... because He submitted Himself to death, and was counted among the rebels; yet He bore the sin of many and interceded for the rebels.
When Jesus died on the cross, He counted Himself among the rebels...the sinners or as many versions put it, the transgressors. He became guilty while on the cross when He bore our sins. Jesus was not a sinner, but He became sin for us.
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that
in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (HCSB)
Isaiah 53 is an Old Testament prophecy of Jesus telling us He would come as a suffering servant. I am familiar with this chapter, but recently when I was reading it, the word rebel, in verse 12, struck me. Maybe I have never read Isaiah 53 in the NLT Bible because I don't remember thinking of Jesus as a rebel before. It just sounds different than "sinner" or "transgressor" for some reason. A rebel is someone who intentionally opposes or disobeys authority or those in control. And then it hit me. Couldn't we call Adam and Eve rebels when they disobeyed God by eating the fruit from the tree He told them not to eat from? Isn't God the ultimate authority? Didn't they oppose God and do what they wanted?
After sin entered the world, everyone born could be called a rebel. Our nature was to oppose God. I'm not sure we often think of ourselves that way. Until we are born again and have received new life in Christ, we are objects of God's wrath because we are sinners (Eph 2:3). Even then, He loves us and sent His Son to die for us. God sent His Son to be the object of His wrath so that we could be free, or you could say God became the object of His own wrath (Jesus is God) so that we could be reconciled to Him.
Some of us have loved ones who have walked away from the Lord. We might call them rebels. Jesus identifies with them since He was counted among the rebels. Don't give up hope. God had a beautiful plan of restoration when He sent Jesus to this earth to ultimately die on the cross. It looked awful in the moment...hopeless and so sad, but three days later, everything changed when Jesus came back to life. Just because your loved one has intentionally opposed or disobeyed the authority of God, doesn't mean God's plan for them will be thwarted. It is wrong for us to think we know their future based on present behavior or belief. Our God, who spoke the world into motion, and rose Jesus from the dead, can do anything.
With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.
Jesus spoke these words in the context of salvation. He was saying with man, salvation is impossible, but with God all things are possible, including salvation. So stop focusing on the condition of your "rebel" and keep your eyes on the One who became a rebel for our sake, and can all things.