First, you have quoted verses from John showing only the Love of the Father for the Son and the Son’s position of obedience. However, when John is read as a whole, you will also find that the Son Himself was in agreement with the Father. The Son LOVED us and He gave Himself, He lay down His Life for us. The whole of John expresses a more complex picture that this was a joint choice made in the unity of the Trinity.
[Jhn 13:34 KJV] 34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you , that ye also love one another.
[Jhn 15:9, 12-13 KJV] 9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you : continue ye in my love. … 12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you . 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends .
[Jhn 13:1 KJV] 1 Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end .
Second, The verses from Isaiah are an unfamiliar translation which, to me, twists His intent. Here are these verses in the KJV, which was once the “common language” of His body.
[Isa 53:6, 10 KJV] 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. … 10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put [him] to grief : when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see [his] seed, he shall prolong [his] days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
To me, these avoid the inference of a malevolent father. To me, these show a Father Who sees His creation being destroyed by a burden of lies, sin, iniquity, Who, knowing that His beloved Son has the ability to take that burden upon Himself, and though that burden would bruise Him and cause Him grief, that His Son would survive, even thrive, for it would bring about the defeat of His enemy. By taking this burden from His created ones and taking it upon Himself, the Son would have a Joy set before Him that would be far greater than the grief He would bear, far greater than the grief of seeing those created in His image being destroyed by their burdens.
Perhaps it may be helpful to look at it in the terms of a King and a Prince protecting those who serve them, those they love. The enemy is upon them and has captured some of them. The King commands the Son to lead the attack against that enemy, thus putting His Life at risk, but the Son, Who has been trained to be King, also loves those captured ones and it is His Own strong desire is to lead the charge to free them.
The translations, to me, bring about very different ways of viewing the relationship between the Father and His Son. Which is correct? I assume, by your question, that you do not know Hebrew, neither do I. So, how can we know which picture is a more accurate description of this crucial relationship?
First, I would recommend looking up key words in Strong’s. If you do not own one, it is easily available online through BlueLetterBible.com. Look up Is 53:6, which you have quoted as “….but the Lord caused the sin of all of us to attack him.” and Is 53:10 which you have quoted as “…. the Lord desired to crush him and make him ill…”
When I am studying a verse(s), I turn on the Strong’s numbers and copy the verse into a document, like this:
[Isa 53:6 KJV] 6 All we like sheep[H6629] have gone astray;[H8582] we have turned[H6437] every one[H376] to his own way;[H1870] and the LORD[H3068] hath laid[H6293] on him the iniquity[H5771] of us all.
[Isa 53:10 KJV] 10 Yet it pleased[H2654] the LORD[H3068] to bruise[H1792] him; he hath put [him] to grief:[H2470] when thou shalt make[H7760] his soul[H5315] an offering for sin,[H817] he shall see[H7200] [his] seed,[H2233] he shall prolong[H748] [his] days,[H3117] and the pleasure[H2656] of the LORD[H3068] shall prosper[H6743] in his hand.[H3027]
Now I read through and find the points that concern me.
In Is 53:6, it seems to me that it is the Hebrew words [H6293] and [H5771] that are the ones which require study. In Is 53:10, the Hebrew words [H2654], [H1792] and [H2470] need to be examined.
As an example of how to begin to study these, click on [H2470]. A new page will come up that describes the Hebrew word. Notice that the majority of the time, this word is translated as sick, which gives some support to the translation you have quoted. But, as you read on, this word is far more complex. It means not only sick, but to entreat, intreat, to grieve, pray, even a woman in travail. There seems to be no English word that encompasses all of this variety of meaning. We come now to the challenges of translation. How does an Eskimo, with 32 words to describe the various types of snow, communicate to one who speaks English and has only one word for snow? Understanding must come by the slow process of example. Scroll further down the page of the Hebrew word at BlueLetterBible.com. Near the end, you will find a list of all the verses in His Word which use this Hebrew word. Start reading through them and asking questions. What is the common thread in all of these that may reveal the meaning of the word in ways which English words are unable to capture? Read not only the verses, but the chapter or the story which those verses are in.
