“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not” (Isaiah 53:3).
“Man of sorrows!” What a name for the great Creator who came as man to be our Savior! Instead of being eagerly accepted by His creatures, He was rejected. We “esteemed Him not”—that is, we “estimated Him as nothing.”
These heart-breaking words one day will become the confession of the nation of Israel (note Zechariah 12:9–13:1), but they apply equally well to each of us today. This marvelous 53rd chapter of Isaiah is one of the greatest portions of the Bible, containing the most incisive and complete exposition of the doctrine of Christ’s substitutionary atonement to be found anywhere. Isaiah 53 is an amazing prophecy, fulfilled in precise detail over 700 years after it was written.
“He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities” (v.5). The word for “wounded” means “thrust through,” referring to the savage spear thrust into His side. The word for “bruised” means “crushed and ground into the dust.” He was “so marred more than any man” (52:14). The “chastisement” and “stripes” (v.5) anticipate the cruel scourgings He would receive from the Roman cat-o-nine-tails.
Though He was completely innocent, yet “He opened not His mouth” with complaint (v.7). “The LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (v.6)—that is, “laid on violently, with a death-dealing blow.”
Described in detail are the terrible sufferings of Christ both before and during His crucifixion—yet it was written before that form of execution was used. Most of all, however, it emphasizes that it was for us that He suffered. “He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: . . . for He shall bear their iniquities” (Isaiah 53:11). HMM