The Sufferings Of Christ

Sermon preached by Mr. G. J. Denyer at Zoar Chapel, Canterbury, 1959.

“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when Thou shalt 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.”
(Isaiah 53:10)

There is no subject, dear friends, so blessed, if a minister of Christ is enabled with some gracious unction to speak of it, as the subject before us. Also there is no subject so solemn, and for which a man so much needs special help, so that he treads not on this holy ground without removing the shoes from off his feet, spiritually considered.

That is how I feel this morning, as for many hours now this subject has possessed my spirit. May the Lord help me, and may He help you, for these are vital matters. The subject before us is glorious.

What subject so glorious, so deep-reaching, so sublime, as the subject of the incarnation, the humiliation, the suffering, the death, the resurrection, the ascension of this precious Saviour of sinners?

I would like to speak in the beginning a little in the order of the text: “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him.”

This term pleased – “it pleased the Lord” – is one that I would like to speak from a little.

Pleasure, as we understand it naturally, is that sensation by which our natural faculties are expressed. According to the feelings of our heart, so they may be expressed in a way of pleasure or in a way of pain. But pleasure has a very wide meaning; and there is one sense in which I believe this is particularly meant in our text. Pleasure, naturally, is often a successor to pain. It is a very true word, that naturally there is no pleasure without pain; and so I have it before me in this subject that this pleasure spoken of in the text is like the pleasure which is
preceded by pain.

I cannot but believe that God the Father, in His infinite love and mercy to those sinners whom He gave to His only begotten Son to redeem, gave them to Him in eternity.

They always were His people; the gift was made in eternity; but how solemn to the Father was that which was to take place, the suffering, the humiliation of Christ!

We cannot begin to enter into what it meant to God Himself in the great and tremendous matter of redemption. O, to think of the Son of God, beloved in the Trinity, beloved of the Father and the Holy Spirit, leaving that glorious abode to come to a sin-stained earth-the terrible nature of that humiliation to the Lord Jesus Christ, and what it meant to His dearly beloved Father!

But it pleased Him. All the suffering that the Lord Jesus Christ was to undergo in fulfilling His office in the covenant of redemption of all these people, yes all of that suffering it pleased the Lord to lay upon Him.

Here the word is very definite: “It pleased the Lord” – the Lord – “to bruise Him.” Satan, that great enemy and adversary of the church, is not spoken of here as bruising the Son of God.

Although he, as the awful instrument, caused suffering untold, misery unparallelled, to that glorious Person, yet it is here clearly and plainly set forth that the Lord bruised Him; and we shall find in the prophecy of Zechariah this word spoken by the Father: “Awake, O sword, against My shepherd, and against the man that is My fellow, saith the Lord of hosts. Smite the shepherd.”

Smite! Awful, solemn word!

But it pleased the Lord that He should speak that word, and by that word this glorious Son was to fulfil all His covenant engagements, and with equal pleasure to Him as to the Father. I fully believe this, that the pleasure of the glorious Son of God in suffering for this multitude of sinners was equal to the pleasure the Father had in sending and smiting Him.

I believe there was no difference, that that pleasure was equal in every respect to each of the three Persons in the glorious Trinity.

“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him.”

This bruising would have this glorious effect of exalting Christ, the eternal Son of the eternal Father; it would have the effect of exalting Him in a way in which He could not be exalted without carrying out that glorious scheme of redemption.

The exaltation of Christ, the pleasure which He has with the Father in that exaltation, is derivable from His glorious work of redemption which He so wonder fully fulfilled. “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him.” I believe that, according to the Scriptures, it is the will of God the Father that all glory shall be to His Son for the work of redemption; and we read that Christ Himself said, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.”

Now I might drop a word here to some. Perhaps there are some in this congregation who are in a very fearful and perplexed state relative to their religion.

Does the pleasure here set forth that God the Father has, that God the Son has, the One in the giving and the Other in the carrying out, and the joy that the Holy Spirit has in conveying this blessing to the people – does that pleasure find in your soul an echo, even to hear of it, to read it, to hear it proclaimed from time to time by ministers of Christ, and to meditate upon it?

Does it afford to you, has it ever afforded to you, greater pleasure than every natural pleasure you have ever enjoyed?

I ask that question affectionately, for I believe by the answer is set forth much of that which we know and that which we lack. That which pleased God should please the sinner taught by grace; that which displeases God should be hated by the sinner called by grace.

Therefore I say in the very outset, let this be a test: has this been our greatest pleasure, to have some contemplation, some meditation upon this glorious word here, “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him”?

Has it come to you at any time with pleasure such as nothing else can give?

And in that pleasure have you felt a hope of interest in it?

