Adrian Rogers - The Biography of the King
Take God's Holy Word and turn to Isaiah chapter 53. In my estimation, this may be the greatest chapter in all of the Bible. Martin Luther, the great reformer, said that this chapter should have been written on a parchment of pure gold, studded and lettered in diamonds. What an incredible chapter it is, and it's written seven hundred years before the Lord Jesus Christ was born. And Isaiah the prophet dipped his pen in golden glory and wrote a biography, listen, he wrote a biography of Jesus seven centuries into the future. And if you will listen with an open heart and an open mind, you will be absolutely convinced, number one, of the inspiration of the Scriptures, number two, of the deity of Jesus Christ and that He is the Messiah promised who came that Christmas so long ago. This is a wonderful and a glorious chapter, and so I want you to hold it open in your hands as we study the Gospel according to Isaiah.
Now we know there's a Gospel according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, but friend, really, there's sixty-six Gospels; all of the Bible is about the Lord Jesus Christ. First thing I want you to notice, and we're talking about the King of kings now and the Lord of lords. In the biography of this King, I want you to notice the supernatural birth of the King. Look in Isaiah 53 verses 1 and 2, "Who hath believed our report and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed"? Now what do we mean by the arm of the Lord? We mean God's mighty power, the arm of the Lord. You want to see the arm of the Lord? You want to see God's mighty power? Well it's a person. "For He shall grow up before Him," the arm of the Lord shall grow up before the Lord, watch this now, "as a tender plant and as a root out of a dry ground".
This is something miraculous. We're looking for something mighty and something strong, and we see coming out of dry, barren desert, a little tender plant. It's a picture of the birth of the Savior. You say, "Do you think Isaiah really had that in mind"? Well, just go back to Isaiah chapter 7 verse 14 and he says, "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and be with child". Go to Isaiah chapter 9 verse 6, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given". Isaiah knew about the virgin birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and even if he didn't understand it all, God understood it all and inspired Isaiah what to say. Oh, folks, thank God for the virgin birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Never, ever minimize the virgin birth. I would not give you half a hallelujah for your hope of Heaven without the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. Why?
You see, listen. If He had not been born of a virgin, He could not have been sinless. Had He not been born of a virgin, He would've been a son of Adam like I am, like you are, and in Adam all die. And had He not been sinless, then He could not have offered a blood atonement, He could only have died for His own sin. So no virgin birth, no deity. No deity, no sinlessness. No sinlessness, no atonement. No atonement, no forgiveness. No forgiveness, no hope of Heaven. Friend, you better be grateful for the virgin birth. I'm telling you, listen, it's not incidental, it's fundamental. He was born of a virgin that you might be born again. He came to Earth that you might go to Heaven. He became the Son of Man that you might become the son and daughters of God. Mendel was a man who taught us much about genetics and he said this, "That every individual is the sum total of the characteristics, both dominant and recessive, in his immediate two progenitors".
Now what does that mean in plain English? Well, in plain English it means that everything that was in your mom and dad is in you. Everything within your mom and dad is in you, and furthermore, there's nothing in you that was not in your mom and your dad. That's what Mendel taught us in genetics. Now it may be dominant or it may be recessive. That is, it may be very apparent or it may be down there latent, so sometimes it can kind of skip a generation as far as the recessive part is. That's the reason you can blame all of the bad faults of your grandchildren on your children. That'll make sense to you later on, but what I'm trying to say to you is this: that everything that was in your parents is in you, and everything in you was in your parents.
Now let's think about the Lord Jesus Christ. Suppose that Jesus' mother were only human and His father only human. Then He's only human. And He could save none of us. He would have not been the Godman. He would not have been sinless. Well, let's suppose that His father was fully God and somehow over here there's another god over here we'll call His mother. Impossible, but if God and god get together and have a child, then He's God and He's remote and He cannot identify with us and we cannot identify with Him. But here is Mary, fully human, and she becomes with child by the Holy Spirit of God, and that which is born is totally unique.
