2499. Christopathy

by Charles H. Spurgeon on June 13, 2018

No. 2499-43:13. A Sermon Delivered On Thursday Evening, April 30, 1885, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, January 10, 1897.

With his stripes we are healed. {Isa 53:5}

 For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 834, “Universal Remedy, The” 825}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1068, “Simple Remedy, A” 1059}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2000, “Healing by the Stripes of Jesus” 2001}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2499, “Christopathy” 2500}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2887, “Dire Disease Strangely Cured, A” 2888}
   Exposition on Ex 29:38-46 Isa 53 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3458, “Redeeming the Unclean” 3460 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Isa 53; 55:1-7 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2534, “Greatest Gift in Time or Eternity, The” 2535 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Isa 53 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2290, “God’s Unspeakable Gift” 2291 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Isa 53 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2499, “Christopathy” 2500 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Isa 53 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2827, “Redeemer Described by Himself, The” 2828 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Isa 53 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2840, “Laying the Hand on the Sacrifice” 2841 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Isa 53 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3436, “Christ Glorified” 3438 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Ps 38 Isa 53 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2911, “Cases of Conscience” 2912 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Ro 6 Isa 53 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3347, “Things to be Remembered” 3349 @@ "Exposition"}

1. Brethren, whenever we come to talk about the passion of our Lord, — and that subject is clearly brought before us here by the two words, “his stripes,” — our feelings should be deeply solemn, and our attention intensely earnest. Take off your shoes from your feet when you draw near to this burning bush, for God is in it. If ever the spirit should be deeply penitential, and yet humbly confident, it ought to be so when we hear the lash falling on the divine and human person of our blessed Master, and see him wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities.

2. Stand still, then, and see your Lord and Master fastened up to the Roman column, and cruelly scourged. Hear the terrible strokes, see the bleeding wounds, and see how he becomes a mass of pain in his blessed body. Then note how his soul also is flagellated. Listen how the whips fall on his spirit, until his innermost heart is wounded with the tortures, all but unbearable, which he endures for us. I charge my own heart to meditate on this solemn theme without a single wandering thought, and I pray that you and I may be able to think together on the matchless sufferings of Incarnate Love until our hearts melt within us in grateful love to him.

3. Remember, brothers and sisters, that we were practically there when Jesus suffered those terrible stripes.

    ’Twas you, my sins, my cruel sins,
       His chief tormentors were;
    Each of my crimes became a nail,
       And unbelief the spear.

We certainly had a share in his sorrows. Oh, that we were equally certain that “with his stripes we are healed.” You struck him, dear friend, and you wounded him; therefore, do not rest until you can say, “with his stripes I am healed.” We must have a personal interest in this suffering One if we are to be healed by his stripes. We must get to lay our own hands on this great sacrifice, and so accept it as being made on our behalf; for it would be a wretched thing to know that Christ was struck, but not to know that “with his stripes we are healed.” I wish that no one should go out from this service without being able to say to himself as he left, “Yes, blessed be his name, ‘with his stripes I am healed.’ The disease of sin is put away by the sacred balsam which drops from the side of the Crucified. From that mortal disease which would otherwise have surely destroyed me, I am restored by his sufferings, his griefs, his death.” And then, all together, may we be able to say, “with his stripes we are healed.”

4. I. Observe, dear friends, first of all, that GOD HERE TREATS SIN AS A DISEASE.

5. There would be no need to talk about healing if sin had not been regarded by God as a disease. It is a great deal more than a disease, it is a wilful crime; but still it is also a disease. It is often very difficult to separate the part in a crime which disease of the mind may have, and that portion which is distinctly wilful. We need not make this separation ourselves. If we were to do so in order to excuse ourselves, that would only be increasing the evil; and if we do it for any other reason, we are so apt to be partial, that I am afraid we should ultimately make some kind of palliation for our sin which would not bear the test of the day of judgment. It is only because of God’s sovereignty, and his infinite grace, and his strong resolve to have mercy on men that, in this case, he wills to look on sin as a disease. He does not conceal from himself, or from us, that it is a great and grievous fault; he calls it a trespass, a transgression, iniquity, and other terms that describe its true character. Never in Scripture do we find any excuse for sin, or lessening of its heinousness; but in order that he might have mercy on us, and deal graciously with us, the Lord is pleased to regard it as a disease, and then to come and treat us as a physician treats his patients, so that he may cure us of the evil.

