Summary: Isaiah's servant song No 3. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email:

Reading: Isaiah chapter 50 verses 4-11.

• 700 years before Jesus came to the earth;

• In his prophecy Isaiah spoke about him.

• This is especially clear in what are referred to as servant songs;

• There are 4 servant songs in the book of Isaiah (42,49,50, 52-53),

• And as you would expect;

• The word of God portrays and shows us various insights concerning this servant

So far we have noted:

• In chapter 42 Isaiah brings to our attention the servants call;

• Jesus the servant is referred to as God’s ‘chosen one’.

• Called & set apart for a special purpose

• In chapter 49 Jesus is seen as a prophet;

• Jesus the servant is described as having a ‘mouth like a sharpened sword’.

• His message would be uncompromising and would strike at the heart of the problem.

• In chapter 50 the servant is seen as a martyr;

• Verse 6: ‘I offered my back to those who beat me’.

• In this passage we are told the servant is a willing victim.

• Next W&W Isaiah chapter 53;

• The servant is seen as the saviour (chapter 53 verse 5)

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

• So in chapter 50; we are told that the servant willingly suffered.

• Then in chapter 53: we are told WHY he needed to suffer.

This morning we are looking at the third of the Servant Songs of Isaiah;

• Which is found in Isaiah chapter 50 verses 4-11.

• Jesus the martyr.

4 things to note regarding this servant:

(1). A ready tongue (vs 4):

“The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.”


• The classic movie, ‘A Christmas Story’,

• Is a nostalgic look at growing up in Gary, Indiana,

• Through the eyes of a boy named Ralphy.

• One scene depicts playtime in the middle of winter.

• Two boys surrounded by their classmates are arguing;

• Whether a person’s tongue will stick to a metal pole in below-freezing weather.

• Eventually one of the boys succumbs to the infamous “triple-dog dare.”

• Hesitantly he sticks his tongue out and touches it to the school flagpole.

• Sure enough, it gets stuck.

• Then the bell goes to resume lessons.

• Everyone runs into the school building,

• Everyone except the hapless victim.

• When the teacher finally looks out the window,

• She sees the boy writhing in pain, his tongue frozen to the flagpole.

• While few of us have been in that predicament,

• We all know what it’s like to have our tongues get us in trouble.

Isaiah informs us that God’s servant will be different from all other people:

• His tongue will not get him into trouble;

• In fact the very opposite, it will provide help to others.

• In contrast to the last servant song in chapter 49 when we noted;

• “He made my mouth like a sharpened sword”

• Indicating to us the powerful & incisive preaching ministry that Jesus was going to have;

• Isaiah now tells us that this servant will speak a gentle and appropriate word!

Various English translations of the Bible interpret that little phrase "the tongue of those that are taught" very differently.

• In the New International Version ("NIV") it is "an instructed tongue."

• The New English Bible translates it "the tongue of a teacher."

• The New American Standard calls it "the tongue of a disciple."

• King James says, "the tongue of the learned."

Note: The Hebrew word used (‘lamad’) means all those things and more:

• That Hebrew word suggests speech that has become a part of the nature of the one speaking.

• It suggests disciplined learning, not a haphazard experience.

• The Teacher didn't make it up as he went along.

• He had learned God's word and it flowed out of his life.

• It suggests that truth had been internalised & as a result his speech was very penetrating.

• It affected people very directly, and the hearts of his hearers were opened.

Isaiah has in view here:

• The teaching, preaching, and speaking ministry of Christ.

• And this ministry would bring comfort and strength to the weary.

Question: And just who are the ‘Weary’ that are in mind?

Answer: The ultimate answer has to be people who are trapped in their sins.

• The Jews were weary; because they were labouring under the demands of the law,

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