Bible Facts Newspaper Article (Ian C. Kurylyk)
“He was numbered with the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12d)
Isaiah 53 is a very appropriate passage to think on at this season of the year. The prophet Isaiah saw the coming of the Messiah and His suffering centuries before Jesus Christ actually came into the world.
You can tell a lot about a person by the places he chooses to go. The coming of the Messiah into this world is told of in this chapter of Isaiah. What we can learn of Him centers around three facts in this chapter.
First, we might say that He was numbered with humanity. “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2). This verse describes how fully the Son of God came down to this world and became a part of the human race.
It involved what most people would consider quite a demotion when we think of His eternal status as God the Son and His glorious home in heaven. In a day when we think so much of our image, we find God Himself was veiled in human flesh. And even in that He was not born in a palace but in a stable. He did not wear a crown or even glow with a halo. He had “no form nor comeliness”.
He didn’t covet a high rung in the social ladder. He did not come to be Mr. Cool or to impress with the latest fashions. There was “no beauty that we should desire him”. It is hard for us to understand how anybody could leave behind what He had and be numbered with unlovely humanity. But God’s Son did it because of His love for all mankind.
Second, we see He was numbered with sorrowing humanity. “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). The life of Jesus in the Gospels make it clear that He came not to be served, but to be the perfect sinless servant. This meant that He was most often found among the sorrowing and the needy.
He lived a perfectly unselfish life. He healed the sick, taught the erring, comforted the mourners, and fed the hungry. He didn’t avoid the unpleasant facts of human life but ministered to them. This tells us a great deal about Him. By His own choice He left the place where all tears are wiped away to come to this sorrowing world. His acquaintance with grief was more than just as a spectator. Standing among His friends mourning the loss of Lazarus, John tells us “Jesus wept” (John 11:35).
But the most revealing fact of all is that He was numbered with suffering humanity. He left heavenly perfection to come to a world where he would suffer more than any man can ever grasp. We need to look closely at this scripture, “He was numbered with the transgressors.”
This does not mean He joined in with the law breaking of the rest of the world. Mark’s Gospel explains the significance. “And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors” (Mark 15:27-28). He was numbered with the law breakers in the place of punishment. He went to a criminal’s place. He was nailed to a Roman cross, between two thieves.
Why? He had no transgressions of His own to pay for. This is the good news of God’s love for us. He paid the price for OUR sins in His own lifeblood. He took our place. “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:5-6).
His resurrection three days later was the full proof that the debt was paid. The message today is that all that are willing turn from sin and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ will receive personal forgiveness of sin and the gift of eternal life.