Isaiah 53:11 - The Satisfaction of the Saviour

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The Messiah in Isaiah Bible Study

Isaiah 53:11 - The Satisfaction of the Saviour

by I Gordon

Mat 13:44 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.


Now you'll have to bear with me for I have a bit of a lurgy [1] at the moment so please ignore any sniffles and coughs as you read it. We've been working through Isaiah chapter 53 obviously and we've only got two verses left. I thought this was going to be it...that the end is nigh... but I'm not ready to finish yet! So we'll only do one of the two verses today and that lucky verse is number 11 [2] .

So far we have seen what would happen to the Messiah from man's perspective - That is, that He would be rejected, despised and pierced (crucified) leading to His death. We saw last time a little more from God's perspective in that behind it all, the Lord was pleased to crush Him because of what His special unique death would achieve. But what about the Messiah Himself?... What about Jesus? What was the motivation inside His heart that would propel Him forward and allow Him to endure all that He had to go through? Well... That is a mighty fine question you are asking there and coincidently exactly what this study is all about! With a bit of luck, verse 11 should hopefully answer that for us today.

The Satisfaction of the Saviour

Isaiah 53:11 As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied.

The start of this verse tells us that something will result from the anguish (or travail as other versions put it), and that Jesus will see it and be satisfied. He will see it! As he went through the mocking, the rejection, the anguish and the excruciating pain of the cross, He could see 'IT' and 'IT' brought Him satisfaction. So the million dollar question is... 'What is IT?' Well, before looking at what IT is, let's look at that word 'satisfied'. We use 'satisfied' in a few ways and it doesn't always convey what it's meant to in this verse. [3] The word 'satisfied' in the Hebrew is śâba‛ (pronounced saw-bah) meaning to sate, that is, fill completely to satisfaction... have plenty of to the point of being full.' [4]

So this verse in Isaiah is telling us that the Messiah, through everything, will be completely satisfied because of something that He sees... the mysterious 'IT' of verse 11! So what is IT? What would bring Him complete satisfaction? Well, it's a not so-secret secret... You are 'IT'! [5]

Writing on this verse and the satisfaction of seeing His seed, the Baptist minister of old, John Gill wrote:

'... as a woman, after her travail and sharp pains are over, having brought forth a son, looks upon it with joy and pleasure, and is satisfied, and forgets her former pain and anguish; so Christ, after all his sorrows and sufferings, sees a large number of souls regenerated, sanctified, justified, and brought to heaven... which is a most pleasing and satisfactory sight unto him.'

So this verse has the imagery of a mother with her newborn and the intense joy after the travail. Maybe you are a mother and in which case there is an extremely good chance you may know a lot more about this than me! If that is the case then you will hopefully understand how Jesus was able to keep looking to that which would result from His travail and anguish... spotless sons of God clothed in His righteousness and likeness!

The Magical Inward Drive

Let's look at this another way... what was the inward drive that propelled Jesus to the cross? What emotion did He have spurring Him on? I'm looking for a small word. Starts with J, ends in Y and might have an O somewhere in the middle. JOY! Heb 12:2 'For the joy set before Him He endured the cross.' You see, Jesus saw all those that would become new creations, spotless, adopted into the family of God, and indwelt with God's spirit. So through the rejection, the spitting, the mocking and the pain... the fact is that there was joy in His heart. Let's look at one example of this:

Mat 13:44 The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

The key to this parable have been given to us earlier when Jesus gave the interpretation of the parable of the sower and the seed. The 'field' is the world and the 'man' is Jesus Himself. Within the world there was a 'treasure' that Jesus could see and one that brought Him such joy that He was willing to sell all that He had (His position with the Father, becoming a man and losing everything, even His life, by going to the cross) so that He could purchase the world and thus gain the treasure (His people) that filled Him with such joy. It is an interesting thought that God would have such a great desire for us is it not? [6] God has everything. He can speak anything into being and is totally self sufficient within Himself. Yet He is also intense love. And that love desires someone to pour its love out on... And, hopefully, to be loved back. That's why both the Old and New Testament says what God wants and inherits through this whole plan... It is you and me, His people. This intense love desires to give to people, but also desires that that through their free will, people will choose to love Him back. What do you get the God who has everything? He only ever wants one thing - the hearts of His people. Let's look at an Old and New Testament verse about this:

Deuteronomy 32:9-11 For the LORD's portion is his people, Jacob his allotted inheritance . (10) In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye, (11) like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them on its pinions.

