Spoiler Alert (Isaiah 53:10-12)

“Mission Accomplished.”

On May 1, 2003, President George W. Bush gave a televised speech on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln. Bush, who had launched the US led invasion of Iraq six weeks earlier, mounted a podium before a White House-produced banner that said Mission Accomplished. He said, “Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.” Although Bush went on to say that “Our mission continues” and “We have difficult work to do in Iraq,” his words implied that the Iraq War was over and America had won. US troops fought in Iraq for eight more years. The vast majority of casualties, US and Iraqi, military and civilian, occurred after the speech.

“It is finished!”

In 32AD outside of Jerusalem on a hill called Calvary and Golgotha (the Place of the Skull), after 6 hours on the Cross, Jesus said with a loud voice, “It is finished!”

His mission was accomplished. But Jesus was clear that spiritual warfare was going to escalate:

He had previously told His followers, “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.” (John 15:20).

The apostle Paul wrote a lot about spiritual warfare, including the famous passage in Ephesians about putting on, and keeping on, the whole armor of God.

In the Revelation we read about future war in Heaven… The Battle of Armageddon… And a rebellion led by Satan at the end of the Millennial Kingdom.

Be advised that the Lord’s victory over Satan & his forces has escalated the warfare. 

I’ll organize my comments around two points: #1 Jesus’ Mission Objective Was To Save You, and #2 Jesus’ Missions Operation Is To Spoil You.

#1 – Jesus’ Mission Objective Was To Save You (v10-11)

Theologian Karl Barth was asked if he could summarize his whole life’s work in theology in a sentence. “Yes, I can,” he answered. “In the words of a song I learned at my mother’s knee: ‘Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.’ ”

The Song of the Suffering Servant closes out with an anointed, Jesus saves! simplicity.

Isa 53:10  Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.

Isa 53:11  He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities.

In verses ten & eleven we can pick-out phrasing that follows two intertwined themes:

  1. We read “bruise,” “grief,” “an offering for sin,” “the labor of His soul,” and “bear their iniquities.” Jesus was bruised and grieved in His labor of being the offering for sin and bearing the iniquities of the human race.
  2. We read “He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,” “prosper,” “satisfied,” “righteous,” and “justify many.” He died, but His days would be prolonged by resurrection and His sacrifice satisfied God’s justice so that Jesus will have multitudes of followers justified and declared righteous.

The word “justified” means pronounced or treated as righteous. For a Christian, justification is the act of God not only forgiving the believer’s sins but additionally imputing to him the righteousness of Christ. When you believe God He counts all your sin as His, and all His righteousness as yours. He can do that because on the Cross He demonstrated that He was both just and the justifier of all who believe. He alone has the authority to declare believing sinners righteous.

  • In the OT, God called Abram (later renamed Abraham) to follow Him. He would be the father of a new nation, Israel, that would bless the other nations of the world. We read that “For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness’ ” (Romans 4:1-3 CSB).
  • In the NT, the Philippian jailer asked the apostle Paul “What he must do I to be saved.” “[He] said to him, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).

Isa 53:10

Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him God was “pleased” with Jesus’ obedience despite the humiliation of it.

He has put Him to grief Jesus bore your sins, but He also carried your sorrows. If it hurts you, it affects Him. Jesus is described as a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. It is your grief He is acquainted with, your sorrows.

When You make His soul an offering for sin “Soul” isn’t being used in a technical sense. It means all of Him, His entire person.

He shall see His seed These are all who believe Him from Adam until the new heavens & Earth.

He shall prolong His day This could only be true by  His being resurrected from the dead.  

And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand The work of redeeming men, of saving them, was put into Jesus’ “hand.” He carried it out to the “pleasure” of His Father and God the Holy Spirit. The work has prospered through the centuries. God takes pleasure in His plan of salvation and in His Son Jesus Christ. “For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him” (Colossians 1:19).

Isa 53:11 He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities.

The work of Jesus on the Cross “satisfied” God’s holiness. As a result “many” can be justified.

“Many” is not meant to limit who can be saved. This isn’t a proof-text for a limited atonement of God’s elect. Without Jesus’ substitution, no one could be saved. Now, many will be. We would say “many” is compatible with “whosoever will.”

During the pandemic, certain establishments were closed. After the restrictions were lifted, anyone could once again go into those establishments, and many did. We would not say that those who did are a favored few.

Two questions for us to ponder:

  1. “What’s in your wallet?” If you are not a believer, it isn’t righteousness.
  2. “Who are you wearing?” If you are not a believer, it isn’t Jesus.

#2 – Jesus’ Missions Operation Is To Spoil You (v12)

Nellie Oleson was the ridiculously spoiled brat daughter of Nels & Harriet Oleson in the classic television series, Little House on the Prairie. She would blurt out “You hate me!” whenever she didn’t get her way.

There is ‘spoiling’ going on in verse twelve.

You don’t catch it at first because it seems as though Isaiah is talking about the spoils of vanquished enemies. That, however, is only the half of it.

Isa 53:12  Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great…

We don’t often think about the fact that in eternity there will be nations and kings:

  • In Revelation 21 we learn about the new heavens & Earth. We are told, “And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it” (v24-26).
  • In Revelation 22, “He showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations” (22:1-2).

God the Father “will divide Him a portion with the great” means Jesus will rule over those kings. He will be King of kings. “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Revelation 11:15).