6. Sin is a disease, first, because it is not an essential part of man as he was created. It is something abnormal, it was not in human nature at the first. “God made man upright.” Our first parent, as he came fresh from the hand of his Maker, was without taint or speck of sin; he had a healthy body inhabited by a healthy soul. There was about him no tendency to evil, he was created pure and perfect; and sin does not enter into the constitution of man, per se, as God made it. It is something which has come into us from outside. Satan came with his temptation, and sin entered into us, and death by sin. Therefore, let no man, in any sense whatever, attribute sin to God as the Creator. Let him look at sin as being something extraneous to a man, something which ought never to have a locus standi {fixed place} within our nature at all, something that is disturbing and destructive, a poisoned dart that is sticking in our flesh, existing in our nature, and that has to be extracted by divine and sovereign grace.

7. And, secondly, sin is like a disease because it puts all the faculties out of order, and breaks the equilibrium of the life-forces, just as disease disturbs all our bodily functions. When a man is sick and ill, nothing about him works as it ought to do. There are some particular symptoms which, first of all, betray the existence of the virus of disease; but you cannot injure any one power of the body without the rest being in their measure put out of order. So sin has come into the soul of man, and put him altogether out of order. Sometimes, a certain passion becomes predominant in a person quite out of proportion to the rest of his manhood. Things that might have been right in themselves, grow by indulgence into positive evils, while other things which ought to have had a clear existence are suppressed until the suppression becomes a crime. It is sin that makes us wrong, and makes everything about us wrong, and makes us suffer we do not know how much. The worst of the matter is, that we do not ourselves readily perceive that we are the evildoers, and we begin, perhaps, to judge others who are right, and because they are not precisely in the same condition as ourselves, we make our sinful selves to be the standard of equity, and consider that they are wrong, when all the while the evil is in ourselves. As long as a man is under the power of sin, his soul is under the power of a disease which has disturbed all his faculties, and taken away the correct action from every part of his being. Hence, God sees sin to be a disease, and we ought to thank him that, in his gracious condescension, he deals with it in that way, instead of calling it what it really is, a crime deserving instant punishment.

8. Further, my friends, sin is a disease because it weakens the moral energy, just as many diseases weaken the sick person’s body. A man, under the influence of some particular disease, becomes quite incapacitated for his ordinary work. There was a time when he was strong and athletic, but disease has entered his system, and so his nerves have lost their former force, and he, who would be the helper of others, becomes impotent, and needs to be waited on himself. How often is a strong man brought down to utter helplessness! He who used to run like a hare must now be led out if he is to breathe the fresh air of heaven; he who once could cut with the axe, or strike with the hammer, must now be lifted and carried like a child. You all know how greatly the body is weakened by disease, and it is just so with sin and the spirit. Sin takes away all power from the soul. Does not the apostle speak of us as being “without strength” when “in due time Christ died for the ungodly?” The man does not have the power or the will to believe in Christ, but yet he can believe a lie most readily, and he has no difficulty in cheating himself into self-conceit. The man does not have the strength to stop sinning, though he has power to pursue it with even greater energy. He is weak in the knees, so that he cannot pray; he is weak in the eyes, so that he cannot see Jesus as his Saviour; he is weak in the feet, so that he cannot draw near to God; he has withered hands, dumb lips, deaf ears, and he is palsied in his whole system. Oh sin, you take away from man the strength he needs with which to make the pilgrimage to heaven, or to go out to war in the name of the Lord of hosts! Sin does all this, and yet men love it, and will not turn from it to him who alone can destroy its deadly power.

9. I know that I am speaking to some who are well aware that sin has thrown their whole nature out of order, and taken away all their power to do what is right. You, my friend, have come into this place, which is like the pool of Bethesda, with its five porches, and you have said in your heart, “Oh, that the great Physician would come and heal me! I cannot step into the pool of his infinite mercy and love, though I would gladly lie there waiting on the means of grace; but I know that I shall find no benefit in the means of grace unless the Lord, who is the Giver of grace, shall come to me, and say, as he said to the man at the pool, ‘Rise, take up your bed, and walk.’ ” Oh, what an awful mass of disease there is all around us in these streets, and in these myriads of houses! Sin has done for mankind the most dreadful deeds; it is the direst of all calamities, the worst of all infections.