Ephesians 1:18-19 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, (19) and his incomparably great power for us who believe.

Both of these verses tell us the same important point - that God has an inheritance and it is His people! That is His portion that He desires. And that is what Jesus saw and brought overwhelming joy even in the midst of the suffering of the cross.

A recap on justification...

Isa 53:11 By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities.

This second part of Isaiah 53:11 can be taken two ways -

  1. 'By His knowledge' (as above, meaning the Messiah's knowledge of God's will, leading to the cross) will bring about justification for the many.
  2. It can equally be translated 'by the knowledge of Him' (meaning through our knowledge of the Messiah and what He did, the many will be justified.)

Either way, He will justify the many! 'Justified' means to be declared 'righteous' before God. On the negative side it is 'Just as if I had never sinned.' On the positive side it is 'Just as if I done everything right!' [7] That is the believers standing before God. How come? Because He will bear their iniquities! He will take them upon Himself. In the last study I read last time from the book of Hebrews that quoted Jesus saying: Heb 10:7 'BEHOLD, I HAVE COME (IN THE SCROLL OF THE BOOK IT IS WRITTEN OF ME) TO DO YOUR WILL, O GOD.' Well, straight after that verse we learn about the results of Jesus performing the will of God:

Heb 10:10 By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Heb 10:14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.

Justifying the many...

I also like that it says in the Isaiah passage that He will justify the 'many'. You will remember that Jesus said that ' many will come from the east and the west and sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of God .' When John saw the redeemed in Heaven he saw '... a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb... They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes" Rev 7:9-10,16-17

Yep, Jesus is satisfied. Salvation will reach every tribe, every tongue and every people group! Jesus' inheritance shall be a great multitude without number. [8]

Conclusion and a verse to tie it all up!

As we conclude, let's look at a verse that ties up our satisfaction at being found like Him, with His satisfaction and joy over finally having His treasure, His people, finally and completely with Him. The verse is Jude 24 and 25. (Amplified version):

Jude 1:24,25 Now to Him Who is able to keep you without stumbling or slipping or falling, and to present [you] unblemished (blameless and faultless) before the presence of His glory in triumphant joy and exultation [with unspeakable, ecstatic delight]-- To the one only God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory (splendor), majesty, might and dominion, and power and authority, before all time and now and forever (unto all the ages of eternity). Amen (so be it).

Now that is an awesome verse. Look at how it describes the joy of that day - ' triumphant joy and exultation with unspeakable, ecstatic delight.' The question is often asked (and commentaries will have different answers for it) as to whose joy the verse speaks of - Christ's joy or our joy? The answer as far as I am concerned is 'both'. The joy and satisfaction to the full that we have read concerning the Saviour will meet with the awesome joy of the one who through grace can stand in His presence blameless and faultless. Oh what a day!

As so, as you see that day approaching, allow the love of Christ to control and compel you on even further in this walk of faith.

For the love of Christ controls and urges and impels us, because we are of the opinion and conviction that if One died for all, then all died; And He died for all, so that all those who live might live no longer to and for themselves, but to and for Him Who died and was raised again for their sake. (2Co 5:14-15)

[1]  I have a particular type of cold apparently. It is called a, um, 'man-cold'. I had to give this message on Isaiah 53:11 at church this morning and when I said that they would have to bear with me for I had been told that I have a 'man-cold' I would say that probably 50% of the congregation instantly spoke up with one voice saying 'Oh those are the worst type!'. So that 50% of the church, surprisingly all male, gave me great sympathy. The other 50% obviously don't agree or realise how bad a man cold can actually be!

