Summary: Jesus - The Suffering Servant. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reading: Isaiah chapter 53.
• Isaiah chapter 53 is very much a picture of someone suffering and being crucified.
• What makes this chapter unique is this;
• Crucifixion would not be known in this part of the world for another 700 years.
• It was the invasion of the Romans, who brought crucifixion to Israel.
We know of course that these verses are speaking about Jesus:
• The New Testament makes that abundantly clear,
• Isaiah 53 is quoted or referred to at least 85 times in the New Testament.
• Rom.10:16, and 1 Peter 2:24).
This servant song divides up into 5 stanzas, 5 sections:
• In the New International version of the Bible.
• Chapter 53 is beautifully symmetrical (it's balanced, it's even).
• It divides into 5 paragraphs of 3 verses each.
• With God and man speaking alternately.
(1). His mission (chapter 52 verses 13-15).
“See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.
14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him--his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness--
15 so will he sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand.”
(1). His Exaltation (verse 13).
• Verse 13 tells of Christ's exaltation,
• And the rest of the section deals with His humiliation.
• It was this strange paradox that has always perplexed the Jewish people:
• They did not realize that the messiah's coming was to be in two parts.
• First as the Suffering Servant who would come to die,
• And then secondly as the returning Exalted King, coming to reign.
• Some people buy a murder mystery book,
• And the read the last chapter first to see who done it, and then they read the book.
• Ask them why; and they say
• "Well I need to know what happened, it helps me appreciate the plot"
• Isaiah does something similar,
• He tells us of Christ's exaltation (how it will end) and then tells us of his humiliation.
"See, my servant will act wisely;
he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted".
In ancient times servants and slaves were living tools:
• You used them, wore them out and then replaced them.
• But this servant will not be replaced, in fact the opposite, he will be honoured.
• God says he will greatly honour him.
• In fact this servant will have a glory like God's own glory
Quote: Compare it with chapter 6 verse 1:
"In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne,
high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple".
And unlike Isaiah we know (look back):
• We know that God's servant Jesus Christ has been and will always be exalted:
• Acts chapter 2 verse 33 & Philippians chapter 2 are great examples of that.
(2). His humiliation (Verse 14-15):
"Just as there were many who were appalled at him-
his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man
and his form marred beyond human likeness"
• This verse informs us that Christ's physical sufferings made Him look inhuman,
• So much so that men were astonished when they looked at Him.
We again know from hindsight that that verse was an accurate picture of Jesus:
• Matthew chapter 26 verse 67 & Mark chapter 14 verse 65:
• Tell us about the blows and the beatings he received at the hands of the Sanhedrin.
"So will he sprinkle many nations,
and kings will shut their mouths because of him.
For what they were not told, they will see,
and what they have not heard, they will understand".
• When He returns the second time the whole world will be "startled, shocked",
• (The word should not be translated "sprinkle" but "startle".
• The first time He came, He astonished a few people in Palestine;
• The next time He comes, He will startle the whole world.
Now in the next chapter (53) before us:
• The next four stanzas.
• Traces the life and ministry of Christ.
(1). His Rejection (chapter 53 verses 1-3)
2Who has believed our messag eand to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”