10. And, further, sin is like a disease because it either causes great pain, or deadens all sensibility, as the case may be; I do not know which one might rather choose, whether to be so diseased as to be full of pain, or to be suddenly stricken by a paralytic stroke, so as not to be able to feel at all. In spiritual things, the latter is the worse of the two evils. There are some sinners who appear to feel nothing; they sin, but their conscience does not accuse them concerning it. They purpose to go even further into sin, and they reject Christ, and turn aside from him even when the Spirit of God is striving with them, for they are insensitive to the wrong they are doing. They do not feel, they cannot feel, and, alas! they do not even want to feel; they are callous and obdurate, and, as the apostle says, “past feeling.” When they read or hear of the judgment to come, they do not tremble. When they are told about the love of Christ, they do not yield to him. They can hear about his sufferings, and remain altogether unmoved; they have no fellowship with his sufferings, and scarcely know what the expression means. Sin is dear to them, even though it killed the Lord of glory himself. This paralysis, this deadening of the powers is a very terrible phase of the disease of sin.

11. In some others, sin causes constant misery. I do not mean that godly sorrow which leads to penitence, for sin never brings its own repentance; but by way of remorse, or else of ungratified desire, or restlessness such as is natural to men who try to fill their immortal spirits with the empty joys of this poor world. Are there not many who, if they had all they have ever wished for, would still wish for more? If they could at this moment gratify every desire they have, they would only be as men who drink the brine of the sea, whose thirst is not quenched by it, but only increased. Oh, believe me, you will never be content with the pleasures of this world, if your mind is at all aroused and awakened concerning your state in the sight of God! If you are given over to spiritual paralysis, you may be without feeling; but that is a deadly sign indeed. But if there is any kind of spiritual life within you, the more you sin the more uneasy you will become. There is no way of peace by plunging more deeply into sin, as some think they will do, — drowning dull care in the flowing bowl, or endeavouring to show their hardihood by rushing into still viler forms of lust, in order that they may, somehow or other, be satisfied and content. No, this disease creates a hunger which increases as you feed it, it engenders a thirst which becomes all the more intense the more you try to satisfy it.

12. Sin is also like a disease, because it frequently produces an obvious pollution. All disease in the body pollutes it in some way or other. Turn the microscope on the part affected, and you will soon discover that there is something obnoxious there. But sin in the soul pollutes terribly in the sight of God. There are quiet, respectable sins which men can conceal from their fellow creatures, so that they can keep their place in society, and seem to be all that they ought to be; but there are other sins which, like the leprosy of old, are white on their brows. There are sins that are to be seen in the outward appearance of the man; his speech betrays him, his walk and conversation indicate what is going on within his heart. It is a dreadful thing for the sinner to remember that he is a polluted being; until he is washed in Christ’s precious blood, he is a being with whom God can have no kind of communion. Men have to isolate infected people from other people; under the Jewish law, when men were in a certain stage of disease, they had to be isolated altogether from their fellow men, and certainly could not come into the house of the Lord. Oh my hearers, there are some of you who, if your bodies were as diseased as your souls are, would not dare even to show your faces in the streets; and some of us, who have been washed in the blood of Jesus, have felt ourselves to be so foul, so vile, so filthy, that if we could have ceased to exist we would have welcomed annihilation as a blessing! I remember the time when, under a sense of sin, I was afraid to pray. I groaned out a prayer of a kind; but I felt as if the very earth must be weary of bearing up such a sinner, and that the stars in their courses must be anxious to shoot baleful fires on the one who was so defiled. Perhaps some of you have felt as I did, and now you join me in saying, “But we are washed, but we are sanctified, but we are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” The disease that was on us was worse than the foulest leprosy, more infectious than the most terrible fever, causing greater deformity than the dropsy, and working in us worse ills than the most foul disease that can ever happen to the bodies of men. I wish that men only saw that, although the picture I have tried to draw is terrible indeed, yet it is most gracious on God’s part to treat them as diseased people needing to be cured, rather than as criminals waiting to be executed.

