But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief;
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)
Whenever I come across the first line in this verse, I stumble. It’s like there’s a boulder in my path, and I come to an abrupt halt. What? I think. The Lord God was pleased to crush His only son? How could it be?
More than once, I’ve looked up the Hebrew word associated with “pleased,” (“chaphets”), thinking that the translation must be rough, but no, there it is: “to find pleasure in, to take delight in, to be pleased with, to have affection for…” No, I think. Our God isn’t like that.
Here’s the Online Hebrew Interlinear Bible for the direct translation:
and Yahweh he desires to crush of him, he causes be wounded, if she is placing guilt soul of him, he shall see seed, he shall lengthen days, and desire of Yahweh in hand of him, he shall prosper
It’s rough-cut, but the message is still clear: God desired to crush Him for our sins. This morning, as I pondered the passage, I believe it’s one of those things that we, as humans, with limited foresight, can understand or appreciate about God. But God, who can see the end from the beginning, always has His eyes fixed on the result, the end game, the fruit that comes from the crushing of the seed.
Jesus was, in fact, the first seed who would give birth to millions of other seeds. And what seed isn’t essentially “crushed” to give birth to life? Have you ever seen a seed that is not broken open when the seedling begins to grow? Is it not wounded to give way for the new growth?
God needed to crush Christ, the seed whose resulting vine would give way to branches–us.
“I am the true vine and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit.” (John 15:1-2)
As the branches of Christ, we are to bear fruit, and in each piece of fruit lie many seeds. These are the seeds that Isaiah spoke of, the ones that Jesus would see after being crushed. This is the joy that was set before Him: the generations who would come to know Him as their Savior, and grow into branches that would give birth to other seeds.
God knew that, like giving birth, the agony of Christ would result in new life. Like an expectant mother who nears her due date, she is “pleased” to go through the pain, not for the pain itself, but for the incredible joy of that newborn on the other side.
Giving birth to anything always requires pain and a “crushing” of some kind, and because Christ was giving birth and new life to millions if not billions, his crushing was particularly cruel. God was pleased to crush Him to create a vine that would produce fruit that is extravagantly beautiful.
We are that fruit. He has bestowed upon us His life, His redemption, His precious blood, and ultimately, resurrection bodies that reflect His incredible beauty.
God was pleased not simply to crush His only Son, but to crown Him with many offspring who would praise and bless Him forevermore. Thank God for His blessed foresight.