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Isaiah has warned the people by giving the “report” of what the Lord has said, urging them to return to Him and be His people of holiness. But the people have not listened to him, and do not believe what he has to say (verse 1). They have persecuted him, and killed other prophets who have said the same thing. The people are the very people chosen to first receive him, his own ancestors, and they are the ones who will betray him.
All the prophets, from Adam to Moses to Isaiah to Lehi, were shown pieces of the Savior’s life and all of them taught the people about Him (Alma 33:15-17; Helaman 8:19, 20, 22; 1 Nephi 1: 18-20; 2:1-2; 19:10; 10:1-17; 11: 18-34; 2 Nephi 2:1-2; Moses 7:47-59). Isaiah understood that the Savior would grow up in a common life in a common family (verse 2). People would hate on him and reject the Savior, his friends would betray Him, and He would grieve for all of us (verse 3). Yet still, He carried our sorrows and griefs for us, completing the work of the atonement to cover not only our own iniquities, but also the injustices done against us by others (verse 4). This is the great exchange, that He paid the price for our sins and injuries (both that we cause and that we experience), so that we might in Him find mercy and be healed and find peace (verse 5).
This was a gift for every one of us, even those who do not accept it. Each of us, all of us, have sinned or hurt others in some way, and so are unable to be at-one with God. We are all here to learn the difference between good and evil, and to have opportunity to choose the good. Making mistakes and choosing poorly is part of that learning curve, and Heavenly Father knew this. This was part of the plan from the beginning. “That is why he provided an atonement so that as fast as we overcame our weaknesses and turned to the Lord, the mistakes of the past could be blotted out” (Skousen, p. 660). Isaiah compares us to wandering sheep who go astray and need to be brought back by a good shepherd, all while it is the shepherd Himself who is sacrificed for us (verse 6).
The Savior knew and understood this plan, and did not protest against it – even when He knew it was going to cost His life (verse 7). He was a specific person who really lived and really fulfilled these prophecies (verse 8). Even when he died, as a common man between two thieves, and so should have been buried in a pauper’s grave, the prophecy was fulfilled that He was laid to rest in a tomb when the wealthy Joseph donated his own tomb for the Savior’s body (verse 9; see Matthew 27).
Every prophecy has been and will be fulfilled, and this has pleased the Father. It did not please Him that the Savior was hurt or killed, but it pleased Him that the Savior was so obedient to the plan He had promised to fulfill (verse 10). Heavenly Father knew that the Savior suffered so much that it would meet the demands of justice for all of us (verse 11; Alma 34:15-16), but only if we will accept it and do all we can to repent and continue obediently (2 Nephi 25:23). Those who do so will receive a portion of our Father’s blessing and all He has to offer, because the Savior kept His promise to fulfill the demands of justice that we might all find mercy (verse 12).