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“Thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin.”
I understand the biblical doctrine of the atonement. “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission,” not because God is vengeful and cruel, but because he is good, righteous, and holy. I understand something of the agony of our Savior’s tormented body. I can even understand the torments of his broken heart to some degree. But here, the prophet of God speaks about something I simply cannot comprehend: the sufferings of our Savior’s holy soul.
“Much we talk of Jesus’ blood,
But how little’s understood!
Of his sufferings so intense
Angels have no perfect sense.
Who can rightly comprehend
Their beginning or their end?
`Tis to God and God alone
That their weight is fully known.
See the suffering Son of God-
Panting, groaning, sweating blood!
Boundless depths of love Divine!
Jesus, what a love was thine!”
The Son of God was made sin for us! I am certain that there is more to the sufferings of our Lord for us than the mere legal, or forensic term “imputation” implies. His heart was not broken simply because he was made to be legally responsible for the debt of our sins. Our sins were not pasted on him, or merely placed to his account. The Lord Jesus Christ was “made sin for us!”
When he was made to be sin for us, the Lord God made his soul an offering for sin! Those words, “when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin,” imply much more than “a sin-atoning sacrifice.” They carry the idea of fault, guilt, guiltiness. In fact, the words would be better translated “when thou shalt make his soul sin,” or “when thou shalt make his soul a trespass,” or “when thou shalt make his soul guilt, or guiltiness!”
When our dear Savior was most perfectly obedient to his God and Father and our God and Father, as our Representative, his Father forsook him! On one occasion, after reading, studying, and praying over our Savior’s cry, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me,” for hours, Martin Luther slammed his hand on his desk and cried, “God forsaken of God, my God, no man can understand that!”
When the Lord Jesus was made sin for us, when he was forsaken of God as our Substitute, the sun was turned into darkness! There was three hours of darkness over the earth and all the light Israel had enjoyed for 2,000 years was turned into darkness to them. The moon turned into blood! All the law of God, the moral law and the ceremonial law was fulfilled by the blood-letting of God’s sword of justice! At last, the Sun of Righteousness was buried in the dark, dark tomb of death. Then, on the third day, he arose with healing in his wings! — “With his stripes we are healed!”