"Poured Out Unto Death"
Isaiah prophesies of “My servant” who is to come. We understand this figure to be the Messiah, and the prophecy finds its fulfillment in Jesus of Nazareth who was made Lord and Christ. This is not a “happy” passage of scripture, but it provides for hope and joy in our relationship with God. More than any other it gives insight into the life and death of God’s Servant and the effect which He would have upon people, even upon kings. He still has the same effect today.
Over half of the passage deals with the Servant’s making “a guilt offering” for sin (v 10). We know this to be Jesus’ sacrifice on His cross for the sins of the world. When we contemplate Jesus’ cross, especially around the Lord’s Table, we usually focus upon the painful suffering Jesus endured by way of crucifixion. It was an agonizing death to be sure. And our Isaiah passage speaks of physical torment: “pierced...crushed...chastening...scourging.” We do not want to minimize the physical pain of the crucifixion, but it is a mistake to believe that the physical suffering of Jesus is what brought us redemption. After all, countless Christians later died on crosses for their faith at the hands of the Romans.
In three places (vv 6, 11, 12), Isaiah writes of the Lord’s laying upon His Servant the iniquity and sin “of us all.” This seems to be more than an academic transference in God’s mind, and Peter (1:2:24) writes that Jesus “bore our sins in His body on the cross.” We cannot begin to imagine the agony of bearing the iniquity of the entire world at one time and being under the wrath of God for such. And the prophet tells us that it brought about another kind of suffering.
Isaiah tells of “the anguish of His soul” (v 11) and that “He poured out Himself [Lit His soul] to death, and was numbered with the transgressors” (v 12). An innocent Son of Man suffering the physical agony of crucifixion, bearing the iniquity of the human race under the hand of God, providing the justification of many - this is the cross of God’s Servant, Christ Jesus our Lord.