[2]  Then when I'm left with one verse next time we'll split that down the middle and do half. Then we'll half the remaining half that is left giving us a quarter. And when finally down to one or two words we'll start looking at the meaning of syllables. This could go on forever! No, it's not going to be the next Coronation Street. The next time is the last time on Isaiah 53. I've just been enjoying it a lot myself so was happy to stretch it out a little but all good things come to an end (apart from grace and salvation!). Trust you are ok with that.

[3]  For example, say that someone is selling their car for $10,000 and I say that 'I'll give you $2000 for it.' And they say that they'll come down to $9,900 and I say 'How about $5,000?' To which they reply that their lowest is $9,850 - take it or leave it... And I say, 'Mmmm, ok, I'm satisfied with that. You've got a deal!' Well, the use of 'satisfied' in that sense gives the idea that it is ok... I'm happy enough but I haven't really got the deal I was really hoping for! But that is not what 'satisfied' means here as we shall see.

[4]  Interestingly, it is the same word as in Psa 17:15 which says 'As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.' David wasn't just saying, 'yeah, I'll be satisfied with that - that will be ok.' No, He was saying that he will be 'satisfied to the full!' He was saying that he will be 'completely utterly satisfied - I'll be in His likeness!' Are you satisfied now? Are you satisfied with your Christian life? If we are honest, most would say 'No - I'm not completely satisfied'. That's ok. It is normal. It doesn't necessarily mean something is wrong! In this life we get experiences and touches from the Lord when we do we experience again something of His intense love. Sometimes we are left with the thought - Who is this God? Yet, we are still in training down here and he desires for us to grow and walk in faith, not sight. So there can be long periods where God seems distant or absent. But let me tell you that if you are a believer in Jesus Christ you will be satisfied - to the full. I'll give an example of that at the end of this study.

[5]  In connection to the John Gill quote above, F. B. Meyer writes: 'Each time one comes to Him, and finds healing, peace and salvation in his words, cleansing in his precious blood, shelter beneath the outspread arms of his cross, he sees his seed, he sees of the travail of his soul, and is satisfied; he is vindicated, and recompensed for all his pain.'

[6]  There is a saying 'what do you get for the person who has everything?' At Christmas we pick a name from a hat and purchase one present for that person. So sometimes you get someone who is easy to buy for, sometimes it's a bit of a nightmare! My sister is hard to buy for but EVERYONE wants to get her as the person buying the present for them! My brother is easy to buy for but you don't want him buying for you! : ) So what do you get the God who has everything? Well there is something that He wants, as we have been discussing and both Old and New Testaments show us what God's portion is through this whole plan... We'll look at that soon.

[7]  Try to understand the positive side of justification because it isn't just bringing the believer into a neutral position. For example, if I owed the grocery shop $10,000 (I do enjoy food) and they saw that I am a man of poor means (yet obviously expensive tastes!) then they could declare my debt cancelled. They could wipe the slate clean and I could start again. Well, that would be good and I wouldn't say no yet with my bad eating habits it wouldn't take long before I'm back in debt again. Justification is not just wiping the slate clean. It is having the grocery store cancel my debt and giving me unlimited credit at the shop. Justification is not just having your debt of sin cleared. It is also have the righteousness of Christ added to your account. And that is the positive side of justification!

[8]  J. Vernon McGee wrote: 'We have a living and rejoicing Savior, for His suffering led to satisfaction. He took our hell that we might have His heaven. He is happy, for down through the ages multitudes, yes, millions, have come to Him and found sweet release from guilt, pardon for wrongdoing, and healing from the leprosy of sin. Christ said there is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, and that number can be multiplied by millions. Think of the joy and satisfaction of Christ today! We have a happy Christ, a joyful Christ, and it is going to be fun to be in His presence.'