“And the Scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And He was numbered with the transgressors” (Mark 15:28).
The progressive fulfillment of this passage from Isaiah 53 is the amazing story of our Lord’s three baptisms. First, this prophecy must be applied to our Lord’s incarnation. Born a babe at Bethlehem, He was baptized into the human race, becoming, not merely one with us, but one of us, a true human being, though still also “very God.” This is how He was first “numbered with the transgressors.”
Later the Lord was baptized again, this time with water, by John the Baptist. John’s baptism was unto “repentance for the remission of sins” and those who responded came to his baptism “confessing their sins” (Mark 1:4,5). Little wonder that John at first refused to baptize this sinless One, saying: “I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me?” But the Lord insisted, saying: “Thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matt. 3:13-15). Thus our Lord joined repentant sinners in baptism and was, in this practical way, “numbered with the transgressors.”
But after His baptism into the human race and His subsequent baptism with water, our Lord spoke of a third baptism, saying: “I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I straitened [Lit., “What a spot I am in”] till it be accomplished!” (Luke 12:50). This third baptism was, of course, His death at Calvary, where He was baptized into God’s judgment upon sin in order that He might save us from it.
Finally, then, Isaiah 53:12 was fulfilled, for it is in connection with His death at Calvary that Mark 15:27,28 says:
“And with Him they crucify two thieves; the one on His right hand, and the other on His left. And the Scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And He was numbered with the transgressors.”
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.