This teaching includes a free sermon outline to download for personal use, message preparation or Bible study discussion.
Tape No. I-4204Page
The Exchange Personalized – Part 2
We’re going to continue today with the theme of the cross. Yesterday I explained that by the cross I do not mean a piece of metal or of wood—although I have no objection to that—but I mean what was accomplished by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross to be received by faith. I tried to lay the basis of understanding saying that the essence of what took place was a divinely ordained exchange in which all the evil due to man’s disobedience came upon Jesus that all the good due to the sinless obedience of Jesus might be made available to us. That, I believe is the key that opens the treasure house of God. Very, very simply stated: “The evil came upon Jesus that the good might be made available to us.”
We had no claim upon it, we couldn’t demand it, God simply did it out of his sovereign, fathomless grace. I don’t believe that eternity will be long enough to find out why God did it but I’m so glad he did do it. That’s the most important fact of all.
Now, I want this to be a real learning period with you and so I’m going to do review from time to time and I’m going to give you some simple assignments which are option, you don’t have to do them. But you’ll benefit if you do do them. We did, in the course of our sessions yesterday, cover six aspects of the exchange. I would like you to see if you can remember them without looking at your outline. It’s no sin to look at your outline but let’s just check how much we do remember. And I often need to look at the outline myself.
I also want to say that there’s absolutely nothing final, no absolute theology in all of this. I’m not claiming that it contains all that was accomplished by the cross, it’s simply opening a door for you to enter in and appropriate what God has made available. So please don’t start a Derek Prince theology of the cross. This is simply a guideline to point you in the direction in which you have to go for yourself. Nobody else can ultimately make these discoveries but you.
There’s that old hymn that says there’s room for just one at the cross. And that really is true. You, personally, have to appropriate from God by the Holy Spirit and by the Word of God what the cross has made available to you, personally.
However, we’ll try and do this. Now I may stumble myself because I’m not going to look at my own outline. And I don’t always teach this exactly the same way so it could be that you’ll have to correct me. But we’ll do the evil on the left hand, the good on the right hand. Everybody participating now, the first one is:
He was punished that we might be forgiven.
He was wounded that we might be healed.
He was made sin with our sinfulness
that we might be made righteous with his righteousness.
He died our death that we might share his life.
He was made a curse that we might receive the blessing.
And he endured our poverty that we might share his abundance.
Well, that’s wonderful!
Now with regard to the curse and blessing part of it, let me just hold up this little book for a moment, From Curse to Blessingwhich, if you want some further insight onto this theme, will help you. It’s available on the book table, there’s a limited number I’m sorry to tell you. But you can also order it free—not free but very cheap from my ministry. Why I said free was because this is a transcript of two weeks of my radio teaching on my radio program Today With Derek Princewhich is aired on about between 60 and 70 stations in the States. It was broadcast for the first time last September and we offered this free transcript for any listener that would write in for it. And we had 6,000 responses which gives you some indication that this is meeting people’s needs, it’s reaching people in an area that they didn’t realize they had a need. So we’re not going to deal with the whole of this theme here in this teaching because it’s not our theme, but you can obtain that transcript very simply.
Now you can look at your outline. We’re going to go on. There are four further aspects of the exchange which are on the outline. I want to make it very clear to you that’s not all, these are just some examples. If you look in the outline, after the exchange between poverty and abundance there is shame and glory. This was made real to me through ministering to people in the area of deliverance and what is called emotional healing. I discovered that one of the deep problems that many people have is a sense of shame.
Now I don’t know why it is, I’m not claiming to be any bit better than anybody else, but some of these emotional problems I never had. I had to think myself into the position of people who did have them. For instance, I’ve met uncountable people who had a problem with rejection. I just never had that problem. It wasn’t because I was better, I mean my problem was something rather the opposite. If you don’t like me, that’s your problem not mine.
But I discovered that there are multitudes of people who are tormented with a sense of shame. They feel really somehow they can never really lift up their face in the presence of God. I’ve noticed some people who worship, they always worship with their heads down. I think it’s a real symptom of something. Job said, “I will lift up my face without spot to God.” We ought to be able to come into God’s presence without any sense of shame whatever.
One great cause of shame in our contemporary culture is child abuse. People, whether boys or girls, who were sexually abused in childhood often have a lingering sense of shame which will follow them up through life. But I’m so glad that the cross provides a remedy.
