Can it be that the sinless Servant of the Lord would stand in for His followers and pay their spiritual debt? Can it be that His character and goodness would be credited to their accounts? This is the message of the gospel and it is the good report that comes from a straight-forward reading of the Bible. But who will believe this report?
The “Servant” was nothing to look at. He was despised and was a man of sorrows. Those who were around Him did not esteem Him. At the height of His suffering, people wanted to look away from Him. Yet that moment of His deepest affliction was also the moment of His greatest service. He finished a most difficult race for all those who would learn to trust in Him. He was running that horrific course for them. They had the grief, but He carried it. They had the transgressions, but He took the wounds that they deserved. They had the iniquities, but He faced the weight of the Lord’s crushing justice. They needed peace, so He took the punishment. They were wandering away from God, so the Lord laid on Him their overwhelming iniquity.
The redemption of the Lord’s people was a plan that involved the Father and the Son. The suffering that the Servant of the Lord faced was from the hand of the Father. It was the just penalty for the sins of all those He loved. That debt was not owed to the devil or to any other creature. It was paid in full to Almighty God.
The Servant of the Lord faced this terrible divine wrath in silence. Though He went to His death with complete awareness of what would happen to Him, He accepted His ultimate trial with the peace of a lamb going to its shearers. He was completely submissive to His Father’s will.
He had not done any wrong, but He was oppressed and judged by corrupt men. He died and was buried in a borrowed grave. Yet the Lord, who could never be the author of any injustice, was working out His sovereign and holy will. “It was the will of the Lord to crush Him.” Beyond the Messiah’s profound humiliation would come the greatest exaltation for the Redeemer of God’s children.
Isaiah 53 promised that this great dying Man would see His “offspring.” All those who were united to Him in faith would be counted as His sons and daughters. Though His life under the sun was brief, God prolonged His days into the most wonderful eternal life, not only for Jesus, but for all who would call upon His name. Observers could see the anguish of His final hours, but did they know what the Son of God was actually doing? The Servant of Isaiah 53 accomplished the will of God. He made “many to be accounted righteous.”
Jesus poured out His life completely. He faced the indignity of being numbered with transgressors. He bore the sins of many, and then He prayed for those who were responsible for His death. The church throughout the world must never forget what Christ has done for us. God surely knows what His Son has accomplished. Suffering must give way to glory. The cross is finished. The crown is forever.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
O Lord, so many have ignored the truth of Your grace. So many were offended by the lowliness of our holy King. How is it that men would dare to despise Jesus, who was wounded for our transgressions? Thank You for this great truth: that the Shepherd died for the sheep. The One who was oppressed and afflicted in silence now lives forever in the strength of resurrection power. When He is seen again, every knee shall bow before Him who was an offering for sin. He has justified many. He has carried our guilt. Through the strength of His death, and through His intercession for us, we have been saved.