‘Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate will be more than the children of her who is married’, says the Lord — Isaiah 54:1-2
This verse in Isaiah 54, comes right after Isaiah 52-53, where the prophet explains the graphic death of a servant that is to come that will die for the sins of his people. He will bear the iniquity of us all (53:6), and the Lord will be pleased to crush him (53:10) in order that many will be counted as righteous rather than guilty (53:11). It is a seemingly depressing chapter. Isaiah 53 greets us with grief, pain, anguish, penalty, and suffering. And yet, after explaining the pain that this servant will go through for his people, Isaiah exhorts barren women to rejoice, for life will be brought to their wombs. In fact, they will give birth to more life than the women who are healthy and married (54:2)! But why should we rejoice at the death of an innocent man? Why should we see life coming from this death?
Because, the grave of this man is a womb. This servant is going to grave, so that he might arise and create life where there is absolutely no life. Though this servant dies, his life will be prolonged (53:10), and he will arise from the womb of death, bringing a host of dead men to life again!
Isaiah, in 54:1-2, sees the grave of this servant like a lifeless womb brought to life. Where there is no life, there will be an overabundance of life! Where their was no fruit, there is now a beautiful orchard! He has brought life out of lifelessness.
And how did this servant do it? He brought about life by becoming lifeless. He did it by becoming barren. He accomplished it by becoming nothing, that life may spring forth with great joy!
This suffering servant is none other than Jesus. And he become our sin and death, and that we may be brought to life. We were nothing, and yet he spoke life into existence from nothing. And when Jesus arose, we arose with him a new creation, a new life caught up in his brimming and resurrected life.
We are the children in Isaiah 54:1-2. We have been born of a barren woman. A womb that could never produce life has indeed produced life because of the suffering of our servant Jesus. He has brought life from death. He has created something from absolutely nothing.
As Paul says in Romans 4:17:
[God] gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist…