My righteous Servant will justify many, and He will carry their iniquities. – Isaiah 53:11
At one time in my life, I briefly considered a career as a lawyer. My uncle was a lawyer and ultimately a justice on the GA State Court of Appeals and I had some interest in it because of him. Instead, I chose a career in accounting, which is basically “law for nerds.”
Perhaps my interest in the law had something to do with the concept of justice. I, like many, have this innate desire for justice to be served, for right to supersede wrong, for the guilty to be punished for their wrongdoing and I pictured myself being a positive participant in that system. I guess that means I would have ended up a prosecutor.
In the verse above, Isaiah wrote of a justice system, but with a twist. It seemed that God, in the future that He revealed to Isaiah, would one day send His righteous Servant to justify (declare innocent) the many who did not deserve it. This “justification” would be abnormal (twisted), however, because the Servant would Himself bear the punishable sins of the guilty. The guilty would be “declared” innocent and the declaration would actually produce righteousness!
Of course, we can read this story from the back to the front and understand that this is exactly what Christ accomplished on the cross … absolute grace satisfied absolute justice serving up absolute salvation. Wow!
Living, He loved me;
Dying, He saved me;
Buried, He carried my sins far away;
Rising, He justified freely forever:
One day He’s coming — O glorious day!
– L. Wilbur Chapman