In Gen 48:1, Isaac is weak, in bed, at the end of his days.
In Ex 32:11, Moses, the leader of the mixed group of Israel, is sharing his burden of leadership with Yahweh as he besought Him.
Deut 29:22 describes the consequences of one who turns from Him, even his land will be weak, ill, sick though those who live there may not see the difference, it will be noticeable to those in the future and those who come from the outside.
Samson consistently describes the loss of his strength as becoming weak.
Saul felt compelled to offer a sacrifice, to make supplication, using this same word.
No, I will not go through all 75 times this word is used. But, from the few examples above, it does not seem that the use of the word is consistent with our current definition of ill as defined at dictionary.com: “of unsound physical or mental health; unwell; sick:” To me, that is most obvious in the use Samson gives. The loss of the gift of strength did not mean his physical health was then unsound, only that he no longer had the gift, he was simply weaker without the gift.
Something similar might be said of Moses and Saul. Their “besought” and “supplication” did not make the physical or mental health of our Creator unsound. It more likely refers to the position of authority of the King of kings. In Esther, the king had the authority to require the life of any who dared enter without invitation. Extending the scepter meant the king chose to lay down that option, to open himself to the presence of another and consider their concerns, listen to their petition. Some consider this a position of weakness compared to power he had to order the end of their life.
Likewise, taking the burden which another is unable to handle, does not make one’s own physical health unsound. It does require strength that one was not previously exerting, making one weaker, but not unsound. The burden could not only weaken one physically, it may also effect one’s heart, and cause grief. Noah Webster often sheds additional light on the meanings of the King James English, which I have often found helpful. In this case, the word grief in the KJV seems to me to combine the idea of injury with the sense of this weakness that seems to be shown in the Hebrew.
GRIEF ,n. [L. gravis.]
The pain of mind produced by loss, misfortune, injury or evils of any kind; sorrow; regret. We experience grief when we lose a friend, when we incur loss, when we consider ourselves injured, and by sympathy, we feel grief at the misfortunes of others.
The pain of mind occasioned by our own misconduct; sorrow or regret that we have done wrong; pain accompanying repentance. We feel grief when we have offended or injured a friend, and the consciousness of having offended the Supreme Being, fills the penitent heart with the most poignant grief.
Cause of sorrow; that which afflicts.
Who were a grief of mind to Isaac and Rebekah. Gen.26.
A foolish son is a grief to his father. Prov.17.
For fundamental questions such as “How am I to understand Christian truth on love?” I have found I must study on at least two levels.
First, do an in depth study of the verses which brought the issue to my attention. I have given examples of how I might go about this and mentioned some of the resources I have found helpful.
Second, and at least equally important, I read His Word, cover to cover, with colored pencils in hand, to draw attention to verses which He teaches me have an impact on understanding the whole of the Truth He is having me study. Without considering the WHOLE of His Word, it is FAR too easy to take a few verses that support a partial truth (often called a lie) and be led into error. When I was studying the Trinity, I used purple for every mention of the Father, red for every mention of His Son, and blue for every mention of His Spirit (the temple colors). I also read through His Word multiple times before gaining insight into the Trinity. Even now, as I re-read His Word, the colors of past studies continue to prompt new truth on subjects I have previously studied.
Lowell, if your heart is truly to know the answer to this basic question of Who He is, it will likely take a considerable amount of time and study before you come to peace about this. But, do not study only with your mind. Yield yourself to Him, quiet your thoughts and listen for His still small voice. I encourage you to take that time, to make that commitment, to be the king He is calling you to be.
[Pro 25:2 KJV] 2 [It is] the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings [is] to search out a matter.
My prayers are with you.