Let’s look at the picture of the crucifixion of Jesus that’s given us in Matthew 27:35–36. You know, the Bible, and particularly the New Testament is unique in its discipline the way it describes things. You take any modern author describing the crucifixion, he would have gone into all sorts of detail and tried to make it emotionally impacting. But the New Testament simply says `they crucified him’. It’s the most amazingly short statement. Let’s look there. Matthew 27:35–36:
“Then they crucified him, and divided his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoke by the prophets, “They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.’ Sitting down they kept watch over him there.”
We are often deceived by pretty religious art as to what took place when Jesus was crucified. But it’s stated very clearly here, they took all his clothes from him—because they wanted his clothes. Generally speaking, a man in those days had four basic garments. There were four soldiers, each soldier took one garment. Then there was the seamless robe and because it was such a particularly beautiful garment they said, “Don’t let’s tear it up, let’s cast lots for it.” So, if you study what that says it implies that he was left totally naked. Obviously there will be no religious art that will ever portray him that way.
So he was stripped naked and exposed to the gaze of the soldiers and all the passers by. And you find the New Testament in a way is very discreet. It says the women who came with him stood at a distance. The only one who came close was his mother. Behind that you see this picture of Jesus exposed in total shame. Why? This is the wonderful answer: He bore our shame. He took the shame that had come upon so many of us in so many different forms to do away with it, to eliminate it, to set us free from it.
What’s the opposite of shame? Glory, that’s right.
Let’s look at just one other picture the Bible gives of the shame in Isaiah 53. You really need to keep a marker in Isaiah 53 because we’ll keep going back there from time to time. It says in verse 3:
“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief [and that really is a man of pain, and acquainted with sickness]: and we hid as it were our faces from him.”
In modern English: we averted our eyes from him. The sight was so offensive we didn’t even want to look at it. That was our shame that he was bearing.
Then we look at the opposite side in Hebrews 2:10:
“For it was fitting [or appropriate] for him for whom all things and by whom all things [that’s God the Father], in bringing many sons to glory, to make the author of their salvation [that’s Jesus] perfect through suffering.”
Notice one purpose of the sufferings of Jesus was to bring many sons to glory. So we have the exchange “Jesus bore our shame that we might share his glory.”
It’s wonderful to think that God’s purpose was to bring many sons and daughters to glory. But it was only possible through the cross. Let’s do that now with the gestures, I’ll do it just once to sort of get you lined up. “Jesus bore our shame that we might share his glory. Jesus bore our shame that we might share his glory.” To be sure we really mean it we’ll do it once more. “Jesus bore our shame that we might share his glory.” Now we make it personal. It’s very important to make it personal because in the last resort it’s you as an individual. “Jesus bore my shame that I might share his glory.”
Let’s say thank you to him, shall we? I don’t think we can really believe that without saying thank you.
We’ll go on to the next exchange which is closely related but it is different. That is, rejection. My observation is, and this is simply out of my personal dealings with many people, that the commonest, single emotional problem in our contemporary culture today is rejection. I’m also inclined to believe it is the deepest wound that the human heart can ever bear.
There are various sociological reasons for that. Primarily it’s the failure of contemporary parents and particularly fathers. I have said sometimes the problem of America is it’s a nation of renegade fathers. And I would guess there’s some in front of my eyes here this morning. That’s something that you have to determine.
My conviction is that every baby born into the world is longing for one thing before anything else—that is love. And particularly the love of a father. A mother’s love is truly wonderful but a father’s love is what gives a baby security. There’s something about being held in the strong arms of a male that was designed by God to provide security. I sometimes look at little babies held in their father’s arm or over their shoulder, and the one thing that they are saying is “I’m secure.”
Also, love is really not effective if it isn’t openly expressed. To love people secretly is probably better than hating them secretly but it doesn’t do much, especially for children. Children need warm, openly expressed love. And my observation is at least 50 percent of the generation now before us has been denied that provision of God through many different sociological facts. But the truth of the matter is that there are millions of people growing up in this nation and around the world that have never really known warm, outgoing, unconditional love. And the result is rejection.
It can begin earlier than that. I’ve dealt with many people who had a problem with rejection that started when they were in the womb. When the mother discovered she was pregnant she didn’t want the baby. Maybe she had too many mouths to feed, or maybe she was just selfish and centered on pleasure, or maybe her relationship with her husband was not good. But she just resented it.
