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THE SCOURGING, SHAME AND SPITTING

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, March 26, 2017

“I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting” (Isaiah 50:6).


With the Ethiopian eunuch we may ask, “Of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?” (Acts 8:34). As with the 53rd chapter, we cannot doubt that Isaiah spoke here of the Lord Jesus Christ. Surely this was one of the prophecies that Jesus referred to when he spoke to the Disciples as they went up to Jerusalem and said,

“Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again” (Luke 18:31-33).

Jesus told them that the Gentiles would mock Him, insult Him, scourge Him, and put Him to death. And He said that all this was foretold “by the prophets.” So our text must have been one of the verses to which He referred,

“I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting” (Isaiah 50:6).

Then see how literally that prophecy was fulfilled. Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, scourged Him. Then the Roman soldiers

“...platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head, And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews! And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him...” (Mark 15:17-19).

I am therefore convinced that it was Jesus of Nazareth, our Redeemer, who fulfilled those very words of prophecy,

“I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting” (Isaiah 50:6).

Let Joseph Hart describe the scene,

See how patient Jesus stands,
   Insulted in this awful place!
Sinners have bound the Almighty hands,
   And spit in their Creator’s face.

With thorns His temple gored and gashed,
   Send streams of blood from every part;
His back with heavy scourges lashed,
   But sharper scourges tear His heart.
(“His Passion” by Joseph Hart, 1712-1768; altered by the Pastor).

“I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting” (Isaiah 50:6).

I bring to you the suffering Saviour tonight. And I say with Pilate, “Behold the man.” Turn your heart and look upon Him in His passion. See who He is, what an example He has left, and what He has done to save ruined sinners from eternal fire.

I. First, see Him as the incarnate God.

God came down in human flesh to live among men on this earth. He says in Isaiah 50:2, “I came.” God the Son “came” down from Heaven and lived among us.

“The Word was God... And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:1, 14).

“God was manifest in the flesh” (I Timothy 3:16).

Ancient Christians were right to call Jesus, “God of God, light of light, true God of true God, begotten not made.”

Think on this and you will see that it is the most remarkable doctrine that ever entered the mind of man. Spurgeon said,

Were it not well attested, it would be absolutely incredible that the infinite God who filleth all things, who was and is, and is to come, the Almighty, the omniscient, and the omnipresent, actually condescended to veil himself in the garments of our inferior clay. He made all things, and yet he deigned to take the flesh of a creature into union with himself...Our Lord’s manhood was no phantasm...no mere appearance in human shape: beyond all doubt “the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” “Handle me and see,” saith he, “a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have” (C. H. Spurgeon, “The Great Mystery of Godliness,” The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Pilgrim Publications, 1979 reprint, volume 28, p.698).

Jesus was God in human flesh, by hypostatic union. He is the incarnate God, the second Person of the Holy Trinity, the Word made flesh!

That reveals our text to be unfathomable to the human mind! Here is God in human flesh allowing Himself to be degraded and tortured! It is beyond human thought that God incarnate could say,

“I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting” (Isaiah 50:6).

Here the Creator of the universe, and all that lies within it, allows sinful men to smite His back and pluck His beard! Here my God lets vile sinners spit upon His holy face! They spit in the face of God!

See how patient Jesus stands,
   Insulted in this awful place!
Sinners have bound the Almighty hands,
   And spit in their Creator’s face.
(“His Passion” by Joseph Hart).

II. Second, see Him as our example.

“I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting” (Isaiah 50:6).

As the servant of God, Jesus allowed sinners to beat His back, pluck off His hair, and spit in His face. He could have caused the ground to open beneath them as with Korah, or caused fire to consume them, as Elijah did. But He went “as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7). And the Apostle Peter said,

“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (I Peter 2:21-23).

We may be willing to give God our lives and money, but when we are abused and slandered we feel like drawing back. But Jesus was willing to be scoffed at and called an impostor by the worst of sinners without defending Himself. What do we say when friends and relatives call us hypocrites, and speak evil of us for being Christians? We should remember that Jesus “held his peace,” saying nothing when He was accused by false witnesses the night before His crucifixion (Matthew 26:63). When Pilate said to Him, “Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?” Jesus “answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly” (Matthew 27:13-14).

I learned this lesson with great difficulty when I defended Jesus during our demonstrations against the blasphemous movie “The Last Temptation of Christ.” False witnesses came out to accuse me of anti-Semitism and treachery. This was utterly false. I love the Jewish people and the state of Israel with all my heart and soul, and I always have. But I learned to suffer those abuses in silence when friends of a lifetime turned against me for defending Jesus. For twenty years I said little in my own defense. Only recently have I made a statement to protect the witness of our church against these false accusers. Jesus said,

“Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets” (Luke 6:22-23).

Those words of the Saviour have been a great comfort to me in times of trial. I do not think we should defend ourselves too quickly when the world accuses us for Jesus’ sake. During “The Last Temptation” demonstration a man quite literally spit in my face. I stood there in front of scores of news cameras with spit running down my face. I learned from Jesus not to retaliate, for He did not hide His “face from shame and spitting.” I tried my best to be kind to this man afterwards. Poor fellow! Later he was murdered. God knows the sorrow I felt and the tears I shed for him and for his family.

In a sermon on our text Spurgeon said, “You must become less, and less, even though you should be despised and rejected of men, for this is the path to everlasting glory” (“The Shame and Spitting,” The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Pilgrim Publications, 1972 reprint, volume 25, p. 431).

