And they made his grave with the wicked. Isaiah 53:9
The first half of Isaiah 53 (53:1-8) descends to the lowest place as Jesus is despised and rejected; the second half (53:10-12) ascends to the highest place as Jesus is honored and exalted. And between these two movements is verse 9, which focuses on the burial of Jesus. It is the turning point between the agony of Jesus’ death and the glory of His resurrection.
Notice in verse 9, it says, “they made His grave with the wicked.” They refers to those who despised Him, rejected Him, and esteemed Him not. When Isaiah says, “they made his grave with the wicked” he is referring to the fact that they condemned Jesus to a criminal’s death. He was crucified between two thieves—in the company of the wicked.
The two thieves were not mischievous people who stole apples from an orchard. They were receiving the death penalty, so their crimes were not misdemeanors. They were robbers and most likely had acted with aggravated violence.
These were wicked men, and by condemning them to the death penalty, the authorities were making a clear statement that there was no place in society for people who acted as these men had done. In fact, in order to make an example out of these men, their bodies would likely have been dumped outside Jerusalem in the Valley of Hinnom.
The Valley of Hinnom was a garbage dump in which fires constantly smoldered. It was a place of death, decay, and destruction. The stench would have been awful, and no one would ever want to go there. In Greek, this place was known as Gehenna, which translates into our English word hell. The Valley of Hinnom was the grave of the wicked. This is where the authorities thought Jesus belonged. Their intent was literally that He would go to Gehenna.
Are you surprised by what people thought of Jesus in His day? Why or why not?