He shall see of the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied. Isaiah 53:11 KJV
As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied. Isaiah 53:11 NASB
In the fifth and final paragraph of this Servant Song (vv 10-12), we learn the consequences of His suffering, which the perfect Servant of Jehovah will reap. In verse 11, we are told that “He shall see … and shall be satisfied.”
This has been interpreted by some to mean that God has looked on the work of His Son and is satisfied. There is no argument that the work of the Lord Jesus has brought total and eternal satisfaction to the throne of God as well as the heart of God. Here was the one final sacrifice which has put away sin (Heb 9:26) and has made any other sacrifice unnecessary and obsolete.
Owning the veracity of this truth, it is very likely that its interpretation lies in another direction. All hinges upon who it is that is looking and is satisfied.
Perhaps the key lies in the word “travail.” The word as used elsewhere can be trouble, sorrow, labor, misery, and a host of other similar words. “He” is the Lord Jesus Christ. He looks on the sorrow and suffering through which He has passed; He is the One Who is satisfied.
But with what is He satisfied? May I suggest that He is satisfied with what He has procured through His suffering. He is satisfied with you and with me. Put another way, He has no regrets that He died to save us.
Observing our lack of consecration, He has no regrets. Seeing our daily failures, He has no regrets. Knowing how short we have come of what grace destined us to be here on earth, He harbors not even an inkling of disappointment that He paid so much for us. He is absolutely satisfied.
We tell sinners, and rightly so, that God is satisfied with the work of Christ and they should be satisfied as well. That is the heart of the gospel message. A similar message to believers should be heralded as well, that Christ is satisfied with what His suffering has purchased: He is satisfied and finds pleasure in each soul He has rescued.
He endured shame and dishonor. He knew the spittle of men on His face, the scourge of men on His back, the smiting of their fists on His face. Beyond that, He knew the separation for those six hours on the cross for us – six hours into which was compressed in divine reckoning, an infinite load of guilt, and an equivalent of eternal suffering. He endured all that and in the words of Hebrews 12: “Who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising (thinking it a small thing) the shame.”
How do you reconcile Christ being satisfied with the Bride He has purchased, and the truth of Ephesians 5:26, “That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present it to Himself …”?