Day 8 - Isaiah 53, Suffering Servant

Day 8: Isaiah 53 – Suffering Servant

  • Reading: Isaiah 53:1-12

Isaiah was a prophet 700+ years before the birth of Jesus.  Isaiah 53 tells of Jesus’ death. A death that hasn’t even been “invented.”  To die on a cross, didn’t even exist in Isaiah’s time.  Yet,  Isaiah 53 gives us an extremely detailed account of his death and in every aspect of his death.  He shows us the Messiah was to be a Suffering Servant.  The idea that the Messiah would suffer was extremely foreign to the Jewish people.  They saw the messiah as a conquering hero. In fact, Isaiah starts out verse 1 by essentially saying, “you’re not going to believe this...”

There is so much packed in to Isaiah 53 that I want to break it down.  Our explanation will be concise and quick so this blog post doesn’t take you hours to read and my fingers don’t grow numb from typing.  If there is a verse that stirs you, dive deeper!  This passage is powerful and will be worth your time.

Who has believed what he has heard from us?

- You are not going to believe this.  It’s contradictory to the belief of the Messiah.

And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 

- Arm of the Lord is seen as strength, power and might.  Yet this passage seems odd since it talks about a Messiah who is portrayed as weak and suffering. 

Yet we have the privilege to know and see Jesus as strong and powerful in the midst of his suffering.

For he grew up before him like a young plant,

- Young plant is tender and Jesus came as a baby and matured as a child

and like a root out of dry ground;

- Jesus grew up in Galilee an area see as “dry” and boring.  It was nothing special.  Dry in the areas of spiritual, political and standard of living.

he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. 

-Jesus’ outward appearance was nothing special. 

He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;

- Because he was fully man, who knew what it felt like to be sad. He had full human emotion.

and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 

- Jesus was not “fancy” Men did not esteem him.  They saw him as plain thus rejecting him as their Messiah.  They wanted their Messiah to be a conquering hero like the Kings of their day – Full of physical beauty and a charismatic character.  A man of high status and power.

Surely he has borne our grief and carried our sorrows;

- This Messiah, Jesus took our pain upon himself.  He literally carried our sorrows on his back as he walked/carried his cross to be crucified.

yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 

- Seen as stricken and afflicted by God because they couldn’t fathom “why” the Messiah would carry our sin.

But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,

- Here Isaiah explains why he was stricken.  It was for us, for our sin.  The Messiah suffered for us and took our place on the cross.  And why?  Because it brought us peace.

and with his wounds we are healed. 

- A few translations use stripes.  The stripes and wounds refer to the beatings.  We have healing because of Christ’s sufferings.  It is through Jesus’ death on the cross that we have full healing and atonement.  (confused why? We’ll explain more on day 14. 

All we like sheep have gone astray;

- we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

we have turned-every one-to his own way;

- we all walk away, chosen our own path even though God has placed a path before us.

and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 

- God laid this on Jesus for us.  Synonyms for iniquity are wickedness, sinfulness and immorality.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth;

- he stood silent, never standing up for himself, never rebuking false claims against him.  Thy will be done he uttered in the garden.  He knew this was the only way we could be made right with God so he stood silent.  Ready to take on the sin of the world for our redeeming salvation.

like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. 

- Jesus was willing to be the final and ultimate sacrifice for all time.  So he stood, taking in all the hate and abuse with not a single retaliation.

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,

- Generation refers to no children. Cut off foreshadows that the Messiah would die.

stricken for the transgression of my people? 

- He does not suffer for himself but for the sins of people.

And they made his grave with the wicked.

- He died in the company of the wicked. A criminals death.

and with a rich man in his death,

- laid in the tomb of a wealthy man.

although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. 

- Because he had done no violence.  He never sinned and he remained holy.

Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief;

- God was in control.  His sovereign hand controlled the priests, Pontius pilot and the Roman Soldiers.  This was not by mistake.  God allowed man to crucify Christ all for His redemptive purpose and plan.

when his soul makes an offering for guilt,

- We will dive into Jesus as the final sacrifice on another day.  But he was and we now are made right with God.

he shall see his offspring;

- Spiritual descendants.

he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 

- life after death with the glory of God

Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;

- He will look back on his suffering and it will all be worth it.

 by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. 

- We are justified before God when we know/believe in the Messiah because of who he is and what he did on the cross for us.

Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,

- We will divide the goods with those who share in his suffering, those who are followers of Christ, you and me, heirs to his throne.

because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors;

- He gave it all. He poured out all of himself on the cross.

yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.

- He identified himself with us, a sinner, and here Isaiah states again He took our sin upon himself and we are now made holy through the Messiah.