He was Pierced for Our Transgressions

Meditation on Isaiah 53:1–6

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passages of Scripture.

1.         Isaiah 52:13–15 is where the fourth “servant song” began that is titled “He was Pierced for our Transgressions.” It is a stunning poem since it encompasses all of human history right up to the return of the despised servant.

2.         Some commentators say the passage speaks of a king, or prophet, or priest that would arise and bring peace and healing to Israel and does not speak of a future event, that is, the incarnation. Clearly, no one in Isaiah’s time fits.

3.         Isaiah speaks of the servant’s horror and misery, which is turned into God’s power and glory. The servant’s suffering is not due to His own sin. Common in that era is the idea that suffering portrayed God’s disfavor.  We see this in Job where it is thought Job’s suffering is something he brought upon himself. Here the suffering is for the sins of others.

4.         In verse 1 of chapter 53 is a question that must remind us of the fact that God reveals Himself and cannot be found out. It is an ancient way of referring to the electing of a sovereign Creator. We are reminded of Romans 8:29–30.

5.         Verse 2 reminds of the virgin birth, with the servant depicted as a young plant, thus weak and lowly, and also one coming like a root out of dry ground—the miraculous.

6.         The servant is not a warrior king saving the nation of Israel, a great prophet with new revelations, but one who bears the sin of the people upon Himself. This personage, and it is referencing a human, is actually pierced, that is killed due to “our” transgressions.

7.         And “all we like sheep have gone astray” points to the great need of the saving Shepherd who takes all our sins upon Himself. A perfect portrayal of Jesus and the cross.

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