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Summary: This is the preliminary information in a 12-part series on Isaiah 53 that examines each verse in detail in order to discover more about the Suffering Servant and His Beauty.

Introduction to Isaiah 53

We read it, we know it, and some can even quote it. We may read it occasionally to find some comfort, to review history, to examine the sufferings of Christ, but how much do we really appreciate the words of Isaiah 53? Do we just glance over it, or do we ever dig deeper? Be assured, the more we examine this passage of Scripture, the more beauty is revealed. It offers one of the most vivid descriptions of the passion of the Christ [1] in Scripture and was remarkably prophesied 700 years before it happened! [2] In fact, as one writer put it, if one were to read it without knowing it was an Old Testament text, they might say it sounds like a Gospel account:

(2) … he hath no form nor comeliness … no beauty that we should desire him. (3) despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief … we esteemed him not. (4) … he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows … (5) … wounded for our transgressions … bruised for our iniquities … with his stripes we are healed. (6) … the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (7) He was oppressed, and … afflicted … he opened not his mouth … (9) … he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death …he had done no violence, neither deceit in his mouth. (12) … he was numbered with the transgressors … bare the sin of many, made intercession for the transgressors. [3]

Not only does Isaiah 53 depict Christ’s passion, but also offers descriptions of His person, His passivity, and His portion; each of which gives us a different perspective in which to view the Jewel, the believer’s Precious Treasure . . . the Lord Jesus Christ.

I offer no attempt here to prove that the Person spoken of in the fifty-third of Isaiah is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God come down from heaven to do a specific redeeming work. It is clear from Scripture that is who is being spoken of, and any effort to demonstrate otherwise would only distract us from the purpose at hand – seeking the beauty of the Lord in Isaiah 53.

As we examine Christ in this text and if you are a believer reading this, you have been given sacred and holy eyes to behold a beauty that the world is not able to see. [4] If you are a Christian and can no longer see the beauty of Christ, then there is certainly something wrong. This passage presents three foundational points for understanding salvation: our condition as sinners, our need of a Savior, and what that Savior did to redeem sinners.

When God reveals our condition before Himself as a thrice holy God (Isaiah 6:3); He makes Christ attractive to us. Remember your first love? How beautiful he/she was? Everything about them was beautiful; but as the years go by (perhaps if you’re younger, the months) maybe now, not so much beauty or attractiveness. So, we need to be reminded at times of what we first saw in our beloved which drew us to them.

It is the same with Christ. He ought to be precious to every believer. But often, as the years go by, our eyes get cloudy, and we no longer see the beauty that we once saw in our First Love. We just mechanically go through the motions of Christianity without stopping to be refreshed, to smell the Rose of Sharon, the Lily of the Valley (Song of Solomon 2:1), and remember the sweet-smelling Savior of sinners.

Colossians 2:3 tells us that in Christ is “hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Did you ever hear about buried treasure as a kid? How do you get to it? You must dig. We can apply that to Christ – He is our greatest Treasure, so let’s dig deeper. The further we dig, the more glorious Christ becomes.

Let Christ be exalted, and He will draw men to Himself (John 12:32); let man be exalted and men will be drawn away from Christ. One way we benefit, the other way we suffer. So, let’s dig and have a closer look at Isaiah 53, one of the most beautiful images of the Person and work of the Savior in the entire Bible.

Orientation to Isaiah 53

Isaiah was a prophet of Judah, whose ministry lasted about 60 years (from 740 B.C. – 680 B.C), and included the reigns of five Kings (Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, and Manasseh). [5] Much of his ministry was directed towards the idolatrous practices of the nation at that time, her alliances with alien nations, warning of the inevitable invasion of Babylon, the accompanying Judean captivity, and her future restoration and glory.

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