Chapter 12 The Prophetic Lamb Of God

He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7).

Our Lord as the Lamb of God is the central theme of all Scripture. It is the one theme which makes the Scriptures a consistent whole. The heart of its message is that “Christ died for our sins.” In verse seven of this chapter there is set forth those penal substitutionary and expiatory sufferings arising out of the sinfulness of man, and the disposition in which our Lord suffered them. The saving of men could only be accomplished by His bearing, in our room and stead, “the iniquity of us all.” That exposed Him to the extremest suffering and in the greatest extensity. “He was oppressed, and He was afflicted.” He made no resistance: He showed no reluctance. This was the cause for which He came.

The Lamb As the Central Theme

Until the Lord Jesus is seen as God’s appointed sacrifice to purchase our redemption, the soul of man drifts hopelessly toward the shores of eternal woe. But this chapter is blazoned with the fact of Christ as the substitutionary Lamb. There are seven statements which view His sacrifice from the point of view of our human needs. (1) “He hath borne our griefs”; (2) He “carried our sorrows”; (3) “He was wounded for our transgressions”; (4) “He was bruised for our iniquities”; (5) “The chastisement of our peace was upon Him”; (6) “With His stripes we are healed”; (7) “The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” He fully paid our debt—life for life. He submitted Himself to all the exactions demanded of us. He readily took man’s place and readily met man’s responsibilities. He approved the law which man had broken.

There are also seven statements which view our Lord’s sacrificial death from the viewpoint of God’s justice. (1) “For the transgression of My people was He stricken”; (2) “Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin”; (3) “By His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many”; (4) “He shall bear their iniquities”; (5) “He was numbered with the transgressors”; (6) “He bare the sin of many”; (7) He “made intercession for the transgressors.”

Between these two sevenfold differing points of view, we read in verse seven that “He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter.” That is central. The Lamb of God is in the midst where all can see Him. We must ever remember this about ourselves—that “all we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way.” We are in disgrace by our folly—rebellion—ingratitude—disobedience. “O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to Thee, my God; for our iniquities are increased over our head,” said Ezra in 9:6 of his book. But here is a sacrifice in a depth we can never probe—a height we can never reach—but only wonder and adore. The sacrifice of the Lamb of God is our salvation’s price.

The Lamb As the Strength of God

He is “the arm of the Lord”—which means the omnipotent strength of God. When Moses wrought a certain miracle in Egypt, the magicians acknowledged that “this is the finger of God.” What is set forth here in Christ is “the arm of God.” In His eternal Son, God has made bare His holy arm in the eyes of the nations. “The arm of the Lord” is that in which He displays and exerts His strength. Christ suffering is the most wonderful display of Divine power ever known. It was the arm of God in Christ which was to pull down all the strongholds of the enemy and bring down every high thing that had exalted itself. But it did take the full strength and power of God to destroy the strongholds of Satan and rescue man from sin’s tremendous woe. God could not leave man in such condition as he was and simply abandon him to Satan and so allow His own original intention in creating man to be defeated. Oh no! God would now exert all His strength, and that strength is put forth in the cross when His beloved Son bore all the weight and endured all the punishment which were due to us. Our only problem in life is our transgression—our sin—our iniquity—all of which are mentioned in this chapter. It took the whole strength of God to bear that crushing burden. Alas, the great majority are deaf to His report and blind to the arm of God.

The sacrifice of the cross is never a difficulty to a truly penitent sinner. It is the power of God unto salvation. The strength of God’s arm is in its saving power. There are many who stumble at the Cross and, until they learn by the Spirit’s aid the strength of its power—receive its message—prove its power in themselves—they must remain lost. The one deep, stark reality behind the cross is that there is a real Gehenna—a real hell of torment. It is where souls are lost and lost forever. The cross is God’s method of removing the whole thing which is called sin, and restoring man again into His own image and likeness.

The Lamb As the Start of a New Creation

“He shall see His seed” (verse 10). In chapter six the prophet sees the Lord “sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up”—Christ in His exaltation. There then follows almost thirty chapters of judgments upon the nations, for, as Daniel said, “the heavens do rule.” But what staggers and baffles the prophet, and which also does our own mind and heart, is to see this high and lofty One “brought as a lamb to the slaughter.” Whoever heard of a king dying for his subjects? - but these are the things of God and not the things of men.

The prophet then moves past the cross into the triumph of His resurrection. “He shall see His seed”—“He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied” (v. 11). It means a new generation shall arise. This is the consequence of our Lord’s sacrifice. After being “cut off out of the land of the living” and “His soul made an offering for sin”—“He shall see His seed.” He shall have a spiritual posterity. Those who are born again of His Spirit are “His seed”—His children—the product of His life-giving energy and who therefore bear His image and likeness. They are “the many” whose sins He bore. “He shall see of the travail of His soul”—that is, the product—“and shall be satisfied.” Because of the travail of His soul, He shall see the effect and produce of it—and “be satisfied.”

My Lord, my Master, at Thy feet adoring,
I see Thee bowed beneath Thy load of woe;
For me, a sinner, in Thy life-blood pouring:
For Thee, my Saviour, scarce my tears will flow.

With taunts and scoffs they mock what seems Thy weakness,
With blows and outrage adding pain to pain;
Thou art unmoved and steadfast in Thy meekness;
When I am wronged how quickly I complain.

My Lord, my Saviour, when I see Thee wearing
Upon Thy bleeding brow the crown of thorn,
Shall I for pleasure live, or shrink from bearing
Whate’er my lot may be of pain or scorn?

O Victim of Thy love! O pangs most healing!
O saving death! O wounds that I adore!
O shame most glorious! Christ, before Thee kneeling,
I pray Thee keep me Thine for evermore.

—J. Bridaine