13. Once more, sin is like disease because it tends to increase in the man, and will one day prove fatal to him. You cannot say to disease, “You shall come so far, but no farther.” There are some diseases that seem to come very gradually, but they come very surely. There is the hectic flush, the trying cough, the painful breathing, and we begin to feel that consumption is coming; and very soon, — terribly soon to those who love them, — those who were once hale and hearty, to all appearance, become like walking skeletons, for the painful disease has laid its cruel hand on them, and will not let them go. So, my friend, as long as sin is in you, you need not deceive yourself, and think you can get rid of it whenever you wish, for you cannot. It must be driven out by a higher power than your own; this disease must be cured by the great Physician, or else it will keep on increasing until at last you die. Sin will grow on you until, “when it is finished, it causes death.” May God grant that, before that awful ending is reached, the Lord Jesus Christ may come and cure you, so that you may be able to say, “With his stripes we are healed.”

14. Sin is a contagious disease, which passes from one to another. It is hereditary; it is universal; it is incurable; it is a mortal malady; it is a disease which no human physician can heal. Death, which ends all bodily pain, cannot cure this disease; it displays its utmost power in eternity, after the seal of perpetuity has been set on it by the mandate, “He who is filthy, let him be filthy still.” It is, in fact, such a disease that you were born with it, and you will bear it with you for ever and ever, unless this wonderful prescription, of which we are now to speak, shall be accepted by you, and shall work in you the divine good pleasure, so that you shall be able to say, “With his stripes we are healed.”

15. II. Now, secondly, we see from our text that GOD HERE DECLARES THE REMEDY WHICH HE HAS PROVIDED. Jesus Christ, his dear Son, has taken on himself our nature, and suffered on the cross in our place, and God the Father has delivered him up for us all, so that we might be able to say, “With his stripes we are healed.”

16. First, dear friends, behold the heavenly medicine, — the stripes of Jesus in body and in soul. Picture him before your mind’s eye. He is scourged by the rough Roman soldiers until the sacred stream rolls down his back in a crimson tide, and he is scourged within as well as without until he cries, in utmost agony, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He is fastened to the cruel wood, his hands and feet and brow are all bleeding, and his innermost soul is poured out even to death, — whatever that amazing expression may mean. He bears the sin of many, the chastisement of their peace is on him, he is bruised for their iniquities, and wounded for their transgressions. If you would be healed of sin’s sickness, here is the medicine. Is it not extraordinary surgery? Surgeons usually give us pain while trying to cure us, but here is a Physician who bears the pain himself, and heals us by it. Here is no medicine for us to take, for it has all been taken by him. He suffers, he groans, he dies; and it is by his griefs and agonies that we are healed.

17. Then, next, remember that the sufferings of Christ were vicarious. He stood in our place so that we might stand in his place. He took our sin on himself; and being found with that sin on him, he was made to bear the penalty that was due for it; and he did bear it, and this is the way by which we are healed, by Jesus Christ himself taking our infirmities, and bearing our sicknesses. This doctrine of substitution is the grandest of all truths, and though all these years I have continued to preach nothing else but this, what better news can I tell a poor sinner than that the Saviour has taken his sins, and borne his sorrows for him? Take away the doctrine of the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ, and you have torn out the very heart of the gospel. “The blood is its life”; and you have no living gospel to preach if atonement by blood is once put into the background. But, oh poor soul, if you believe that Jesus is the Christ, and that Christ took your sins, and bore them in his own body on the tree where he died, “the Just for the unjust, to bring us to God,” you are saved, and saved for ever!

18. This is how it is that “with his stripes we are healed.” Accept this atonement, and you are saved by it. Does someone enquire, “How am I to get this atonement applied to my soul?” Well, first, the patient shows his wounds, and exhibits the progress of the disease; then, prayer begs for the divine surgery; next, belief in Christ is the linen cloth which binds on the plaster. If you believe in Jesus Christ, if you will accept the testimony of God concerning his Son whom he has presented to be the propitiation for sin, and rely only on him for salvation, you shall be saved. Faith, that is, trust, is the hand that brings the plaster to the wound, and holds it there until the blessed balsam has destroyed the venom that is within us. Trust yourself with him who died for you, and you are saved; and continuing still to trust him, you shall daily feel the power of his expiation, the marvellous healing that comes by his stripes. Repentance is the first symptom of that healing. When the proud flesh begins to yield, when the wretched swelling begins to break, and the soul that was formerly swollen through trying to conceal its sin bursts with confession and acknowledgment of its transgression, then it is being healed by the stripes of Jesus. This is God’s wonderful remedy for the soul-sickness of sin.