An interesting thing that I discovered some years back when I was ministering to people and I dealt with people who needed deliverance from rejection, I discovered it was of particularly high proportion in a certain age group. When I checked when they had been born, I discovered it was during the Great Depression. I just deduced that here’s a mother struggling already with poverty and the problem of feeding who knows how many children and she discovers another one is coming. She just says, “I wish I didn’t have that baby, I wish I didn’t need to have that baby.” And that has an effect on that little person inside the womb. And it can come out of the womb already feeling rejected.
Then again, there’s another very common cause of rejection which is the break up of a marriage. In Isaiah 54:6—does anybody have an NIV here? Could I borrow it for a moment? Thank you. I’m choosing this because of the translation. Isaiah 54:6:
“The Lord will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit; a wife who married young only to be rejected, says your God.”
That’s exactly the situation of millions of women in this nation right at this time. They married young only to be rejected.
However, let’s not imagine that the wound is borne only by a woman. Because a man can suffer just as deeply the wound of rejection from a broken marriage as a woman.
So thank God that there’s healing. If there were no solution to people’s problems I wouldn’t want to focus on them. I would go off and just live it up while I had time. Sometimes I’m absolutely overwhelmed by the depth of human suffering. There are times when I feel it’s almost impossible to support that burden. It’s bad enough in the west, but when you go to the Third World or behind the Iron Curtain, the total sum of human suffering is almost unendurable. But thank God we have the answer. If I didn’t have an answer I don’t know what I would do. I’m so thankful that it’s a complete answer. It meets every need. There is no need of humanity that is not met by the sacrifice of the cross. It’s wonderful to be the person with the answer.
I trust that by the time this series of studies is over and you’ve been ministered to individually by the people who help you, I trust that every one of you will go out of this period here as a person with the answer. You probably heard that saying, “I want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.” Well you can be part of the solution. If you will grasp the truths we’re sharing and apply them, you can be part of the solution. I don’t think that God has ever given me a greater privilege than to be part of the solution. I know I don’t deserve it but I’m glad he gave it to me.
Let’s look at the picture now in Matthew 27, we’ll go back to that chapter and we’ll see how Jesus endured the wound of rejection. We’ll begin at verse 45 and read to verse 51.
“Now from the sixth hour [that was noon by their counting] until the ninth hour [which was 3 p.m.] there was darkness over all the land. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried our with a loud voice saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’that is, ‘My God, my God, why have your forsaken me?’ Some of those who stood there when they heard that said, ‘This man is calling for Elijah.’ Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. The rest said, ‘Let him alone, let us see if Elijah will come to save him.’ Jesus, when he cried out again with a loud voice, yielded up his spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.”
What killed Jesus? It wasn’t crucifixion. He would have died but it would have taken considerably longer. When Joseph of Arimathaea went to Pilate to ask for the body, Pilate was surprised that he was already dead. Crucifixion was normally something of a lingering death. Jesus died of a broken heart. What broke his heart? Rejection. Rejection by whom? By the Father. The most agonizing of all rejection. He cried out in his agony, “Why have you forsaken me?” and no answer came from heaven. The first time in the history of the universe that Jesus prayed and got no answer. It says immediately after that he gave one further loud cry and yielded up his spirit.
But what was the result, the immediate statement that follows? The veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. Now it was an extremely thick veil, no human being could have torn it in two starting at the bottom. But when it was done from the top it was to demonstrate it was a work of God. The veil was what separated sinful man from a holy God. And when Jesus took our rejection and died, that veil of separation was torn apart and the way was opened for us to come to God without shame, without rejection, accepted.
Let’s look in Ephesians 1 at the result of acceptance. Verses 3–6. I’m reading from the New King James.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. Just as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, by which he has made us accepted in the beloved.”
I like that translation because of the use of the word accepted. What’s the opposite of rejection? Acceptance. “Jesus bore our rejection that we might have his acceptance as sons and daughters of the Living God.” The Father turned a deaf ear to Jesus Christ, but has opened his ear to our cry as his children. The exchange is absolutely exact.
The word that’s translated here “has made us accepted” is the verb that’s derived from the Greek noun for grace which is charis. And the same word is used when the angel Gabriel saluted the virgin Mary and said “hail thou that art highly favored.” So it’s a very strong word. We need to understand God just doesn’t tolerate us, his favor is upon us. He is passionately committed to us. We never have any reason to doubt our access to him.
