“He Hath Put Him To Grief.”
Why did the Lord Jesus Christ die upon the cross? What was the cause of his death as our Substitute? According to the Book of God the Son of God was sent into the world to die for us because the Lord God loved us with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3; John 3:16; 13:1; I John 4:9-10). The Father loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. The Son loved us and came to die in our place. “He loved me and gave himself for me.” The Spirit loved us and formed the holy humanity of Christ in the womb of the virgin to be a sacrifice for our sins. The Lord Jesus Christ came into this world to die in order to accomplish his Father’s will. In the fullness of time God the Father took his dear Son from his bosom and freely delivered him up for us all. “Herein is love!” The offended Judge took his own holy Son, whom he dearly loved, and gave him up to suffer the pains of hell to accomplish the redemption of our souls, in order to save traitors and rebels who would never love him in return, except he create love in us! Our Lord Jesus Christ voluntarily laid down his life for us as our Substitute. When Isaiah says, “It pleased the LORD to bruise him,” we must not forget that he is the Lord God who did the bruising as well as the one bruised. Christ was not a forced Surety but a willing one, a willing Servant, a willing Savior, a willing Substitute, and a willing Sacrifice (Psalm 40:6-7; Pro. 8:23-31; Isaiah 50:5-7; John 10:17; Heb. 10:5-10; 12:2). Yet the unutterable agony of Christ’s death upon the cross was inflicted upon him by his Father’s own hand. We read of the terrible agonies he endured in Psalm 22 as he hung upon the cross, suffering the wrath of God. Those woes were aggravated by the fact that it was the Father’s hand that was turned upon his dear Son in wrath, and that at the very height of his obedience! “It pleased the LORD to bruise him.” Oh, how he bruised him!
Christ died a very violent death. His death could not be by natural causes. Christ was a penal Substitute. He had to die as a slain victim, as a sacrifice. He died a terribly painful death, tormented in body and in soul, beaten, crucified, and forsaken! He was forsaken by friends and mocked by men, made to be sin, and forsaken of God his Father! All for the satisfaction of God’s inflexible, holy justice! Our Redeemer died a horribly shameful death. He “endured the cross, despising the shame.” He died as a shameful man, and in a shameful condition: Naked and cursed! The Son of God died a specifically cursed death. It is written, “Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree.” Our great Savior died a slow, lingering death. Others gradually grew weaker as they suffered. He was full of life to the end. Others were given gall and myrrh to stupefy their senses. He was given gall and vinegar to intensify his pains. In all his pains and agonies, there were none to help, not even a sympathetic soul to look upon him with pity.
Here is the cause of our Savior’s death. Christ died because of God’s great love for his elect, because of his gracious purpose to save us, because there was no way for the holy and just Lord God to save us except by the satisfaction of justice in the death of the incarnate Son of God.