19. But let me ask you to notice that you must let nothing of your own interfere with this divine remedy: “With his stripes we are healed.” You see where prayer comes in; it does not heal, but it asks for the remedy. You see where trust comes in; it is not trust that heals, that is man’s application of the great remedy. You see where repentance comes in; that is not what cures, it is a part of the cure, one of the first signs that the blessed medicine has begun to work in the soul. “With his stripes we are healed.” Will you notice that fact? The healing of a sinner does not lie in himself, nor in what he is, nor in what he feels, nor in what he does, nor in what he vows, nor in what he promises. It is not in himself at all; but there, at Gabbatha, where the pavement is stained with the blood of the Son of God, and there, at Golgotha, where the place of a skull beholds the agonies of Christ. It is in his stripes that the healing lies. I beseech you, do not scourge yourself: “With his stripes we are healed.” Please, do not think that, by some kind of spiritual mortification, or terror, or horror, into which you are to force yourself, you shall be healed; your healing is in his stripes, not in your own; in his griefs, not in your griefs. Come away to Christ; and even if you are tempted to trust in your repentance, I implore you, do not make your repentance into a rival of the stripes of Jesus, for so it would become an antichrist. When your eye is full of tears, look through them to Christ on the cross, for it is not a wet eye that will save you, but the Christ whom you may see, whether your eye is wet or dry. In the Christ on the cross there are five wounds, but you do not have to add even another one of your own to them. In him, and only in him, is all your healing; in him who, from head to foot, becomes a mass of suffering, so that you, diseased from head to foot, might from the crown of your head to the sole of your foot be made perfectly whole.

20. III. Now I must close with the third reflection, which is this, — that THE DIVINE REMEDY IS IMMEDIATELY EFFECTIVE: “With his stripes we are healed.”

21. To the carnal mind, it does not seem as if the sufferings of Christ could handle the case at all; but those who have believed in the stripes of Jesus are witnesses to the instant and perfect efficacy of the medicine. Many of us can speak from experience, since we can say that “we are healed.” How are we healed?

22. Well, first, our conscience is healed of every smart. God is satisfied with Christ, and so are we. If, for Christ’s sake, he has put away sin without dishonour to himself, then we are also perfectly content and full of rejoicing in the atonement, and we need nothing else to keep our conscience quiet.

23. By these same wounds of Christ our heart is healed of its love for sin. It was once in love with sin, but now it hates all iniquity. If our Redeemer died because of our sin, how can we live any longer in it? All our past thoughts concerning sin are turned upside down or reversed. Sin gave us pleasure once, but now it gives us the utmost pain, and we desire to be free from it, and to be perfectly holy; there is no evil that we would harbour in our hearts. It seemed an exceptional thing that we should look to Christ, and so find pardon, and that at that same moment we should be totally changed in our nature concerning our view of sin, yet it did happen. While sin was controlling us, we felt as if we had no hope, and therefore we went on in sin; but when sin was pardoned, then we felt great joy, and consequently gratitude and love for God. A sinner repents of his sins much more after they are pardoned than he does before, and so he sings, —

    I know they are forgiven,
       But still their pain to me
    Is all the grief and anguish
       They laid, my Lord, on thee.

Our cry is, “Death to sin, now that Christ has died for sin!” “If the One died for all, then the all died”; and as in Christ we died to sin, how shall we live any longer in it? You may preach mere morality until there shall be no morality left; but preach the atoning sacrifice of Christ, and the pardoning love of the Father, and then the immoral will be changed, and follow after holiness with a greater eagerness than ever possessed them while they followed after sin.