This is an exchange that took place when Jesus died but it can be worked out in the lives of each one of us who needs it. Let me illustrate that by a little incident that always stays in my mind. I was in a conference that was held in Georgia in a very beautiful setting out in the forest. I was scheduled to speak at a teaching session and I was in danger of being late. So I was walking very rapidly across the campus and I ran into a lady who was walking just as rapidly in the opposite direction. When we had got ourselves together again she said, “Mr. Prince, I was praying that if God wanted me to speak to you, we’d meet!” I said, “We have met! Tell me your problem but I can only give you two minutes.” So she started to tell me what her problem was and I think she would have gone on a long while. At the end of one minute I said, “Listen, I think I understand your problem and I know the answer. Would you pray this prayer after me?” I didn’t tell her what I was going to pray. In fact, I didn’t know what I was going to pray but I knew the essence of what I was going to pray. I said, “Now, you say this after me. Oh God, I thank you that you really are my father, you really love me. I really am your child. I’m not rejected, I’m not unwanted, I’m not second class. I belong to the best family in the universe. Thank you God, you are my Father, I am your child, you love me and I love you. Amen.” I said good-bye. I had no more time.
About a month later I got a letter from the lady and she told me very simply that that brief encounter had completely changed the whole nature of her life, she was a different person. What had happened? She had passed from rejection to acceptance.
Now, it was all done by God and she was already a child of God but she hadn’t realized what had been accomplished for her by the cross.
Shall we just go through the motions then? It could easily happen even while we’re doing this that somebody here who has a wounded heart—you know, the Bible says the spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity, but a wounded spirit, who can bear? When the wound is in your spirit, that’s something else. But if there should be somebody here, while we are saying this, if you can receive it by faith you can make the transition. But we’re not going to take a lot of time. And if the Holy Spirit doesn’t move that way that doesn’t mean that you can’t receive help another way. But why wait if you can get it now? God has got a permanent now. The Bible says nowis the accepted time. Nowis the day of salvation. A lot of people misquote that. They say today is the day of salvation. That’s not what God says. He says nowis the day of salvation. Today—who knows what will happen later, but now, nowis the day of salvation.
I’ll do it once following the same routine. “Jesus endured our rejection that we might have his acceptance with the Father.” Let’s put in with the Father. Are you ready? “Jesus endured our rejection that we might have his acceptance with the Father.” Again. “Jesus endured our rejection that we might have his acceptance with the Father.” What do we do now? We make it personal. This is the point where something can happen to you. Are you ready? “Jesus endured my rejection that I might have his acceptance with the Father.”
Now let’s say this: “God really loves me. I really am his child. I belong to the best family in the universe. Thank you, Jesus, thank you. Amen.”
We’ll go on now to another aspect which I have never taught before. A wonderful thing about this is I’m continually seeing new aspects. If you look down your outline, the exchange is from separation to union. We’ll start guess where? In Isaiah 53. I told you, you need your marker there! I do too as a matter of fact. My Bible just happens to open at Isaiah 53! This is a description of the process of Jesus’ trial and execution. This is the substance of these three verses, 7, 8 and 9. Verse 8 says:
“He was taken from prison and from judgment [or from arrest and judgment]: and who will declare his generation?”
You see, the greatest tragedy for a male Jew was to die without heirs. And that was part of what Jesus apparently endured.
“For he was cut off from the land of the living: for the transgression of my people he was stricken.”
I want you to focus on that phrase “he was cut off.” But since I commented on the other, let’s look down into verse 10 and you’ll see that Jesus did have a progeny. Verse 10, 11 and 12 describe the results of his suffering.
“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he has put him to grief; when you make his soul an offering for sin [you remember we spoke about the soul of Jesus being made a sin offering?], he shall see his seed [that’s he shall see his descendants], he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.”
So you and I, what are we? We’re his seed, we’re his offspring. It says:
“He shall see of the travail of his soul [that agonies that he passed through], and he shall be satisfied.”
What satisfies him? You and me. We are the reason he did it all.
But let’s look at that statement “he was cut off from the land of the living.” Separated, put away. I’d like to give you some Old Testament pictures of this that are very vivid. But before I do that I need to explain something to you which isn’t in your outline. It’s possible you might want to note this scripture. Every time I go to an outline I add to it so since I made it, which was a few days ago, I’ve added a little.
