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August 8 Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 28-30
“A Man doth Travail with Child”
In order to take away our sins, the Lord Jesus had to fully experience and fully endure all the curses of God that fell upon our fallen parents in the Garden; he had to suffer the curses of the Triune God upon Adam, and the curses of the Triune God upon Eve. The curse could not be removed except it be exhausted. Review the curses the Lord God pronounced upon the fallen pair in the Garden. In Genesis 3:15, the Lord God promised redemption by the woman’s Seed; but redemption could not come without the curse being removed (Genesis 3:15-19; Galatians 3:13-14).
The Lord Jesus, in his own sacred person, literally and truly bore every curse of God against our father Adam, and his sin. In sorrow he ate his bread all the days of his earthly pilgrimage. He, and he alone, by way of emphasis, is peculiarly called, “The man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” He alone sweat a bloody sweat as a man in the Garden of Gethsemane. He it was who was crowned with thorns from the cursed earth. He said to the Father, “Thou hast brought me into the dust of death” (Psalm 22:15).
But how shall the curse be removed from the woman, the distinct curse God placed upon the woman? How shall the curse of conception, child bearing, and subjection be removed from the woman? Isaiah tells us, “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied” (Isaiah 53:11).
Thus, by the travail of his soul in death, the Lord Jesus gave birth to and brings all his children to Glory. — “Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? Wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces, are turned into paleness? Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it; it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble: but he shall be saved out of it” (Jeremiah 30:6-7).
What a delightful shock! Our all-glorious Christ is that Man, the God-man, our mighty Jacob, who supplanted death and hell for us, and won for us the birthright! He travailed for his children. And while all faces are turned into paleness by reason of sin, Christ, our glorious Jacob, our Israel, Jehovah’s Servant, in the great day of his soul’s travail, was saved out of it. Now, being saved out of his great travail and trouble, the Spirit of God declares, — “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied!” He remembers no more his travail and trouble and anguish, for joy of that multitude to whom he gives birth, as innumerable as the stars of heaven and the sand upon the shore!
Did the Lord Jesus really sustain in soul a travail like those throes of nature with which a woman is panged in giving birth? Did he travail in birth for his redeemed? Pause, O my soul, and very solemnly consider this astonishing thing. — The Travail of the God-man! He cried, — “The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me” (Psalm 18:5). We read the same thing again in Psalm 116:3. — “The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow.” Stronger expressions of agony and sorrow, of suffering and torment are not found anywhere.
“He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.” — Isaiah 53 contains the whole of the Gospel; and this expression in Isaiah 53:11 gives us the very essence of the wondrous mystery of redemption. Here the Prophet of God declares both the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow. If “the angels desire to look into these things,” — how much more should we desire to look into them? Everything stated here is true, and wonderful, and sublime, everything stated infinitely important, and absolutely necessary!
The allusion is obvious. — “A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world” (John 16:21). Both Isaiah and Jeremiah were inspired by God the Holy Spirit to use very strong and striking words to compare the risen Savior to a woman who has delivered a child. In each case there is suffering. In each case the suffering is followed by pleasure. And in each case the pleasure is looked upon as a complete recompense of the suffering. — The birth of the child repays the travail of the mother; and the salvation of God’s elect satisfies the Savior. — “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied.”