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Suffering Servant

Isaiah 53:1-12

 

Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? [2] For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. [3] He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. [4] Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. [5] But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. [6] All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. [7] He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. [8] By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living, For the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due? [9] His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth. [10] But the Lord was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand. [11] As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities. [12] Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors. (NASB) 

Last week we overlaid the New Testament narrative of the Passion over a prophetic psalm to demonstrate that Jesus was the fulfillment of the prophesy of the Psalmist. As we think about Jesus fulfilling prophecy, there is a couple of ways we could approach it. We could think that Jesus did certain things to be able to fulfill a prophesy or that he did certain things because He was the fulfillment of the prophesy. Personally, I don't see Jesus going through a prophetic checklist, like a pilot would do before taking off from the runway, rather, I see Him walking into His destiny, not to prove anything to anybody, but to accomplish the work He had to do. Today we look at another ancient prophesy found in Isaiah 53, and like last week, we will study the prophet foreseeing what Jesus would do and others would do to Him. This morning I want to look at a few things that the prophet foretold and demonstrate that Jesus was Isaiah's Suffering Servant.

Isaiah said, he was despised and forsaken of men. Luke 23:18 says, "But they cried out all together, saying, 'Away with this man, and release for us Barabbas!' (NASB) and Matthew 26:67 says, "Then they spat in His face and beat Him with their fists; and others slapped Him," (NASB) As the prophet said, He was despised and forsaken. Isaiah also described Jesus as a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. In Mark 14:34 Jesus said, "My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch." (NASB) and Luke 19:41 says, "And when He approached, He saw the city and wept over it," (NASB) Truly, as Isaiah said, Jesus was a man of sorrows. In verse 4 Isaiah gives significance to Jesus' sorrows, he wrote, Isaiah 53:4 "Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted." (NASB) Isaiah hints at something that Paul would later clarify, the sorrows Jesus carried really belonged to us. The griefs He felt, were of our making. Paul wrote, "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us." (Galatians 3:13 NASB) The curse Jesus bore is our curse. Peter made the same point in 1 Peter 2:24 when he wrote, "and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross," (NASB)

Before we go any further in the text, I want to draw your attention to the description of Jesus that Isaiah gives in the preceding verses of this passage. Isaiah 52:13-15 says, "Behold, My servant will prosper, He will be high and lifted up, and greatly exalted. [14] Just as many were astonished at you, My people, So His appearance was marred more than any man, And His form more than the sons of men. [15] Thus He will sprinkle many nations, Kings will shut their mouths on account of Him; For what had not been told them they will see, And what they had not heard they will understand." (NASB) This preamble takes three perspectives. The first is an eternal one. Verse 13 draws attention to the exalted preincarnate state of our Lord. Verse 14, takes a view at the historical Jesus from the foot of the cross, and verse 15 shows the coming drama where Jesus shall return victoriously. For the past few months, we've been looking at Jesus from the foot of the cross as we've studied Old Testament prophetic and parallel passages. This is a good place to break from that pattern in our study to reflect up Jesus' preincarnate state and the glory He left to bring salvation into the world, and the glory He will return in. Notice that verse 15 says, "He will sprinkle many nations." The Septuagint translated the Hebrew phrase here to say that the nations will marvel at Him or that He will "startle" them. That translation is certainly supported by other scripture that depicts His return. 1 Cor. 15:52 says, "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed." (NASB) And 2 Peter 3:10 says, "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up." (NASB) Both of these scriptures portray events that would cause even Kings to sit up and take notice. Certainly they will be startled and will marvel at Him. But the rendering of the text we've read today gives another meaning. "He will sprinkle many nations" communicates the idea that He will purify and cleanse many nations with His shed blood. 

This preamble gives context to Jesus' suffering. It was not violence for the sake of violence-there is significance in His suffering-the servant suffers so He can save. That is precisely the point Isaiah makes in verse 5, Isaiah wrote, "But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed." (NASB) 

Jesus went through all He went through for a reason-it was to bear your sins so you wouldn't have to. In Ephesians 5:2, Paul wrote, "and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma." (NASB) Earlier we read the first part of 1 Peter 2:24, right now I want to read the entire verse, Peter wrote, "and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed." (NASB) There was purpose to Jesus' suffering. It wasn't senseless violence. He received wounds so you could be healed-so you wouldn't have to bear the weight of your sins. He died so you can live.

He died to pay the penalty for your sin. The Apostle Paul summarized this great truth in Romans 6:23 when he wrote, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (KJV) Jesus paid the price for our sins and made the free gift of eternal life possible to everyone who believes.

Has there ever been a time in your life when you've accepted Jesus as your Savior and surrendered your life to Him as your Lord?

Won't you pray with me now? With a simple prayer, tell Him that you've sinned and that you're sorry for you sins. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins and to take them away from you. Tell Him you'll live the rest of your life for Him and that you'll serve Him until your dying day. Tell Him that you are willing to exchange your life for His death. Ask Him to save you.

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