24. By this divine remedy our life is healed of its rebellion. This medicine has worked internally in the heart, and it has also worked externally in the life. Now the drunkard has become sober, and he hates the cup he used to love. Now the swearer’s foul mouth has been washed, and his lips, once so polluted, are like lilies dropping sweet-smelling myrrh. Now the cruel and unkind one has become tender, gentle, and loving, the false has become true, the proud bends his neck in humility, the idle has become a diligent servant of Christ; the transformation is wonderful, and this is the secret, “With his stripes we are healed.”

25. Yet once more, our consciousness assures us that we are healed. We know that we are healed, and we rejoice in the fact, and we are not to be disputed out of it. There seems to be a theory, held by some people, to the effect that we cannot tell whether we are saved or not. When we have had a disease in our body, we can tell whether we have been healed or not; and the marks and evidences of the supernatural change that takes place within the spirit are as apparent, as a usual rule, and certainly as positive and sure, as the changes done in the body by healing medicine. We know that we are healed. I am not talking to you about a thing which I do not know personally for myself. When the text says, “We,” my heart says, “I,” and I am longing that everyone here should be able to put his own seal to it, and say, “That is true; with his stripes we are healed, with his stripes we are healed, with his stripes we are healed.” I will not go into the stories of some who are here, — stories that I know of the marvellous change that grace has made in your characters and lives; but you can bear witness, as can all the saints in heaven, that “with his stripes we are healed.”

26. My last word is that, if you are healed by his stripes, you should go and live like healthy men. When a man is healed of disease, he does not continue to lie in bed; so, dear friends, none of you be lazy Christians. When a man is healed, he does not sit down and groan about the disease that is gone; so do not be continually groaning and croaking and sighing. When a man is healed, he likes to go and tell about the remedy to others; so, dear friends, do not keep to yourselves the news of this blessed heavenly balsam, but go and tell the news everywhere, “With his stripes we are healed.” When a man is healed, he is joyful, and begins to sing with gladness; so, go and sing, and praise and bless the Lord all your days.

27. When Christ heals, you know, people do not get the sickness back again. His cures are cures for life, and cures for eternity. If the devil goes out of a man of his own accord, he always comes back again, and brings seven others with him; but, if Christ turns him out, I warrant you that he will never be allowed to come back again. When the strong Man armed has dislodged the devil, he keeps the house that he has won, and takes good care that, neither by the front door nor by the back, shall the old enemy ever come back again. Having by his own right hand and his holy arm gained the victory, he challenges the foe to take back his spoil, crying, “Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered?” No; that shall never be, so you may go on your way rejoicing, and sing as you go, “With his stripes we are healed.” This is not a temporary remedy; it is a medicine which, when it once gets into the soul, creates in it health that shall make that soul perfectly whole, so that at last, among the holy ones before the throne of God on high, that man shall sing with all his fellows, “ ‘With his stripes we are healed.’ Glory be to the bleeding Christ! All honour, and majesty, and dominion, and praise be to him for ever and ever!” And let all the healed ones say, “Amen, and Amen.”

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Isa 53}

We will read, this evening, the fifty-third chapter of “the Gospel according to Isaiah,” as we may very properly call it.

1. Who has believed our report?

All the prophets reported what had been revealed to them concerning Christ, they testified what they knew with regard to Jesus of Nazareth, the suffering Saviour; yet how few, comparatively, of the Jewish people, — how few, indeed, of any people, compared with the great majority of mankind, accepted their testimony, and believed their report? No blessing can come through that report if it is not believed, and this is the sorrow of the Lord’s servants in every age, that so many refuse to believe it. “Who has believed our report?”

1. And to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?

For God’s power both produces and accompanies faith. No man believes in Christ unless as the arm of the Lord is revealed, or made bare, so as to work faith in him. This is the great grief of God’s ministers today, that so often we have to go back to our homes, and cry, “Who has believed our report?” It is not a doubtful report, it is not an incredible message, it is not a matter of indifference to our hearers; but it is an all-important declaration the accuracy of which is guaranteed by the God of truth, yet who has believed it? Oh, that the arm of the Lord were made bare in the hearts of multitudes of men!

