Lord’s Day

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6)


This moving verse begins with “all we” and ends with “us all.” In the Hebrew Bible, the first expression of this verse is exactly the same as its last one. This confession implies the accountability of the sheep, even though animals cannot be held liable. But these sheep symbolize responsible human beings belonging to God’s people Israel (Jn. 10:14-15).

When the Messiah was with His people on earth, very few were truly His sheep. The majority of the people rejected Him, falsely accusing Jesus of all kinds of wrong things. Isaiah 53:5 says that Messiah suffered for “our transgressions” and “our iniquities,” whereas verse 6 speaks of “the iniquity of us all” which probably parallels “the transgressions” of verse 8. God deals with wrong actions but also with their root cause. The apostle Paul goes into much detail about this. The distinction between sins in the plural or sinful acts, and sin in the singular, the sin-nature, is important (Rom. 5–7).

The transgression of the Jews was that they accused the Messiah of being demon-possessed, doing His miracles through the power of the devil. This was blasphemy of the Holy Spirit which could not be forgiven (Mt. 12:22-45). The leaders rejected their own Messiah, knowing full well what they were doing. Their iniquity led to the destruction of the temple and of Jerusalem.

The confession of Isaiah 53:6 implies each one’s personal failure, whereas the end of the verse covers Israel’s collective failure. Messiah’s sacrifice was sufficient for both. But it is also sufficient for each true believer from among Jews or Gentiles, now or after the Rapture, and for Jew and Gentile during the world to come.

Alfred E. Bouter