“Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him…” (Isaiah 53:10)
Antinomy is defined as a contradiction between principles or conclusions that seem equally necessary and reasonable. This is seen more clearly when these contradicting principles or conclusions are part of one scenario. How do we make sense of or respond to situations that contain opposing viewpoints, yet both seem valid, reasonable and beneficial? As a simple illustration, imagine a mom taking candy away from her three year old child who is intensely enjoying the taste of it. At that point a contradiction of thought has just emerged and the child will quickly express his/her disapproval. To the child the mother seems cruel for taking away this reasonable pleasure. To the mother she is reasonably restricting the intake of something that could bring her child displeasure. How can something that we believe is good actually be harmful? How can something we perceive as bad actually turn out for our good?
The cross is the greatest example of antinomy in human history. How can such a brutal event turn out for good? The theology of the cross will humble you as the Holy Spirit teaches you its depth and the wisdom of God. Here in Isaiah 53, a Messianic prophecy, we read that it pleased the LORD to bruise the Son. What you know or what you don’t know about God will gauge your reaction to this truth. If you misunderstand God’s love then you may wonder why it pleased Him to crush Jesus. If you understand God to be a God of justice, you may still wonder why He crushed Jesus, the Sinless One. Yet it pleased the LORD to crush Him. How can this be? How can the Holy One of Israel also be an object of God’s wrath? How can the Sinless One become our sin bearer that the sinful might become the righteousness of God? Jesus counted the Father’s will as the most important task in His life, even death on the cross. The Father chose the elect to be saved to the extent that He sent the Sinless One to bear His wrath for us. This magnifies God’s love, grace and mercy. To see His righteousness vindicated and us as vessels of mercy is why it pleased the LORD to bruise the Son. Also, to see the Son raised, exalted and worshipped by all creation is why it pleased the LORD to bruise His Son.
What we see is divine grace disguised as bitter providence. Joseph experienced it. Abraham experienced it as well as many others. God’s love and will works through perceived mishaps or failures or frustrations. We need to have our perspectives constantly adjusted to the sovereignty of God to understand those “contradictions” in our lives. We also need to understand by faith that these antinomies are working spiritual life in us by extracting death from us, our flesh. If God bruised the Son, we can count on God “bruising” us. And let us not forget that it pleases Him in a glorious way. These bruisings from God are meant for our good! May Jesus’ words be our very own in these moments of bruising, “…not my will, but Yours be done.”
As we continue to run this race we will encounter the hurdle of antinomy, but let us ponder the theology of the cross and rejoice for “the works of his hands are faithful and just;..” (Psalm 111:7a)