Now it is only those who are interested in it who feel this pleasure in their soul. It is not a natural pleasure. It is entirely distinct. It is only those who are interested in this that feel that pleasure in their soul as they hear, and at times receive, the news, the glory of this great redemption.

“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him.”

I read for a purpose this morning that wonderful 22nd Psalm, because there I believe David prophetically sets forth the sufferings of Christ.

In fact, I believe only the Lord Jesus Christ can be intended by much of that which is contained in practically the whole of the Psalm.

For instance, it could not have been said of David, “They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.” That, I believe, was definitely prophetic of the Lord Jesus Christ.

And so as we read that Psalm down we shall see how well the Lord Jesus, in His appeals and His sufferings, is set forth by the psalmist.

“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him.”

I note in that Psalm the pleasure that the psalmist sets forth. You may read it. I would say, read it as often as you can. It is a wonderful Psalm, if you are definitely interested.

“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him.”

“He hath put Him to grief.”

Put Him to grief!

Here is grief which is definite, grief to which he was put: and this applies similarly to what I have already said: He, the Father, hath put Him to grief. Let me for a few moments speak a little of what grief really is.

Grief is usually that which we endure when we have had pleasure. It is just turned the other way round. To be “put to grief” usually signifies the loss of that which we once enjoyed, and oftentimes a loss which is irreparable.

Now here we have a wonderul setting forth of the suffering of the Lord Jesus Christ. The pleasure He knew and enjoyed when He dwelt in heaven was to be succeeded by unparallelled grief to which the Father was to put Him. I have many times tried to ponder what it must have meant to the holy soul of the Lord Jesus Christ; because you will find this, that in each case it is the soul that suffers; not only the body, but the soul. It is the soul that is referred to in the text.

The grief that was endured when He came to this world and tasted the bitter effects of sin!

He tasted it!

Yes, sin, to the Lord Jesus Christ, as laid upon Him in His humiliation, had the
bitterest taste that is possible to be known; and so to those who are interested in His work this effect will be known. Sin, under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, will be made to have the bitterest taste of anything you know.

That will be the teaching; and as you travel on, if taught by the Holy Spirit, sin will become more and more bitter to you in its taste.

O, it will!

That is the teaching of God the Holy Spirit. You will be enabled by grace to follow out, and to walk out, that pathway in which the Lord Jesus walked. He came from heaven to earth, a pure, holy Person; He had sin laid upon Him, in this sense that He was made to taste it and to feel the bitterness, the horror and the solemnity
of it.

I have thought sometimes like this with regard to the solemnity of the sin of the people of God being laid upon their precious Redeemer: it was that which Christ had not known before. It was to Him that bitterness which none of us can begin to enter into, because we are unholy, we are unclean, and we like sin, really, in our nature.

It is not bitter to us. There is something in the nature of even the most upright, even the most honourable among men, which likes sin, and because of that all sorts of sins will be excused: “O, this does not matter; there is no harm in that.” When we say, “There is no harm in that,” it means that we like it, and if it is sinful we make it an excuse, so that we can indulge our terribly corrupt nature.

Now nothing of that existed in the precious Lamb of God. His holy nature abhorred sin; and so (if my friends will follow me) because of His intense hatred to sin, His holy hatred to sin, and the grief to which the Father put Him when He sent Him to be in this sinful world, what can have been the grief that He endured when assailed with this awful thing, sin, and having to taste it, having to bear it, having to atone for it as only it could be atoned for, by the Atoner tasting it, drinking the cup right to the bitter dregs?

Dear friends, I speak this to you, if haply you may be led in contemplation a little on the sufferings of Christ, and that it might be the means of endearing Him to you, even though you may not perhaps feel you have an interest in Him. A truly anxious, desiring soul, that is seeking to know the Lord Jesus Christ, will not turn away from that which exalts Him and sets forth His glory, but will seek and desire to know it.

“He hath put Him to grief.”

Now, “When Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin.” Turning back to that 22nd Psalm, you will find there that it was the soul of the psalmist that was his chief trouble. In the 20th verse he says, “Deliver my soul from the sword, my darling from the power of the dogs.”

“When Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin.” Here is another point upon which we may make a clear separation: The holy soul of the Lord Jesus Christ was made an offering for sin, and it is only the soul actually of a person that can be offered. The body may be offered, but does not Paul say, in the Epistle to the Corinthians, speaking of ‘charity, “Although I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing”? Only the soul.

“When Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin,” signifies, I believe, that Christ in His holy soul knew and endured sufferings beyond, far beyond the sufferings of His body.

“The pangs of His body were great, But greater the pangs of His mind.”

Now we may form some judgment of the reality of our religion if we come to ask ourselves, whatever suffering we endure, is it the suffering of the soul?

You see, we each have our providential trials, we each have our difficulties, each of us is brought into dark places at different times in our lives.

