Summary: Exposition of Isaiah 53
The Sacrificial Servant
The Sorrowful Servant Vs. 1-3
The Struck Down Servant Vs. 4-6
The Silent Servant Vs. 7-9
The Satisfied Servant Vs. 10-12
We have now reached the most important chapter in all of the Old Testament
Isaiah 53 describes the life and ministry of Jesus Christ (vv. 1–4), His death (vv. 5–8) and burial (v. 9), and His resurrection and exaltation (vv. 10–12).
Isaiah 53 is quoted or alluded to in the New Testament more frequently than any other Old Testament chapter.
There are at least forty-one different citations
The theme that ties the chapter together is that the innocent Servant died in the place of the guilty.
This passage is at the heart of chapters 49–57, and its message is at the heart of the Gospel.
Like Mt. Everest, Isaiah 53 stands out in beauty and grandeur, but only because it reveals Jesus Christ and takes us to Mt. Calvary.
The messianic interpretation of Isaiah 53 was held by Jewish rabbis till the twelfth century.
We have here our Lord’s suffering and death, His resurrection and ascension, and the worldwide proclamation of the Gospel.
Read Isaiah 53:1-3
This section actually starts in chap 52
Vs. 13-15 talk about Jesus' appearance
Startled at the Servant’s appearance (Isa. 52:14).
If we take these verses in their chronological order, we see that people were shocked by His appearance (52:14), His exaltation (v. 13), and His message (v. 15).
“They shall see My Servant beaten and bloodied, so disfigured one would scarcely know it was a person standing there” (TLB).
“So disfigured did He look that He seemed no longer human” (JB).
When you consider all that Jesus endured physically between the time of His arrest and His crucifixion, it is no wonder He no longer looked like a man.
Not only were His legal rights taken from Him, including the right of a fair trial, but His human rights were taken from Him, so that He was not even treated like a person, let alone a Jewish citizen.
The Sorrowful Servant Vs. 1-3
Vs. 1 Even though they had seen his marred body and heard his message no one believed
The nations respond to the servant with an awed silence as the gospel reveals his true worth.
But in 53:1–3 the believing remnant of Israel laments how few in that nation have believed their witness.
Rom 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?”
Even when people see the power of the mighty God on display they still don’t believe
Most of them were still stuck on the fact that he was an uneducated Nazarite
Vs. 2 Grew up like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground
God’s power was demonstrated through a humble root in a dry land
Jesus didn’t come as a mighty tree but as a young child that grew up very poor
The dry ground is symbolic of Israel's spiritual state at the time of Christ's arrival
Vs. 2b He had no form or majesty, no beauty that we should desire him
He wasn’t much to look at
He was so normal looking that he was able to slip in and out of crowds unnoticed
Israel suffered from Saul syndrome, judged by appearances
Jesus didn't fit their kingly mold
People still struggle with that today
Most people don’t realize how beautiful God has made them
Ran into a former babysitter the other day
While few people deliberately try to be unattractive, modern society has made a religion out of physical beauty.
Jesus would’ve been rejected by the world today because he was nothing to look at
It is good to remember that Jesus succeeded without it.
Vs. 3 Despised and rejected
They were ashamed of Him because He did not represent the things that were important to them, things like wealth, social prestige, reputation, being served by others, and pampering yourself.
He is rejected today for the same reasons.
Jesus was not a “life of the party” man.
It would be wrong to think of Him as perpetually sad and morose;
Yet He knew sorrow and grief so intimately that He could be called a Man of sorrows.
Most of our sorrow is really just self-pity. It is feeling sorry for ourselves.
Jesus never once felt sorry for Himself.
His sorrow was for others, and for the fallen, desperate condition of humanity.
Heb 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him:
Because there was nothing outwardly beautiful or charismatic about the Messiah, mankind’s reaction was to withdraw from Him, to despise Him, and hold Him in low esteem.