The Bible calls Him in John 3:16 the monogenēs, the only begotten Son of God, never another born like the Lord Jesus Christ. And all that was in His mother is in Him and all that was in His Father is in Him. That means He's totally man. That means He's totally God. He's not half-God and half-man, not all man and no God, not all God and no man, He is the God-man, never another like the Lord Jesus Christ! Incredible! Virgin born, that we might be saved, for without a virgin-born, sinless Savior, we have no hope of salvation, as we're going to see.
One time I was witnessing to Mohammed Ali, who'd become a Muslim, and he had his suitcase there full of Muslim materials, and I had an open Bible. And Mohammed said to me, he said, "You say that Jesus Christ is the Son of God because He was born of a virgin". He said, "Adam didn't have a father or mother, wouldn't that make him more a child of God than Jesus"? I said, "Champ, listen to me. Jesus is not the Son of God because He was born of a virgin, He was born of a virgin because He's the Son of God. He didn't have His beginning in Bethlehem, He just stepped out of Heaven and came down to Earth and became the Godman". It is an incredible thing as we see the supernatural birth of the King. Thank God for the virgin birth. But now wait, wait, let's continue to read. Look if you will now in Isaiah 53 beginning in verses 2 and 3, "For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant and as a root out of dry ground and He hath no form nor comeliness and when we shall see Him, there's no beauty that we should desire Him".
I want you to think about the simple life of the King, the simple life of the King. He's, "Despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief". Now, He's the very Son of God. You would think that when He came to this Earth, He would just step out of Heaven, dressed in royal robes woven on the looms of light, perhaps He would come with angels preceding Him, He's in a jeweled chariot and a great display of glory. He doesn't come that way. The only announcement is made to shepherds in a field. And He's born in an insignificant little village, Bethlehem, in a stable with cow dung and sheep manure on the floor, flies, buzzing around, laid in straw. This is the King?
"When we see Him, there's no form nor comeliness nor beauty that we should desire Him". Supernatural birth, a simple life. Bethlehem, Nazareth, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth," John 1:46, that bunch of hillbillies up there? "Well, what did His father do"? His father is a carpenter. "Well, what did He look like"? "Well, He must've looked something mighty handsome; you would've known Him". No, you wouldn't. You would not have known Him. When the Bible says, "No form nor beauty nor comeliness," that doesn't mean He was hideous or warped, it just means that He was nondescript. Don't get the idea that you would pick Jesus out of the crowd. Now the artists do that, but you would never have picked Jesus out of the crowd. Judas had to point Him out.
Remember when they were going to take Him? In Matthews 26 verse 48, Judas had to say, "That's Him, that's the one". He had to give them a sign. The artists, you know, when they paint Jesus, you see these paintings of Jesus going around with this thing behind His head, looks like a dinner plate. He didn't go around with a dinner plate behind His head. "When we see Him, there's no form nor comeliness nor beauty that we should desire Him"! Ordinary, simple life! Walking in sandaled feet going about doing good. Why is that? Why did He come that way? Because God wants something out of mankind that He can receive no other way. He wants faith. Now listen to me carefully. Some person might say, "Well, if He is so great, why doesn't He prove Himself? If God wants us to believe in Him, why doesn't He just prove Himself to us"?
Friend, He could prove Himself to us if He wanted to, just reach down and take the roof off and say, "Boo"! I mean, He could shake the Earth to its foundations, He could do some dazzling display of glory and we'd fall on our faces and say, "He's God, He's God"! But that wouldn't be faith. That'd just be a reaction to what we've seen. That's not faith. Don't ever ask God to prove Himself to you. Why did Jesus Christ come the way He did? He laid aside all of the splendor, all of the glory, all of the majesty that was inherently His and came as a baby, as a root out of a dry ground, "No form nor comeliness nor beauty that we should desire Him," very ordinary, very nondescript, and yet there were people who believed in Him.
