Updated: Apr 20, 2021
By Josh Buttram
The Old Testament gives us many rich portraits of the crucifixion. Each one is a unique window into the event. As I read Isaiah’s prophetic description of the suffering servant in Isaiah 50, I can’t help but stand amazed by the courage of Jesus. When he walked the earth, he was 100% divine and 100% human. Yet, in some sense, he put his divine power on hold so that he could fully experience life as a human. He had the power to stop the crucifixion with a word, but instead he went to the cross as a helpless lamb.
Imagine if you were a superhero. You have all of the abilities of every superhero combined. On a whim, you could blow up planets or create them. You could make the bad guys’ hearts stop pumping if you’d like, or cause them to die an even more painful death. You could control their minds like a Jedi – command them to do anything you like – they’d be powerless to resist. Even their bullets couldn’t hurt you. You’d be completely untouchable, and no one could inflict pain on you. That is unless you allow them to.
Imagine you had this kind of power and you walked into a Nazi concentration camp, saying, “I won’t use any of my powers. Hit me with your best shot.” Imagine somehow restraining yourself while they tortured you with their cruelest inventions. They would humiliate you in every way they knew how. They would broadcast to the world that you’re just a weak, stupid, fraud who couldn’t even save yourself in the end.
Imagine doing that because you’re trusting in someone else to stand with you, to fight for you, to vindicate you, and win. All the time, you’re telling yourself, “I won’t regret this.” Imagine that your powerful friend and protector unloads his fury on you. He turns his back on you, condemns you, and gives you the sentence of hundreds of thousands of criminals. All the while, you keep telling yourself, “I won’t regret this. I’m going to trust him.”
Hard to imagine, right? It’s hard to picture how someone could possess resolve as strong as this – courage that’s this vibrant – to keep trusting God when things are impossibly bleak.
Here’s how Isaiah prophetically portrays Jesus’s mindset at the cross:
I gave my back to those who strike,
And my cheeks to those who pull out the beard;
I hid not my face
From disgrace and spitting.
But the Lord God helps me;
Therefore I have not been disgraced;
Therefore I have set my face like a flint
And I know that I shall not be put to shame.
(Isaiah 50: 6-7)
Another way of saying, “I know that I shall not be put to shame” is to say, “I know I won’t regret this.” It must have been nearly impossible to believe this at the time, but Jesus hung onto this truth.
How can someone have this much courage? It’s staggering. What remarkable trust in God! It’s almost like skydiving with no parachute and saying, “I won’t regret this.” Our Jesus set his face like a flint because he trusted God. He trusted God even when everyone would have said it was a bad idea. He trusted God through shame, torture, death, darkness, and emotional anguish. And he didn’t regret it. He was right after all. At the Cross, he won for himself a name, a people, a family, a bride, a kingdom, a restoration, and much, much more. He has experienced or will experience every ounce of joy that he anticipated.
The one who trusts in God will never ultimately be put to shame. Jesus lived this truth. He trusted God even when the happy ending was still a dim and distant flicker. He will also help us in our valleys of dark anguish. He will supply the courage we need. He will help us trust him even as we follow haltingly in his footsteps. Thank you, Jesus. Hallelujah! What a Savior!