The Perfect Plan of Redemption

There is no plan greater than the plan of our salvation. God knew that the people He created would sin and that is why He made it possible for them to be saved by the sacrifice of His son. The redeemer came "when the time was fulfilled". He was an unknown man from Nazareth, but He fulfilled the description that the prophet Isaiah had given 550 years before.

Dr. Joseph Parker said it this way, "No man in history, except one, is able to fulfil this chapter (ISAIAH 53) in all its verses, lines and words. On occasions there may have been a man who fulfilled one word, one aspect or one point. But has there ever been a man who could say of the whole chapter, 'That applies to me'? Nevertheless, there is a man in history to whom this does apply. He alone is the total fulfilment of this wonderful prediction." The Holy Ghost led the Ethiopian chancellor to this Old Testament chapter as a foundation of faith. And Philip "opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus" (ACTS 8:35). He is the only man who fulfils everything. Put the name of Jesus into ISAIAH 53, and the chapter reads in the present tense. His name removes every doubt. The picture is clearly developed.

A Representative Sacrifice

"Who hath believed our report?" asked the prophet. "Nothing is impossible for you if you believe". This is the law of heaven. Did Jesus fulfil the prophecies or did He not fulfil them? You must decide. Why is there so much unbelief? Is it because of the style of the report? "He shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground." He came as a child and grew up as a teenager. What did the Jews expect?

In Israel little attention was paid to the problem of sin. Only a very few, like Simeon and Hannah, waited for someone who would redeem men from their sins. The Jewish leaders concentrated on political problems. Attention was paid to Roman bondage rather than to Satan. They wanted a triumphant ruler, not a suffering Saviour. Humility was not in accordance with the Pharisees' and Sadducees' moods. For them the idea of a Super-David was foremost. They wanted a lion and not a lamb.

The ground was "dry". Israel suffered from spiritual infertility. All evangelisation was suppressed. Sadduceen liberalism and Herodian materialism were widespread. Religion was dry, weak and hopeless. It was a time of spiritual weakness.

The report continues, "He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him." They had received the news, but they said, "Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?" (JOHN 1:46).

A critic complained (JOHN 8:57), "Thou art not yet fifty years old..." In fact He was closer to thirty, but in reality He looked older. Why? Was it due to the burden He carried for you and me? Was it shown in His face?

"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief." Pilate offered them a choice. They said, "Not this man, but Barabbas." (JOHN 18:40). They chose the scum rather than the Son of Man.

"Away with Him!" they cried, "We do not want this man to reign over us!" They had no use for Him. They turned away from His miracles, His commandments and His love for them. So He became "a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief".

He was not a worried man. God anointed Him with the "oil of gladness" (HEBREWS 1:9). However, He knew the depths of human suffering. He approached hurt people and met them on the lowest level. He suffered hunger, strain, loneliness, temptation, cursing, betrayal, accusations and death. He knew the sorrow and worries of mankind, much more than the high society of Jerusalem could ever have known. Maybe the worst of His sorrows was when "we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not".

However, He did all this for us. "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows." He identified himself with me. He knew my flesh. He ate with "sinners". He knew the daily strains of the working people. Sing and believe it, "Jesus knows everything about our daily fight..."

Thanks to God, "...we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." (HEBREWS 4:15). Jesus does not hide behind priesthood. He accompanies you on your way.

"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities." He was an atoning sacrifice, not a victim of circumstances.

Someone who does not know anything about salvation, may ask, "Who killed Jesus?" Pilate was involved. He tried to use any political opportunity to stay out of it. However, he was dependent on Caesar and "delivered him to be crucified" (MATTHEW 27:26).

Soldiers were also involved in it, but Jesus prayed for them, "...Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do..." (LUKE 23:34). The Jews also took part in it. They desperately wanted this great, mad deed to be done. They demanded the death of the "prince of life". Satan was also involved, for the Lord said to the serpent "...thou shalt bruise his heel" (GENESIS 3:15).

However, Isaiah says that God killed Him. He was "...smitten of God...yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him... the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all". The crucifixion was the fulfilment of God's wishes and intent. God "gave" His Son (JOHN 3:16). It was a preconceived plan.