You say, "Well, they believed in Him because of the miracles that He did". No. Some of those people who believed because of the miracles left Him. Why did He come the way He did? He wanted us to have faith. Now listen, faith is not a response to what the eye sees or the ear hears; faith is a response of the heart to the character of God. Jesus laid aside all of the splendor, but He laid aside none of the character. And when the heart is right, the heart will respond to God in faith like the eye responds to light when the eye is right, the ear responds to sound when the ear is right, the heart responds to Jesus when the heart is right, not because of proof. When Jesus did miracles, they were not publicity stunts. He was not trying to dazzle and bribe people.
As a matter of fact, often when Jesus would do a miracle, He would say, "Don't tell anybody about this". Modern evangelists advertise miracles and don't do them. Jesus did them and didn't advertise them. He wants people to believe in Him. Now God's not going to prove Himself to you, but I'll tell you, if you'll get your heart right and you find that person called Jesus, you look at Him as revealed in the pages of the Scripture and you're going to find your heart turning to Him. In Isaiah 53 verse 3 it says He's, "Despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief and we hid as it were our faces from Him". They were looking for a dazzling Messiah. Israel rejected Him; they were looking for a miracle worker; they were looking for some political Messiah. He didn't come that way. Friend, there's the simple life of the King. It's one of the great fulfillments of Scripture, and friend, if you want to know Him, you can know Him.
Now here's the third thing I want you to notice. I want you to notice the substitutionary death of the King. Let's begin in verse 4 and read through verse 6 of Isaiah 53, "Surely He hath born our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we did esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted". We thought, "Well, God didn't spare Him because He was a sinner". "But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities". They thought He was afflicted because He was bad, and they were spared because they were good. No, He was afflicted because we were bad, and we're spared because He is good. "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities and the chastisement of our peace was upon Him and with His stripes we're healed". Now watch this, verse 6, "All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to His own way," now watch, "and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all".
Let my Bible represent sin because it tells about sin. Let my right hand represent myself. Let my left hand represent the virgin born Son of God, absolutely perfectly sinless. Here I am, a sinner. Here you are, a sinner. Is there anybody who would have the audacity, the nerve, the unmitigated gall to stand and say, I've never sinned? Not a person, not an honest person. Here we are, Isaiah 53 verse 6, "All we," every one of us, "like sheep have gone astray. We have turned every one to his own way;" that is, we've been selfish and proud. Here's the Lord Jesus, the solitary, sinless, pure, lovely Savior. In Isaiah chapter 53 verse 6 says, "All we like sheep have gone astray, we've turned every one to his own way and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all".
Our sins were laid on the Lord Jesus Christ. He never sinned! But He became sin for us and our sins were laid upon the Lord Jesus. That's substitution. He took our place; He died for us, that's the Gospel according to Isaiah. And I want you to notice four things that Jesus took as our substitute. First of all, He took our sins. Our sins were laid upon Jesus. Look if you will, the Bible says here in Isaiah 53 verse 5 that, "He was wounded for our transgressions". For whose transgressions? Why don't you just say, "For my transgressions"? Do you know what the word wounded means in the Hebrew? Listen carefully, it means pierced, pierced! He was pierced for my transgressions and for yours.
We find in Matthew 26 verse 39, Jesus went into dark Gethsemane, Jesus cast Himself on the ground, Jesus prayed and He said, "Oh, God, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me". What's He talking about? A literal cup? No. He's talking about something that He must drink spiritually. There was a cup. And in that cup was the sin of the world. A little child is raped, that sin comes into that cup. A man breaks his marriage vows, the sin comes in that cup. A drunkard blasphemes God; that sin comes into that cup. A person with a twisted mind flies an airplane into a high-rise building in New York. Thousands die. That sin settles in that cup. All of the sin of all of the centuries is in that cup. And that sin is going to be laid upon the Lord Jesus Christ and He says, "Oh, Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me".