I want to explain something extremely important to you about the nature of Old Testament prophecy. There are in the Old Testament many prophecies which we call Messianic. Messianic meaning they reveal the Messiah. They’re found particularly in the writings of David, Isaiah, some of the other prophets and some of the other psalm writers like Haman, Asaph and others.
Now, the strange feature of these prophecies is that the human instrument giving the prophecy, the prophet, speaks in the first person about things that he says happened to him but they never did happen to him. So what is the meaning of that?
The answer which we’ll find here in 1Peter 1:10–11 is it was the Spirit of the Messiah in the prophet revealing beforehand the sufferings of the Messiah and the glory that should follow. So though they spoke in the first person, what they said was not true of themselves but it was fulfilled in the experience of Jesus.
You’ll find this in many prophecies. You find it in Job. There are things that happened to Job which are a preview of what happened to Jesus. You’ll find it in Lamentations, you’ll find it in the minor prophets. It’s like, I suppose, scores of little glimpses given in the prophets that are no longer about the prophet but they’re a glimpse of what was to happen when Jesus died on the cross.
To give you a scriptural basis for this we’ll look in 1Peter 1:10–12.
“Of this salvation [that’s the salvation which we have received through Jesus] the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating, when he testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.”
Now, to take a very vivid example in Psalm 22, David said, “they pierced my hands and my feet.” That never happened to David. You can imagine David thinking to himself, “Why did I say that? What did that mean?”
So Peter says the Old Testament prophets were inquiring what was it they were talking about. And his answer is it was revealed to them that it was the Spirit of the Messiah in them speaking about what would be fulfilled in the Messiah which was not fulfilled in their experience. I hope I’ve made that plain to you. It’s so important because there will be many passages in the Old Testament you really won’t be able to understand until you realize this was the Holy Spirit in the person of the Messiah speaking about the suffering and the glory.
Take Psalm 16. Maybe we should turn there just for a moment, there’s a very vivid example. Psalm 16 which is quoted several times in the New Testament. You see, it’s not all Jesus. It starts off with David but it ends up with Jesus. If you can see what I mean, there’s a transition. If you like, look in Psalm 16 beginning in verse 7.
“I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel; my heart also instructs me in the night season. [Now that could be David.] I have sought the Lord always before me, and because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. [That could still be David.] Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices. My flesh also will rest in hope. [Now that’s not true of David. He’s talking about his physical body. He goes on to say:] For you will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will you allow your Holy One to see corruption.”
My body will never see corruption. That wasn’t true of David. As the apostles in the New Testament point out, Peter said on the day of Pentecost, “We know about David, he was dead and buried, it wasn’t fulfilled in him.”
And then it says:
“You will show me the path of life. In your presence is fullness of joy and at your right hand the pleasures for ever more.”
You see, as we look into the experience of David, we see through his experience beyond what he himself experienced into the experience of Jesus. I suppose you could find at least 100 places in the Old Testament where this is true.
Look for a moment, just to confirm this, in Isaiah 50:4–6. Notice it’s all in the first person.
“The Lord has given me the tongue of the learned that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary: he awakens me morning by morning, he awakens my ear to hear as the learned. [Now that could be Isaiah.] The Lord God has opened my ear and I was not rebellious [I did not resist], nor did I turn away. I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who plucked out the beard: I did not hide my face from shame and spitting.”
See, that’s Jesus. It’s another of these glimpses. And Peter explains it in 1Peter 1. It’s important to have the New Testament explanation. Let’s look at it again, 1Peter 1:10:
“Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ [but it makes much better sense if you say the Spirit of the Messiah, bearing in mind that Christ is the Greek equivalent for the Hebrew word Messiah.] who was in them was indicating, when he testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glories that should follow.”
Psalm 16 contains both.
“To them it was revealed, that not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which are now being reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit from heaven.”
They came to understand that their revelation was not for them but for the future heirs of salvation. See how privileged we are? We are the people for whom those revelations were given through the Old Testament prophets. We are the only people who can fully enter into those revelations.
Now, having said that I want to give you what I believe are some pictures of what is meant when it says “he was cut off from the land of the living.” I want to be very fair to you, I’m going to give you my personal belief. Not everybody would agree with me. As my friend Bob Mumford says, “How can I help it if I’m right!” I always quote Bob Mumford for that statement, it makes me sound humble!
Turn to Lamentations 3:54. Now you’ve discovered where to find Lamentations, haven’t you? It’s just after Jeremiah. It’s a very simple statement, it says:
“The waters flowed over my head; I said, I am cut off.”
