In Genesis we witnessed suffering’s entry into human experience. In Job we struggled with the terrible questions of its apparent arbitrariness, meaning and spiritual implications. What has this passage added?
I believe that there are at least two primary messages to be found in this perhaps the most important passage in the Old Testament. Firstly, the dialectic synthesis between suffering and salvation within the context of a person is explicitly identified. This person is clearly exceedingly special in God’s sight, and given the incredible events and consequences of his experiences could have been identified with messianic attributes. Had this passage of Scripture been used as the template for the Messiah, Christ may not have suffered and died as He did. But in God’s wisdom and foreknowledge, a very different messianic expectation was in place ca. A.D. 30, one of a powerful, conquering, nation-restoring hero.
Secondly, although it would not become understood until after the resurrection, God is here telling us, centuries before Christ, that suffering is an experience that He Himself will enter into with us. We will see the terrible fulfillment of this prophecy in all of its chilling detail when we follow Christ to the cross in Christ’s Suffering and Death.