What was the reason of this unbelief in the case of the Jews to whom the prophet spoke, and of those to whom the Messiah afterwards came? It was the lowly estate of Christ that caused them to stumble, and they asked, in contempt, “Is this not the carpenter’s son?” They looked for external pomp and martial prowess, so they could not perceive the internal beauty and majestic holiness of the Lord Jesus.

2. For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he has no form nor attractiveness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

Christ has both form and attractiveness to the spiritual eye; but, to the carnal, he seems only like ordinary men, except that his visage is more marred than that of other men, and his form than that of any of the sons of men. “He has no form nor attractiveness.” The ungodly look for something that can stir their admiration, or create mirth for them; and they see nothing of this in the Christ of God. But little can we blame them, for, not very long ago, many of us were ourselves just as blind as they now are. Do you not feel, beloved, that you can beat your breasts with deepest regret for the length of time in which you were blind to the beauties of your Redeemer? Alas! that the prophet’s words were ever true of us, “When we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.”

3. He is despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we did not esteem him.

It was not only Christ’s humiliation, but his sorrow, which became a stumbling-block in the way of the unbelieving Jews. How could they, who were looking for an earthly deliverer to come in regal splendour, believe in a weeping Messiah? How could they delight in him from whom men hid their faces, when they were expecting a mighty leader before whom all would submit themselves? Ah, friends, there was a time when we did not esteem the Lord, when we despised him! We also did not care for the Man of sorrows; though all his sorrows were borne on our account, we passed him by with utter indifference. Oh wretched heart! Well might I wish to tear you from my bosom as I think that you ever should have been so callous to your Lord, the Well-Beloved! It was a death indeed which you called life, when you lived without your Lord: “We hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we did not esteem him.”

4. Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows:

What a discovery this truth seems to be! How it bursts on the prophet and his hearers, and amazes them! “Surely,” they say, “can it be really so that ‘he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows?’ ” Yes, it is indeed so; there is no accounting for the sufferings of the perfect Christ except by this explanation, that he was bearing our griefs, and carrying the sorrows that we ought to have carried for our own sin.

4, 5. Yet we esteemed him struck, struck by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was on him; and with his stripes we are healed.

If this does not teach the doctrine of a vicarious atonement, what does it teach? If Christ’s sufferings were not endured in our room, and place, and stead, what do these words mean?

6. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned each one to his own way;

All sinning, but each one sinning in his own particular way. It is good to acknowledge the common guilt of all men, but it is the sign of true repentance that it dwells mainly on its own special offence. Brethren, we have no occasion to find fault with each other, for “all we like sheep have gone astray.” But we have great reason for each man to find special fault with himself, for “we have turned each one to his own way.”

6. And the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

What a mercy it is that every kind of sin — the sin of the masses, and the sin of the particular sinner, — has been laid by Jehovah himself on his only-begotten Son! “Jehovah has made to meet on him the iniquity of us all.” Notice that, not merely “the chastisement” of which the previous verse spoke, but “the iniquity” itself; and albeit there are some who say that this cannot be, and that iniquity cannot be moved from one person to another, it has been done, and that is the end of it.

7. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth:

The sin laid on him was not his, and he might have repudiated it; but he did not; and even when the bitter result of sin came to him, and “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth.”

7. He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he does not open his mouth.

Oh friends, what infinite patience is here, — patience which endured woes unknown to us, for our Lord’s griefs and agonies were deeper than we shall ever be able to fathom! Yet to the end he bore all without a struggle. I went to see a friend, the other day, who has had a great number of severe afflictions, yet I found her exceptionally cheerful and content; and when I was speaking with her about the matter, she said, “I have for years enjoyed perfect submission to the divine will, and it was through what I heard you say.” So I asked her, “What did I say?” She replied, “Why, you told us that you had seen a sheep that was in the hands of the shearers, and that, although all the wool was clipped off its back, the shears never cut into its flesh; and you said that the reason was because the sheep was lying perfectly still. You said, ‘Lie still, and the shears will not cut you; but if you kick and struggle, you will not only be shorn, for God has resolved to do that, but you will be wounded into the bargain.’ ” Oh beloved, it is a blessed thing to lie still under the shears, so still as not even to bleat! “As a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he does not open his mouth.” May the perfect example of the Lamb of God teach us a holy submissiveness to the will of God!

8. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation?