But the soul; do we know what soul travail is-the bitterness that is felt in the soul when outside things may be, and are, pleasing and good and congenial?

But the soul, the soul that is burdened by sin!

Every sin, dear friends, is against tile soul. Many sins that people commit are against their bodies, but actually the chief part of that sin is against their soul.

We read concerning wisdom, “He that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul.”

“When Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin.”

O, to think of that holy soul of the Lord Jesus Christ, given, entirely given!

Everything that Christ possessed, every glorious, blessed attribute that He had!

Was He holy?

Was He righteous?

Was He just?

Was He a God of love, of compassion?

It is all to do with the soul.

If we have only natural compassion it comes short, but if our compassion is the compassion of our soul – we speak about people putting their whole heart and soul into an object; it means they give themselves entirely.

And so it was with Christ. Every attribute that He had, everything in which He was rich, every grace in His glorious fulness, was given as a sweet offering and a sweet smelling savour to the Father when He, as our sacrifice, offered Himself once for all, a pure, spotless offering.

“When Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin.”

Now let me come to our own cases.

What is our feeling?

If in any measure we have been taught by Him, do we, as I said at the beginning, find pleasure in that which gives pleasure to God the Father, God the Holy Spirit, and God the Son?

If we do, then there is some hope that we know something of these things for ourselves.

“He hath put Him to grief.”

Does the grief that the Lord Jesus Christ suffered find in us a response in that sympathetic sorrow which we hope we know at times?

“He hath put Him to grief.”

“When Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin.”

What is our conception of this?

What is our feeling toward it?

Do we rejoice?

Do we feel the glorious nature of that offering made for sin?

This hymn has been very sweet to me in times past:

“Not all the blood of beasts,
On Jewish altars slain,
Could give the guilty conscience peace,
Or wash away the stain.”

“But Christ, the heavenly Lamb,
Takes all our sins away;
A sacrifice of nobler name,
And richer blood than they.”

Now this is where the sinner comes in:

“My faith would lay her hand
On that dear head of Thine,
While like a penitent I stand,
And there confess my sin.”

My dear friends, have you ever, in your desires, felt you could lay the tiny, feeble hand of your faith upon that glorious head of this sublime Saviour whose soul was made an offering for sin, and see in that glorious Person all your salvation and all your hope, even in desire?

Ah, I go back many years to times when I felt again and again my whole soul go with that sweet hymn when it was given out.

Friends, there is one Object to faith, one only Object to faith. Faith never lets go her grip of this one Object. However tried and tempted faith may be, it never lets go a crucified, risen, exalted Saviour.

“When Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin.”

Now there is a glorious issue to all this.

“When Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed.”

“He shall see His seed.”

There is a great depth in that word. In His sufferings, in His own humiliation, Christ sees His seed. I believe it indicates this, that the pleasure that the Trinity know in this glorious working of the plan of salvation, as They behold this work progressing, is that They see the seed of Christ.

He sees it. O, He always did see His seed, always in eternal purpose. He knew it. He saw this seed which was to serve Him, this generation which in Himself was perfect and complete in God’s covenant purpose.

But the actual gathering in of this seed was shown, I believe (and in a glorious way the Lord Jesus Christ rejoiced in it), when He uttered those wonderful words, “It is finished.”

He saw His seed; He saw in the completion of His work a multitude of sinners redeemed, and He rejoiced in it. The Father saw it and rejoiced in it; the Holy Spirit saw it and rejoiced in making it known to them.

Now again I say, dear friends, is this rejoicing shared by us?

It will be, if we have but the tiniest real desire. Even though we may not have been raised to the sweet and blessed assurance and knowledge of our interest in it, we shall rejoice, even in our desires.

Have you ever felt, dear friends, when you have read the Scriptures, and these glorious things about the blessed Lord Jesus Christ have you never felt a little joy in your soul, to think that such glorious things are spoken of Jesus, and to believe that He is approachable, and that His promises will be fulfilled, even though you may feel that, so far, they have been delayed in your own case?

You are still waiting, but do you never rejoice?

Has it been all misery?

No; though there is a bitterness.

“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief. When Thou shalt 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.”
(Isaiah 53:10)

There is one more point that I might just touch on before I conclude.

All this of which I have been trying to speak will always culminate in this wondrous, glorious effect in those sinners who are being taught by this good Spirit: the longer they live the more they will be brought to feel that it is by grace and grace alone that we are saved. “Grace all the work shall crown.” Yes; and it will be the great pleasure of these people, however small and however feeble they may feel to be, to put the crown on His head and rejoice in being able to do so.

Sinners, and only sinners, are they who know this.

May the Lord bless His own precious word, and pardon all that has been amiss; for His dear Name’s sake. Amen.

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