7”He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 8By a perversion of justice he was taken away. Who could have imagined his future? For he was cut off from the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people. 9They made his grave with the wicked and his tomb with the rich, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7-9).
God presents to the student of Scripture the definitive Old Testament text regarding substitutionary atonement (Isaiah 52:13-53:12). What the Old Testament previously illustrated with the sacrificial system centered in the tabernacle and temple, God now reveals in the person and work of the Servant of Yahweh: Jesus Christ.
As we begin to examine Isaiah 53:7-9, we should remember that it is the fourth stanza of five, and contains three verses. Take notice that all the verbs, unless otherwise noted, are in the perfect tense, which means a past completed action with continuing results. While the Prophet Isaiah was writing prophecy yet future in the 8th century B.C., it was regarded then, as now, as a completed and historical truth. Today, we study vs. 8.
“By a perversion of justice he was taken away.” The word perversion means oppression coercion and barrenness. The barrenness belonged to justice. This is a reference to the mock trials which the Servant (Jesus Christ) would endure. This is what He received on our behalf. The Jewish Sanhedrin violated their own laws by (1) convening at the house of Caiaphas rather than the regular meeting place, (2) meeting at night rather than during the day, (3) convening on the eve of a Sabbath and a festival, (4) pronouncing the judgment the same day as the trial, and (5) ignoring the formalities allowing for the possibility of acquittal in cases involving a capital sentence.
“Who could have imagined his future?” In other words, who either considered or complained about His family and generation? The answer to this rhetorical questions is, no one.
“For he was cut off from the land of the living.” The text refers to the execution of the Servant. He was killed.
“Stricken for the transgression of my people.” However, the prophet reminds us that the Servant’s death was a substitutionary atonement. He was afflicted for the rebellion and crimes of Isaiah’s people: the Jews.
The Servant gave His life in order to be the substitute object of wrath in the place of the sinner, who by that substitution will receive salvation and the righteousness of God imputed to them (Romans 3:21-26; 2 Corinthians 5:21; I Peter 2:24).
Soli deo Gloria!