Is there no one to speak up for Christ, no one to bear testimony to the purity of his life and the sinlessness of his character?

8. For he was cut off out of the land of the living: he was struck for the transgression of my people.

Oh, dwell on that great truth! The doctrine of Christ’s substitution for his people is the brightest star in the galaxy of Revelation. No more cheering light ever falls on a tearful eye than this, “he was struck for the transgression of my people.”

9. And 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.

He died, and was buried, because he had done no violence. Most men who have perished by judicial sentence have had to die because they have done violence, and because deceit was in their mouth; but here is One who is found guilty of nothing but excess of love, — loving sinners so much that he must give his life sooner than that they should perish.

10. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he has put him to grief: when you shall make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

Death, in our Lord’s case, was the way to the extension of life. He dies so that he may see his seed, as he himself said to his disciples, “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone: but if it dies, it produces much fruit.” For Christ, the path to prosperity was by way of adversity. The pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand because it pleased the Father to bruise him. And, often, it shall be with the servant as it was with the Master; it shall please the Lord to bruise you, and put you to grief, that later on the pleasure of the Lord may prosper in your hand.

11. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied:

This is a clear proof that he shall live, and he shall triumph. All his griefs shall come to an end; and even the death-pangs of his soul shall be the travail by which multitudes shall be born to him, so that his infinite heart shall be satisfied.

11. By his knowledge my righteous servant shall justify many;

By their knowledge of him, by their so knowing him as to trust him, they shall find justification; and “many” shall find it.

11. For he shall bear their iniquities.

We are told that the doctrine of substitution is a theory by which we explain the fact of Christ’s death, but that it is only a theory. It is not so, for it is of the very essence of the fact. It is by no means our explanation, it is God’s own declaration: “He shall bear their iniquities.”

12. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the great,

That is his Father’s gift.

12. And he shall divide the spoil with the strong;

That is the result of his own conquest.

12. Because he has poured out his soul to death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

For ever blessed be his dear name! Amen.

“The New Theology”

One of the most prominent preachers of the so-called “New Theology” has recently given fresh currency to the old Jewish idea that Isaiah 53 applies to the prophet Jeremiah! The following Sermons by C. H. Spurgeon, all on various verses of this chapter, show what he thought about the matter: —

 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1075, “A Root out of a Dry Ground” 1066}
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1099, “The Man of Sorrows” 1090}
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3033, “Why Christ Is Not Esteemed” 3034}
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2499, “Christopathy” 2500}
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 834, “The Universal Remedy” 825}
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1068, “A Simple Remedy” 1059}
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2000, “Healing by the Stripes of Jesus” 2001}
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2887, “A Dire Disease Strangely Cured” 2888}
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 694, “Sin Laid on Jesus” 685}
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 925, “Individual Sin Laid on Jesus” 916}
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1543, “The Sheep before the Shearers” 1543}
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 173, “The Death of Christ” 166}
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 561, “Expiation” 552}
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2186, “Our Expectation” 2187}
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2963, “Unmitigated Prosperity” 2964}
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 458, “The Friend of Sinners” 449}
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1385, “Jesus Interceding for Transgressors” 1376}
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2070, “Christ’s Connection with Sinners the Source of his glory.” 2071}

Spurgeon Sermons

These sermons from Charles Spurgeon are a series that is for reference and not necessarily a position of Answers in Genesis. Spurgeon did not entirely agree with six days of creation and dives into subjects that are beyond the AiG focus (e.g., Calvinism vs. Arminianism, modes of baptism, and so on).

Terms of Use

Modernized Edition of Spurgeon’s Sermons. Copyright © 2010, Larry and Marion Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario, Canada. Used by Answers in Genesis by permission of the copyright owner. The modernized edition of the material published in these sermons may not be reproduced or distributed by any electronic means without express written permission of the copyright owner. A limited license is hereby granted for the non-commercial printing and distribution of the material in hard copy form, provided this is done without charge to the recipient and the copyright information remains intact. Any charge or cost for distribution of the material is expressly forbidden under the terms of this limited license and automatically voids such permission. You may not prepare, manufacture, copy, use, promote, distribute, or sell a derivative work of the copyrighted work without the express written permission of the copyright owner.

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