"...The LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." Heed the words "of us all". They are words of triumph. They open every prison door. They signify a way out of the house of bondage and entry into the kingdom of God.

A Voluntary Sacrifice

"He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth..."

His silence was remarkable. It confused His enemies. When He was accused before the governor, "...he answered nothing" (MATTHEW 27:12). "As a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth." He did not show any resistance neither did He allow any. His sacrifice would be unjust and unworthy if it had been different.

He did not say anything to the council, until the high priest challenged Him with the most solemn vow, "I adjure thee by the living God..." He did not say anything to Pilate until His continuous silence would have been interpreted as a denial of His reign as King. He said nothing to Herod. Herod had no right to ask questions. He only wanted entertainment. For this reason he received no answer.

Jesus accepted the "cup" (MATTHEW 26:39,42). He said, "I lay down my life... No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself." (JOHN 10:17-18). As He was nailed to the cross, He did not resist. When He fought with death, He made intercession for the transgressors (see LUKE 23:34). These circumstances were already predicted in detail centuries before.

Who should explain it to His generation? "For he was cut off out of the land of the living." What family would He leave behind? Who would be His heir? It was a tragedy which every man in Israel feared. The psalmist thought about children when he said, "Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them" (PSALM 127:5), but Christ was never meant to have any and therefore had a bad reputation amongst the people.

"Cut off". His life ended abruptly. It was a violent end, an early end. The words "Cut off" describe it exactly. Every detail is described therein.

"He was numbered with the transgressors." He was known as a friend of the people and of sinners. He died between two criminals (JOHN 19:18) and finally shared the destiny of all mankind and was buried. "He made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death." How could a poor man be buried in such a way and cause such a stir? Normally, the bodies of the crucified would be thrown into the fires of Gehenna - the town's rubbish tip. However, Joseph of Arimathaea saved His body and Jesus was buried. His body had to be buried and not thrown away in order to fulfil the Scripture.

A Victorious Sacrifice

It was an official execution, witnessed by the ordinary people and dramatically highlighted by three hours of darkness and a heavy earthquake. It was a moment in history which was above all other moments.

But the story did not end with the death and burial. Christ's death was neither an accident nor a failure. There was a purpose to it.

"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." Although He did not have any natural seed, His spiritual seed multiplied, as He said it would. His death brought forth "much fruit" (JOHN 12:24).

It started with a "little flock" (LUKE 12:32), out of which "a great multitude, which no man could number" (REVELATION 7:9) will arise. Paul describes His seed in GALATIANS 3:26, "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus."

The one who was crucified shall successfully "bring many sons unto glory" (HEBREWS 2:10). That is why He was "cut off". He awoke from death to "prolong his days". Jesus fulfilled the law completely. Death could not hold Him - "it was not possible that he should be holden of it" (ACTS 2:24). He did not escape. He was set free. The punishment was fully atoned. Now "death hath no more dominion" over us, as it did not have dominion over Him. We take part in the victory, since He rose because of us. We died with Him and rose with Him. The cross would be a tragic failure without the empty grave.

How the joy of God grew by His hand! Jesus is the most successful person in history. His kingdom makes every other community appear inferior.

"By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities." To know Him means to live forever. This is not head knowledge or knowledge about Him. It is an experience. He died for all, but only those who accept Him can be justified. "And by him all that believe are justified from all things..." (ACTS 13:39).

"Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong." This picture of the returning conqueror is in accordance with Roman tradition. He is the triumphant hero. He shares the honour with His soldiers.

Jude speaks of a great company when he says, "...Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints" (JUDE 14), and every knee shall bow.

When Jesus said, "It is finished", the price for our redemption was fully paid. The plan of our Redemption was fulfilled. One day the Saviour will look back on all His suffering, and He will look back on all the souls which were redeemed by this suffering. Then He will say that He is "satisfied". The recompense for His "travail" shall then be real. At that moment I want to be there and rejoice in His victory. I want to praise the Lamb that was slain for my redemption.

by C. M. Ward
Source: "Pentecostal Evangel"
Translated from the German "Der vollkommene Plan der Erlösung"