Our text tells us that He was judged and killed as a godless man. Christ designates a rich man generally as a godless man. His epitaph will be as Christ says (Matt. 19:23): “A rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.” The rich place their confidence and trust in their riches and are generally godless people. That is why Scripture equates a rich man with an ungodly man who relies on his riches.
The prophet wishes to say that Christ died as one worthy of death and the devil, even though he was not an ungodly man. In His entire life not the slightest evil deed is to be found, nor in His teachings one tiny false word. Rather, in His teaching there is nothing but truth, and in His life nothing but innocence and holiness. In other words, He did not die for His own sake, for He did not deserve death; rather He is innocent and just in all His preaching and works. “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief” for the ungodly.
Christ was crushed according to the gracious and good will of God the Father. Christ was not guilty; He did not deserve this. But thus it graciously pleased God that by the innocent death of His Son our sins would be wiped out and we would be saved. But this was also the will of Christ. As He went to his death He said in the Garden, “Not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Neither the law of Cod nor the ruler Pontius Pilate had any claim against Him personally, but it was in accord with the Lord’s gracious and good will.
“The great mistake made by most of the Lord’s people is in hoping to discover in themselves that which is to be found in Christ alone.”—A. W. Pink
Adapted from Martin Luther (Sermons 5:447–448).