The prophet, Isaiah, knew it all along, as he wrote in his servant songs: God's servant on earth would suffer death at the hands of those who will reject him. He knew that the servant "has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases ... he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities ... and by his bruises we are healed" (Isaiah 53:4-5).
Jesus was killed by the religious authorities who rejected his claim of being the Messiah and by the political authorities who rejected his claim of being a king in place of Caesar. If he came to earth today, he would surely be rejected and killed by today's powers and authorities, because he would challenge them, too.
But for Jesus, death gave way to life. He did this all that your death and my death might also give way to life—eternal life!
Lord Jesus, thanks to you we live in not in God's anger but in God's mercy, not in death but in life, not in guilt, but in joy. Amen.
Isaiah 53:1-8 (NRSV)
1 Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account.
4 Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
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.
8 By 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.