Isa 53:12  And He shall divide the spoil with the strong… This is one of those phrases that Hebrew scholars say they have difficulty translating. Part of the concern is the identity of “the great” and “the strong.” Are they two groups? Or are they one group described two ways?

John Gill thinks they were one group – the Church. He wrote, “Some understand, by the ‘great’ and ‘strong,’ the apostles of Christ, to whom He divided the gifts He received when He led captivity captive; to some apostles, some prophets, etc.”

I prefer to think of “the great” as the kings we just mentioned. They are each given a “portion,” spoils. The “strong” is the Church whom the Lord spoils.

Because He poured out His soul unto death… The emphasis is on the Lord’s voluntarily substituting Himself. And He was numbered with the transgressors He hung out with sinners. As the Great Physician, He went to the sick. No criticism intended, but Jesus wasn’t a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills. And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors Jesus was crucified between two thieves. It illustrates Him bearing the sins of “many,” and of His interceding on their behalf. Both could be saved on account of His sacrifice. One was saved. Any one can be saved.

Think about how the Lord spoils us.

When you believe the Lord for salvation, He gives you the Gift of the permanent indwelling of God the Holy Spirit. That gift wasn’t given until the Day of Pentecost at the birth of the Church. In the OT, the Spirit could fill you, or come upon you for a time. But when David prayed, “do not take Your Holy Spirit from me,” (Psalm 51:11) we learn it was possible for the Spirit to be taken away. The OT believers didn’t lose their salvation. They lacked the spiritual insight and supernatural strength to serve the LORD.

God the Holy Spirit gives you more ‘gifts.’ Prophecy, teaching, encouraging, serving, giving, leadership, mercy, the word of knowledge, the word of wisdom, faith, healings, tongues, the interpretation of tongues, the discerning of spirits, and helps. That isn’t an exhaustive list. These are supernatural abilities, not natural talent.

The Gift & gifts exist in a supernatural environment of grace. God’s grace is sufficient for you in every situation. We are told to “therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

You are John-John walking in to the Oval Office.

If you even for a moment consider these three gifts you will realize they are lavish. And you will be taken back by the fact these are lavished on you.

From the moment you believe and are declared righteous by God these are yours.

Wait a minute. A brand new, baby believer has the Gift, His gifts, and super-abundant grace? What father would be fool enough to think a baby could handle the power? Our Father, Who art in Heaven.

This might be a good time to briefly talk about what is called “the second blessing,” or “the baptism with the Holy Spirit.”

It is the teaching that you receive the Holy Spirit only in a limited sense at salvation and therefore need to afterward seek what is called the baptism with the Holy Spirit in order to move to a higher level of spiritual life. It is considered a second work of grace, distinct from and subsequent to regeneration and conversion. (A subset of this teaching is that your speaking in tongues is evidence you have had the experience).

This work of God the Holy Spirit is available to all Christians but not appropriated by all Christians subsequent to salvation.

Gordon Fee has helped me get a handle on this. He wrote, “If there is one thing that differentiates the early church from its twentieth century counterpart, it is in the level of awareness and experience of the presence and power of God the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the essential ingredient of Christian life.”

So, what happens? The thing that the apostle Paul warned us about happens. He wrote, “Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3). By “flesh” he means the energy of your own physical strength and mental  wisdom, without the leading of God the Holy Spirit.

(Example: Modern methods of Church planting vs. the prayer meeting in Antioch in Acts 13:1-3).

Fee concludes, “The result was the unfortunate omission of this valid, biblical dimension of Christian life from the life of most Christians in the subsequent history of the church.”

A.W. Tozer put it in a way that we can immediately relate to. If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95% of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95% of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference.”

A Christian who attends a church that wouldn’t notice the withdrawal of the Holy Spirit begins to seek a 100% experience. At some point they have a genuine experience with God the Holy Spirit. For them, it is subsequent to salvation, there were two separate events.

If you had a subsequent experience with God, the Holy Spirit, that’s OK. If you are seeking it, that’s OK, too. Come forward today.

This story is told of American evangelist D.L. Moody.

In 1871 at one of Mr. Moodys meetings, he was stirred with a desire for spiritual power by two women who would attend the meetings. He could see that they were praying, and at the close of the service they would say to him, “We have been praying for you.”

“Why don’t you pray for the people?” Mr. Moody would ask. “Because you need the power of the Spirit,” they would say. Moody had the largest congregation in Chicago, but the two women kept praying for him. There came a great hunger into his soul as he visited New York.

“I was crying all the time that God would fill me with His Spirit. Well, one day, in the city of New York – oh, what a day! I cannot describe it, I seldom refer to it; it is almost too sacred an experience to name I can only say that God revealed Himself to me, and I had such an experience of His love that I had to ask Him to stay His hand. I went to preaching again. The sermons were no different; I did not present any new truths, and yet hundreds were converted. I would not now be placed back where I was before that blessed experience if you should give me all the world – it would be as the small dust of balance.”

Jesus means to spoil you with gifts & grace, but in a good way. He once said, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13). He wants to give you His best gifts.

We can receive His spoiling in the wrong way, or in the right way:

  • The wrong way is to think of yourself more highly than you should. It is to flaunt your gifts, as if you earned or deserved them. It is to hoard them for yourself. It is to more-and-more prefer a natural Christianity to a supernatural one.   
  • The right way is to realize that the gifts & the grace are in place so that you can pour yourself out for others as your Lord did for you.