Let each of us remember the example of Jesus when people mock us and speak against us for being His followers in these evil days. Spurgeon said,

Are you full of aches and pains...? Jesus knows all about them, for he “gave his back to the smiters.” Do you suffer... from slander? “He hid not his face from shame and spitting.” Have you been ridiculed...? Have the graceless made fun of your godliness? Jesus can sympathize with you, for you know what unholy mirth they made out of him. In every pang that rends your heart your Lord has borne his share... (Spurgeon, ibid.).

See how patient Jesus stands,
   Insulted in this awful place!
Sinners have bound the Almighty hands,
   And spit in their Creator’s face.

III. Third, see Him as the substitute for sinners.

“I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting” (Isaiah 50:6).

Remember that Jesus did not suffer this pain for any sin of His own, for He had no sin.

“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).

This verse in Isaiah 53 tells us plainly that His bruising and stripes, as well as His death, were necessary to save sinners. Jesus took upon Himself our sin. And the Bible tells us that God “made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (II Corinthians 5:21). When Jesus suffered, He suffered for our sins, to pay the penalty for them, so we could be saved. Sin is the worst possible thing. Sin deserves to be scourged. Sin deserves to be spit upon. Sin deserves to be crucified. And because Jesus took our sin upon Himself, He had to be scourged. He had to be spit on. He had to be put to shame. If you want to know what God thinks of sin, look at His Son, scourged across the back, hair plucked off of His cheeks, His face spit on by the soldiers when He was made a sin-offering for you and me. If you and I were scourged and plucked and spit upon for our sins it would be no surprise. But He who bore our sin was God the Son. Jesus stood in our place, and “it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin” (Isaiah 53:10). Even though our sin was only laid on Jesus by imputation, it caused Him the deepest pain and shame before it was paid for on the Cross.

Notice that our text says, “I gave my back to the smiters.” Jesus willingly gave Himself to the smiters, to those who plucked His beard, and spit in His face. He gave Himself to die on the Cross. No one made Him suffer for our sins. He did so willingly. The Son of God willingly became a curse for us, as our substitute, to pay the penalty for our sin – so we could be pardoned by God and be made righteous in His sight.

Can you hear of this and not feel amazed? Can you remember that the Son of God was beaten, and plucked, and spat upon, and not be filled with wonder, awe and praise? He who covers the sky with clouds did not cover His own face from shame and spitting. He who created the backs of mountains, did not keep His own back from being flogged to shreds. He who binds up the universe with a girdle that holds it together was bound in chains and blindfolded by men that He Himself created. When angels in Heaven sing great waves of music in His praise, will it seem possible that He was nailed to a cross? I suppose that is why the nail prints will forever be in His hands and feet, so we will not be able to forget what He did for us when we see Him in Heaven. How will I be able to look at His dear face in glory without remembering that sinners pulled out swatches of His beard while spit ran down His holy cheeks!

See how patient Jesus stands,
   Insulted in this awful place!
Sinners have bound the Almighty hands,
   And spit in their Creator’s face.

His face! Why not spit on angels? Was there no place for you to spit but in His lovely face? His face! God help us! His face! They spit in Jesus’ holy face! Spurgeon said, “I could wish that man had never been created, or that...he had been swept into nothingness rather than have lived to commit such horror” (ibid., p. 428). God help us! They spit in our Redeemer’s face!

If you are lost, I plead with you to trust Him now. Your sin is ended when you trust Him, because He bore all your iniquities and shame when He was nailed to the Cross. Your punishment is then removed, for Jesus has borne it all away – on His back, on His cheeks, on His face, and in the wounds made in His hands and feet. Trust Him and all punishment for your sins is removed, and you are saved, justified for all time and for all eternity by His redeeming love! Please stand and sing hymn number six, “Oh, What a Fountain!” by Dr. John R. Rice.

We have a story of love past all measure,
   We tell how sinners forgiven can be.
There is free pardon, for Jesus has suffered,
   And made atonement on Calvary’s tree.
Oh, what a fountain of mercy is flowing,
   Down from the crucified Saviour of men.
Precious the blood that He shed to redeem us,
   Grace and forgiveness for all of our sin.
(“Oh, What a Fountain!” by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980).

I pray that you will trust Jesus tonight. His Blood will cleanse you from all sin. Trust Him now and you will be saved for all time, and all eternity.


WHEN YOU WRITE TO DR. HYMERS YOU MUST TELL HIM WHAT COUNTRY YOU ARE WRITING FROM OR HE CANNOT ANSWER YOUR E-MAIL. If these sermons bless you send an e-mail to Dr. Hymers and tell him, but always include what country you are writing from. Dr. Hymers’ e-mail is at rlhymersjr@sbcglobal.net (click here). You can write to Dr. Hymers in any language, but write in English if you can. If you want to write to Dr. Hymers by postal mail, his address is P.O. Box 15308, Los Angeles, CA 90015. You may telephone him at (818)352-0452.

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Luke 18:31-33.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Lead Me to Calvary” (by Jennie Evelyn Hussey, 1874-1958).


THE OUTLINE OF

THE SCOURGING, SHAME AND SPITTING

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting” (Isaiah 50:6).

(Acts 8:34; Luke 18:31-33; Mark 15:17-19)

I.    First, see Him as the incarnate God, Isaiah 50:2; John 1:1, 14;
I Timothy 3:16.

II.   Second, see Him as our example, Isaiah 53:7; I Peter 2:21-23;
Matthew 26:63; 27:13-14; Luke 6:22-23.

III.  Third, see Him as the substitute for sinners, Isaiah 53:5;
II Corinthians 5:21; Isaiah 53:10.