458. The Friend of Sinners — Isaiah 53:12

“He was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”—Isaiah 53:12.

Main Points:
He was numbered with transgressors – 8:00
He bore the sin of many – 23:05
He made intercession for transgressors – 32:36


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O God, upon thy throne, wilt thou let the innocent suffer? He is fast nailed to the tree, and cries in agony, “I thirst.” Wilt thou permit this man to be numbered with transgressors? Is it rightly done? It is; heaven confirms it. He has no sin of his own, but he has the sin of his people upon his shoulders; and God, the Eternal Judge, shows that he too considers him to be in the roll of transgressors, for he veils his face; and the Eternal Father betakes him to his hiding-place, and Christ can neither see a smile nor a glance of his Father’s face, till he shrieks in agony so unutterable, that the words cannot express the meaning of the Redeemer’s soul, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” The only answer from heaven being, “I must forsake transgressors; thou art numbered with them, and therefore, I must forsake thee.” But surely the doom will not be fulfilled? Certainly, he will be taken down ere he dies? Death is the curse for sin; it cannot come on any but transgressors; it is impossible for the innocent to die, as impossible as for immortality to be annihilated. Surely, then, the Lord will deliver his Son at the last moment, and having tried him in the furnace, he will bring him out? Nay, not so; he must become obedient to death, even the death of the cross. He dies without a protest on the part of earth, or heaven, or hell; he that was numbered with the transgressors, having worn the transgressor’s crown of thorns, lies in the trangressor’s grave. “He made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.” It is a marvellous thing, brethren, a marvellous thing! Who ever heard of an angel being numbered with devils? Who ever heard of Gabriel being numbered with fiends? But this is more marvellous than that would be. Here is the Son of God numbered, not with the sons of men (that were a gracious act) but numbered with transgressors; numbered, not with the faithful who struggle after purity; numbered, not with those who repel temptation and resist sin; numbered, not with those who earn unto themselves a good degree and much boldness in the faith—that were a marvellous condescension; but here it is written, “He was numbered with the transgressors.”

…if Christ did really bear his people’s sins, and did bear them away—and since a thing cannot be in two places at one time, there is now no sin abiding upon those for whom Jesus died. “And who are they?” you say. Why, all those who trust him. Any man whatsoever, the wide world over, who shall ever trust Christ, may know that no sin can be with him because his sin was laid on Christ. Oh, I do delight in this precious doctrine! If anything could unloose my poor stammering tongue, this might, to see sin literally transferred so that there is none left! I cannot express the delight and joy of my soul at this moment, in contemplation of the blessed deliverance and release which Christ has given.

Oh! it is this that breaks a man’s heart; to think that Christ should have been loving me, with the whole force of his soul, while I was despising him, and would have nothing to do with him. There is a man there who has been cursing, and swearing, and blaspheming, and the very man whom he has cursed has been crying “Father, forgive him, for he knows not what he does.” O sinner, I would this might break thy heart, and bring thee to the Saviour.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon


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