“Must Yet be Accomplished”

Luke 22:37


Here the Son of God, our all-glorious Savior, declares the absolute necessity of his sin-atoning death upon the cursed tree as our Substitute. — “This that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors.” The Lord of Glory was compelled to die as he did because the Scriptures must be fulfilled. The particular passage he quotes here is Isaiah 53:12.


            The Lord Jesus came into this world with a commission, on a mission of mercy, under the bondage of his own voluntary suretyship engagements, which he assumed for us as the Surety of the everlasting covenant (Heb. 7:22; Matt. 1:21; John 3:14-17). His death was no accident. It was not something which came to pass because of man’s free will, or because the Jews would not let him be their king! The Lord Jesus died at Calvary because he must die at Calvary (Luke 9:22).


            The word “must” means “necessary” or “binding.” It is used to describe that which is absolutely vital. Why? What necessity was there for the death of the Son of God upon the cursed tree? Why must this Holy One be made sin for us? Why must the Son of God’s love be put to death? Our Savior has told us that his death as our Substitute was necessary because the Scriptures, which declared hundreds of years earlier, “He was reckoned among the transgressors,” must be fulfilled. But there are other things that made his sacrificial, sin-atoning death upon the cursed tree necessary.


            The Lord Jesus Christ must die at Jerusalem as he did because God the Father purposed it from eternity (Acts 2:23). Our dear Savior had to die at Jerusalem in order to fulfil his covenant engagements for us. He voluntarily assumed all responsibility for our souls in the covenant of grace; but once he assumed that responsibility, he must fulfil it. He was honor bound to do so (Gen. 43:8-9; John 10:18; Acts 13:29).


            And it was absolutely necessary for the Lord Jesus Christ to die as he did upon the cursed tree, lifted up from the earth, in order for the holy Lord God to save us from our sins (Rom 3:24-26; John 3:14-17). If he would be “a just God and a Savior” (Isa. 45:20), he could not save us from our sins, except by the sacrifice of his own dear Son. He could only do it this way, because righteousness must be maintained, sin must be punished, justice must be satisfied, forgiveness must be legitimate, and love must be blameless.


            The Lord God was not, in any way, compelled by anything outside himself to save anyone. But, having determined to save some of Adam’s fallen race, he could not do so except upon the grounds of justice satisfied. He was not compelled to save us. But, having chosen to save us, he could not do so except by the infinitely meritorious sacrifice of his own dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. — “By mercy and truth iniquity is purged” (Pro. 16:6; Rom. 3:24-26).