Don't get the idea that Jesus just sallied forth to the cross. Jesus dreaded the cross. Jesus shrank from the cross. Does that diminish Him in your eyes? It doesn't in mine; it makes me love Him all the more. I've told you before, one night in Miami in a hotel room I was meditating on Gethsemane, and when I saw what Jesus did for me, about two in the morning, I shouted so loud, I'm not given to shouting, but I shouted! And I said, "Boy, I'm in trouble; they're going to send a detective to this room now, they're going to think there's been a murder in this room". What Jesus did, in Luke 22 verse 44, He is praying with such intensity that the minute capillaries in His body break and He sweats drops of blood! Because your sin, my sin is going to be laid upon the Lord Jesus Christ and Jesus knows when that happens, listen to me, when that happens, He's going to have to take my punishment. He, the darling Son of God, is going to become the object of the loathing of God and the wrath of God, and the fires of God's wrath are going to burn themselves out on Him.
Don't you take the virgin birth lightly. Don't you take the substitutionary death of the King lightly; He took our sins. And not only did He take our sins, listen, secondly, He took our shame. Look if you will in Isaiah 53 verses 7, "He was oppressed and He was afflicted; yet He opened not His mouth; He's brought as a lamb to the slaughter and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth". Now, listen, He was put to death by judicial murder. They slandered Him. He had a mock trial, everything was a travesty of justice. And there's Jesus, He doesn't say anything. He doesn't say anything! Pilate says In John 19:10, "Why don't you answer me? Don't you know I have the power to crucify you or let you go"?
In Matthew chapter 26 verses 62 and 63, when the chief priests and so forth questioned Him, He wouldn't say anything, except when they adjured Him by God and made Him speak. Why was Jesus so quiet? Because not only did He take my sin, friend, He took my shame. Do you know that when we get caught doing something wrong, we try to justify ourselves, don't we? Nod your head. We try to justify ourselves, and when we're really right and blamed for something wrong, boy, do we justify ourselves. Jesus was totally innocent and He never spoke a word. Why was that? Why did He go like a lamb to the slaughter? Why was He dumb, that is, speechless? Because, not only was He taking my sin, He was taking my shame. Do you know, when I stand before God as a sinner, if I don't get saved; course I have been saved; or when anybody stands and they're not saved, they'll stand there speechless.
In Matthew 22 verses 11 and 12, the Bible talked about that man who tried to come in without a wedding garment: the Bible says he was speechless. "I was guilty and nothing to say, they were coming to take me away". And when you, precious friend, outside of Christ stand before God, every excuse will falter and fail and every alibi will be gone and you will have absolutely nothing to say! Now, Jesus could not have justified Himself without condemning me. Jesus could not have said, "Now Mr. Pilate, I want you to know, I'm going to go ahead and let you crucify Me, I'm laying down My life, I'm not really guilty, I'm not really guilty. I am dying as an innocent substitute. I'm not guilty, I'm sinless. I'm just bearing these sins".
Had he done that, He would've died in dignity, but He didn't die in dignity. He died in shame! He died as an ignominious sinner! He took my shame to the cross. I love Him for that. And because Jesus Christ took my shame, I made up my mind I'm never going to be ashamed of Him, never ashamed of Him. I'm not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ for it's the power of God unto salvation. But not only did He take my sin, not only did He take my shame, but He took my separation. Look if you will in Isaiah 53 verse 8, "He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who shall declare His generation? For He was cut off out of the land of the living". Cut off! That doesn't mean He was cut in two, it means He was separated, just separated.
