8. What He Gave
I gave My back to those who strike Me, and My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting. For the Lord GOD helps Me, therefore, I am not disgraced; therefore, I have set My face like flint, and I know that I will not be ashamed. (Isaiah 50:6-7)
He gave His back and cheeks. Another translation is delivered. That’s what we did to Him; we delivered Him to the cross. But before we delivered Him there, He gave Himself for us.
I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father. (John 10:14-18)
Giving His back and giving His cheeks was completely and utterly His choice. Jesus allowed Himself to be humiliated and beaten. And He made that choice for you. The cross was the culmination of all things to secure your salvation. It was the final act of sacrifice for you.
There is a short phrase in 1 Corinthians 13 that may explain the how and why Christ was willing to submit to and endure such torture (both physical and emotional): Love… bears all things. The Greek describes this word in two ways: to bear up under, which speaks to Christ’s choice to bear your sins; and to cover, which speaks to His protection of you. He was willing to be struck, plucked, spat upon, and humiliated because love… bears all things.
The word strike can be significantly more violent in its usage: to kill, destroy and slaughter, are a few of the more “intense” translations. Perhaps strike was more injurious in earlier languages, but now it means little more than a slap in the face. We must never lose sight of the torture and brutality which Christ endured, and then finally died.
He did not hide His face from those who plucked His beard, who spat upon Him, and those who sought to disgrace, dishonor and cast reproach upon Him.
There’s sort of a divine stubbornness at work here. Because the LORD helped Him, Christ was able to push through the insults, the spitting, the plucking of His beard and the beatings. Indeed, He even pushed through the grave, for death was unable to keep Him. Hallelujah! Thus He set His face like flint and was not ashamed. And because he was not ashamed to endure the cross, the sins of the world, and death, He was not ashamed to embrace you: For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, “I will proclaim Your name to My brethren, In the midst of the congregation I will sing Your praise.” ( Hebrews 2:10-12)