculiar value. "By His knowledge;" this and no more will the Hebrew term bear. But we may understand either — by the knowledge He has, or by the knowledge that He imparts, or by the knowledge of Himself that men should gain. Either way a sense is conveyed that is intelligible and true.
5. Where the Righteous One is thus known, He accomplishes a glorious justifying act. By means of the saving acquaintance with Him which believing penitents make, when, confessing their sin, they rely on Him for pardon, He, in the exercise of His own royal rights, absolves them from all their guilt, and releases them from the condemning sentence of the law of God.
6. As the result of this release the penitents are re-set in a position of favour, grace, and love.
7. The ground or reason of His justifying the many, is that He bore their iniquities. The justifying is not only a sequence, but the consequence of His bearing our sins.
(C. Clemance, D.D.)
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