Now that could apply to whom? We don’t know. There’s no reason to believe it applies to Jeremiah.
But now you turn to one of the great Messianic psalms which is Psalm 69 and all Bible interpreters, I think, see this as a Messianic prophecy. Psalm 69:2:
“I sink in deep mire where there is no standing. I have come into deep waters where the floods overflow me.”
And if you want to see that this is a Messianic psalm, look on to verse 21 which says:
“They gave me gall for my food; and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.”
Now this is a psalm of David. That never happened to David. This is one of those glimpses through the experience of David of what was to happen.
But I believe the second verse describes what the soul of Jesus passed through when he was cut off, rejected by God, enduring the wrath of God. Why was the wrath of God upon him? Because of our sin. He endured God’s attitude toward sin.
Let’s look quickly because time is running out, in Psalm 88 which is one of the most amazing psalms in the whole book of Psalms. In fact, it is the gloomiest of all the psalms. There’s not one single ray of light anywhere in the darkness. Psalm 88, we’ll just read a part of it, but I want you to think about Jesus cut off as you read these words. Verse 3:
“For my soul is full of trouble, my life draws near to the grave. I am counted with those who go down to the pit. I’m like a man who has no strength, adrift [or cast loose] among the dead. Like the slain who lie in the grave, whom you remember no more and who are cut off from your hand. [Now listen to this.] You have laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness [in the depths. That could not have been true of the psalmist.] Your wrath lies heavy upon me and you have afflicted me with all your ways.”
Now I leave it to you, but to me that gives just a glimpse of what the soul of Jesus endured through the rejection of God.
“You have put away my acquaintances far from me; you have made me an abomination to them.”
That was true because the one who was hung on a cross became a curse.
Now, the following verses ask six questions which are not answered in the psalm. If you look in verse 10:
“Will you work wonders for the dead? Shall the dead arise and praise you? Shall your lovingkindness be declared in the grave? Or your faithfulness in the place of destruction? Shall your wonders be known in the dark and your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness [that’s the land of the grave]?”
Six questions. The psalmist didn’t know the answer. What answer would we give? I tell you what answer I would give, I would answer yes to every one of those questions—through the death of Jesus. He did work wonders for the dead. The dead will arise and praise him. God’s faithfulness was declared in the grave. All the Old Testament saints who were down in Sheol found the Messiah declaring to them “It’s time to move, I’ve paid the price. You don’t have to stay here any longer.” That’s an aspect of doctrine we can’t go into. Shall your wonders be known in the dark? The answer is yes. And your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness.
And then we come to the end of that psalm—I just trust that the Holy Spirit will somehow give you a little glimpse of what Jesus endured. And we’re not talking about suffering in time, we’re talking about something in the realm beyond this life. Verse 16:
“Thy fierce wrath has gone over me, your terrors have cut me off. They came around me all day long like water, they engulfed me together. Loved one and friend you have put far from me, and my acquaintance into darkness.”
I think the NIV says for that last sentence, “darkness is my closest friend.” Isn’t that right? That’s a picture of Jesus cut off.
Now, we must go very quickly because time has almost run out. 1 Corinthians 6, the opposite side, verses 16–17. You have to read them together, otherwise you don’t get the point. Paul is teaching against fornication—what is now made respectable by calling it premarital sex. But the Bible still calls it fornication.
“Do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute is one body with her? For the two, says he, shall become one flesh.”
Now that’s speaking obviously about the sexual union of two bodies. But the next verse says:
“But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him.”
You must take it in the context. Paul is saying there is an immoral kind of relationship between two bodies in which they’re joined together in fornication.
But, he said, there is another relationship between the believer and the Lord in which he, the believer, is joined to the Lord and becomes one spirit with the Lord. That’s the fruit of Jesus being cut off. “He was cut off that we might be joined to the Lord.” Maybe we have time to say that. Let’s do it. “He was cut off that we might be joined to the Lord. He was cut off that we might be joined to the Lord.” Now you know what we are going to do this time? “He was cut off that I might be joined to the Lord.” That’s the spiritual union between the Lord and the believer. But it’s possible only on the basis of the fact that Jesus was cut off.
We’ll close for this time there. God helping us we’ll continue. We’ve got one more aspect of the exchange that’s listed. We’ll continue with that in our next session.