Cut off from everybody. He died alone. Flaming fingers of fire flashed across the angry bosom of the sky, the rabble there was taunting Him in Matthew 27 verse 42, saying, "Ha! He saved others. He can't save Himself. He's the Son of God, let Him come down from the cross". The demons of Hell tormented Him and mocked Him. The disciples drew away from Him. And God the Father turned His back on Him. You say, "No". Yes! The Bible says of God the Father in Habakkuk 1:13, "Thou art of purer eyes than to behold iniquity," and at this time He was bearing the iniquity of us all, and in Matthew 27 verse 46 Jesus on the cross cried out, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me"? I'll tell you why. Because He was bearing my separation and your separation. He was bearing on that cross what I will bear if I don't get saved, and that is eternal separation from Almighty God and He is separated there. "My God, My God! Why hast Thou forsaken Me"?
There He is suspended between Heaven and Earth on a bloody cross, cut off, separated. That's Psalm 22 verse 1, you can find that in the Bible. "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me"? Jesus wasn't looking back quoting David, friend. When David wrote it, He was looking forward quoting Jesus. I mean, that's a prophecy. "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me"? That same David wrote in Psalm 23 and verse 4, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I'll fear no evil, for Thou art with Me". Jesus, when He baptized His soul in Hell, could not say, "Lord, You're with Me"? He was not with Him, He died alone. He died alone. Does that mean anything to you? He, friend, as your Substitute, He took your sin. And when He took your sin, He took your shame. And when He took your shame, He took your separation. And friend, He took your suffering.
Look in Isaiah 53 verses 9 and 10, "And He made His grave with the wicked and with the rich in His death, because He'd done no violence. Neither was there any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him. He hath put Him to grief". You say men crucified Jesus. Well, read this verse. And over it all was the hand of God, the bruising of God. He is now suffering because of sin. Nobody ever suffered like the Lord Jesus Christ suffered. There's no grief like His, none. Nobody's ever known this. You say, "Well, other people have been crucified". No, you don't understand what's happening here. I'm telling you friend that He is suffering bruising from the hand of the Father in whose bosom He had rested for all eternity. The damned in Hell cannot even begin to know how much Jesus suffered. They're only paying for their sin, and they're still paying. They haven't paid and they never will pay. But in this offering Jesus paid it all, not just for one, but for all.
You say, "Now wait a minute, I don't understand that. I just don't understand that. How? How could Jesus, there on the cross in that period of time, pay the sin debt for all eternity? Because if I die as a sinner, I will die and go to Hell forever and ever and ever and ever and ever, and yet He just paid the debt just like that. How's that possible"? I'll tell you how it's possible. He, being infinite, paid in a finite period of time what you, being finite, would pay in an infinite period of time. When Jesus died on that cross, the sins of the world were distilled upon Jesus, and the eternities were compressed upon Jesus. No one can ever describe how much He suffered.
Now there's no form of death more painful than crucifixion, but He goes far beyond crucifixion. Jesus is a substitute. He took your place. Why? Because a holy God cannot overlook sin. Sin must be paid for. Somehow, somewhere, sin must be paid for and Jesus, as my substitute, took my sin, He took my shame, He took my separation, He took my sorrows and my sufferings, and Jesus paid it all, and I want to tell you something: all to Him I owe. All to Him I owe. What a darling Savior. What a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful Savior that Isaiah spoke about seven hundred years before He was born.
Now next, I want you to see the saving resurrection of the King, because He didn't stay in that grave. Look if you will now in Isaiah 53 verses 9 and 10 of this same chapter. Listen, "He made His grave with the wicked and with the rich in His death," and by the way, the word death there is a plural intensive, it means His deaths. We would speak today of a person who died in great pain: we'd say, "He died a thousand deaths". "In His death, because He'd done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth, yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him, He had put Him to grief," now watch this. "When Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He," that is, the One who was dead, "shall see His seed". What does that mean? His descendants. "He shall prolong His days". Wait a minute, I thought He was dead. "And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand".
