Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong…
Our blessed Lord made intercession for transgressors in so many words while He was being crucified, for He was heard to say, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." Our Lord fixed His eye upon that point in the character of His persecutors which was most favourable to them, namely, that they knew not what they did. He could not plead their innocence, and therefore He pleaded their ignorance. Our great Advocate will be sure to plead wisely and efficiently on our behalf; He will urge every argument which can be discovered, for His eye, quickened by love, will suffer nothing to pass which may tell in our favour. The prophet, however, does not, I suppose, intend to confine our thoughts to the one incident which is recorded by the evangelists, for the intercession of Christ was an essential part of His entire life-work. Jesus Himself is the reasoning and logic of prayer, and He Himself is an ever-living prayer unto the Most High. It was part of our Lord's official work to make intercession for the transgressors. He is a Priest, and as such He brings His offering, and presents prayer on the behalf of the people.
I. I have to direct your attention to our ever-living Lord making intercession for the transgressors; and I shall pray God that all of us may be roused to ADMIRATION FOR HIS GRACE.
1. If you will consider His intercession for transgressors I think you will be struck with the love, and tenderness, and graciousness of His heart, when you recollect that He offered intercession verbally while He was standing in the midst of their sin. Sin heard of and sin seen are two very different things. Our Lord actually saw human sin, saw it at its worst. He saw it all, and felt the sin as you and I cannot feel it, for His heart was purer, and therefore tenderer than ours: He saw that the tendency of sin was to put Him to death, and all like Him, yea and to slay God Himself if it could achieve its purpose, for man had become a Decide and must needs crucify His God — and yet, though His holy soul saw and loathed all this tendency and atrocity of transgression, He still made intercession for the transgressors.
2. Another point of His graciousness was also clear, namely, that He should thus intercede while in agony.
3. But it is marvellous that He being pure, should plead for transgressors at all: for you and for me amongst them — let the wonder begin there.
4. Further, it is to me a very wonderful fact that in His glory He should still be pleading for sinners.
5. Again, it is gloriously gracious that our Lord should continue to do this. He hath never ceased to make intercession for transgressors.
II. I do earnestly pray that we may be led of the Holy Ghost so to view His intercession for transgressors as to put our CONFIDENCE IN HIMSELF. There is ground for a sinner's confidence in Christ, and there is abundant argument for the believer's complete reliance in Him, from the fact of His perpetual intercession.
1. Because His intercession succeeds.
2. There is reason for transgressors to come and trust in Jesus Christ, seeing He pleads for them.
3. I am sure, too, that if Jesus Christ pleads for transgressors as transgressors, while as yet they have not begun to pray for themselves, He will be sure to hear them when they are at last led to pray.
4. In order that our confidence may be increased, consider the effect of our Lord's intercession for transgressors.
(1) Many of the worst of transgressors have been preserved in life in answer to Christ's prayer.
(2) The gift of the Holy Spirit which is needful for the quickening of transgressors was the result of Christ's intercession.
(3) It is through Christ's intercession that our poor prayers are accepted with God.
(4) It is through the prayers of Christ, too, that we are kept in the hour of temptation. Remember what He said to Peter, "I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not," when Satan desired to have him and sift him as wheat. "Father, keep them from the evil" is a part of our Lord's supplication, and His Father hears Him always.
(5) Indeed, it is because He pleads that we are saved at all. He is "able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them."
III. I pray that our text may inspire us with the spirit of OBEDIENCE TO HIS EXAMPLE. I take the example of Christ to be an embodied precept as much binding upon us as His written commands.
1. Imitate Him by forgiving all transgressions against yourself.
2. Imitate Christ, in pleading for yourselves. Since you are transgressors, and you see that Jesus intercedes for transgressors, make bold to say, "If He pleads for such as I am, I will put in my humble petition, and hope to be heard through Him."
3. If we have been forgiven our transgressions, let us now intercede for transgressors, since Jesus does so.
4. Let us take care, that if we do plead for others we mix with it the doing of good to them, because it is not recorded that He made intercession for transgressors until it is first written, "He bare the sin of many"
5. If Christ appears in heaven for us, let us be glad to appear on earth for him.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
WEB: Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out his soul to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.