But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5 ESV)
For Isaiah, this must have been one of the most confusing messages that God ever gave to him. Beginning in 52:13, the LORD gives to Isaiah a vision of His servant, who is the Messiah; however, the picture is not what we would expect. Though the Messiah would be an eternally ruling king who is God with humanity, this describes Him as being a man of sorrows, rejected by men (v. 3).
Verses 4-6 give us the most interesting piece of this strangely violent message. Isaiah claims that the Messiah would be smitten by God, crushed, despised, and poured out to death for our sake. He is called a man of sorrows because He carried our sorrows and has borne our griefs. He was killed for our transgressions and iniquities. “The LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
600 years before Christ’s birth, this is Isaiah’s commentary of Jesus’ death on the cross. Though it may seem strange for the King to die for His people, God hinted at the Messiah’s death from day one. In crushing the serpent’s head, the serpent would bruise the Savior’s heal. He would essentially take upon Himself the serpent’s venom in order to crush the serpent’s head. Thus, Genesis 3:15 happened upon the cross. By facing sin’s sting of death in our place, Jesus defeated sin, evil, and death by raising back to life, crushing the serpent’s head.
Read all of Isaiah 52:13-53:12, and consider the weight of Jesus being the perfect, sinless King who died on behalf of His people, who died for you.