How can a dead man do God's pleasure? No, what does this dead man have? He has descendants, He has days of duration, He has deeds, He's serving God. How can a dead man have descendants; how can a dead man serve God? Well, here He is, His soul is an offering for sin, and yet now He goes on to have a huge family. Now He goes on to do the pleasure of the Lord. Now He prolongs His days. He lives! The Living Bible takes this and paraphrases this verse, "He shall live again". They put Him in that tomb. Pilate said in Matthew 27:64, "Make it as sure as you can". The Roman government made it as sure as it could, it put a seal on the tomb and soldiers to guard it. Nature made it as sure as it could, because they put a big stone in front of a rock-hewn tomb. Unbelief made it as sure as it could because they mocked the idea of the resurrection. But He walked out of that grave, He walked out of that grave. He shall live again. "He shall prolong His days".
Isaiah is talking about a man dead! And now He's living. Dead! And now He's doing the pleasure of Almighty God. Dead! And now He has a great family. Don't you just love the Bible? I mean, think about this. Folks, this is written seven hundred years before Jesus. Do you know why I love Jesus? Friend, Confucius died, he's dead. Buddha died, he's dead. Mohammed died, he's dead! Jesus lives, He's alive! We serve a living, risen, victorious Savior.
Last of all, I want you to see the sovereign reign of the King, because He's a King, and notice Isaiah 53 beginning in verse 11 and then verse 12, "He shall see the travail of His soul;" it's talking now about Jesus, "and shall be satisfied," it's worth it all to Jesus, He's satisfied. "By His knowledge," by the knowledge of My righteous servant, God says, "by His knowledge shall My righteous servant justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities. 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, He bear the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors".
Now you see the mighty arm of the Lord, You see now the mighty arm of the Lord. "By His knowledge shall My righteous servant justify many". Doesn't mean what He knows, it means when you know Him. Do you know Him? I don't mean do you know about Him. By His knowledge, by the knowledge of Jesus. Paul said, "Oh, that I may know Him". Do you know Him? Are you saved? This looks forward to His coming to rule and to reign. These few verses, I must just wrap it up, but let me tell you in this night, this day, as dark as a night, a midnight of inky blankness, the only hope is the coming of Jesus Christ. And He's coming soon.
Do you know Him? Would you like to be justified? The Bible says that through the death of Jesus God's justice is satisfied and man becomes justified. What does justification mean? It just simply means that God looks upon me, now watch it, go back again, watch it. Here's our sin. "All we like sheep have gone astray, we've turned every one to his own way," Isaiah 53 verse 6, "the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all".
Now where does that leave me? Hallelujah, sinless. Sinless. Why? Because my sin is on Him. I am now justified, and justified means "just as if I'd never sinned". They were in a revival meeting. A little girl was there with her parents, and the invitation was given and people got up out of their seats and started coming forward. The little girl said to her mother, "Mother, why are all those people going down there"? And, and she said, "Well, they're going to give their hearts to Jesus Christ". And that little girl said, "Why don't we all go"? That's a good question, isn't it?
Would you bow your heads in prayer? Heads are bowed and eyes are closed. How many today would say, "Pastor Rogers, I know Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. I have a knowledge of Him. I have received Him as my Lord and Savior, and I know that I know, if I died today I would go straight to Heaven and I'm infinitely glad and I'm not ashamed to give you this testimony". Now if you couldn't answer that question, let me lead you in a prayer, and in this prayer you can pray and ask Jesus Christ to come into your heart. And I promise you, on the authority of the Word of God, He will save you this morning and keep you forever. Would you pray this prayer?
Dear God, (just speak to Him) I'm a sinner. (Say that for yourself if you know it to be true) I'm a sinner, I'm lost, I'm destined for Hell, but I want to be saved. Jesus, You died to save me. You became my substitute. You took my sin, my shame, my separation, my suffering. Thank you, Jesus. My sin was laid upon You and now I receive You as my Lord and Savior. Come into my life, take control of my life. Forgive me of my sin and save me, Lord Jesus. And Lord Jesus, because You took my shame, I'll never be ashamed of You. Give me the strength and the courage to make this public. In Your name I pray, Amen.