Summary: Sermon #4 in the series, Jesus in Isaiah, reveals Jesus role as the Suffering Servant (Isaiah 49-53) This is the role of the Messiah that was not understood or accepted by Jews in Jesus’ day, and yet Isaiah clearly revealed that the Messiah would suffer r
THE SUFFERING SERVANT
SCRIPTURE READING: Isaiah 53:3-12
We seem to think of suffering as something foreign and strange. But scripture tells us clearly that those who follow Jesus Christ WILL share in His suffering. A look at the church’s history over the last 2,000 years shows us that this is true. For example,
At the Nicene Council, an important church meeting in the 4th century A.D., of the 318 delegates attending, fewer than 12 had not lost an eye or lost a hand or did not limp on a leg lamed by torture for their Christian faith. Vance Havner.
In this century, in fact, right now, today, thousands of Christians face persecution and pain and even death because they have chosen to name the name of Christ.
The book of Isaiah clearly presents a picture of the coming Messiah as a Suffering Servant. For those of you who are reading Isaiah, you will discover four passages which are often called the “Servant Songs”. They aren’t actually songs, but they are like the Psalms in their poetic and lyrical style. The four Servant Songs the present a portrait in poetry of the one the Lord calls “my servant.”
1. Isaiah 42:1-7; shows the Lord’s delight with his anointed servant and the gentle characteristics of the servant’s ministry
2. Isaiah 49:3-7; describes the chosen servant of the Lord and the world-wide scope of his influence.
3. Isaiah 50:4-10; Details the obedience of the servant and his vindication after suffering.
In the New Testament, the four Gospels give us most of what we know about the life of Jesus Christ here on earth. But the “Gospel of Isaiah” also gives us a portrait of the life of Jesus Christ. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John tell us in past tense about the Messiah they knew. Isaiah tells us in future tense about the Messiah who in his day was yet to come.
Isaiah foretold Jesus’ character, obedience, and relationship with His Father in amazing detail, 750 years before He came to earth. Let’s look at the Messiah according to the Gospel of Isaiah.
1. The Nature of the Suffering Servant
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.
We tend to put a lot of importance on physical appearance. But when God “put on flesh” and came to earth as a man, notice that he did not choose to come as one of the “beautiful people.” Jesus was evidently an ordinary, average-looking person. And yet, all through scripture you find people are drawn to him. The attractiveness and power of Jesus did not come from outward strength or beauty.
Jesus was a man of astounding magnetism and power. But his attractiveness did not come from physical beauty. And his authority did not come from a forceful, assertive personality. Look at this description in Isaiah 42:
42:1 "Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations.
2 He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets.
3 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. Isaiah 42:1-3
Can you feel the tender gentleness of this Messiah? He will be able to bring justice to the nations without even raising his voice. How unexpected and astounding that the King of the Universe would come so quietly.
This description reminds me of the expression: He wouldn’t hurt a fly. When ALMIGHTY GOD came to earth, he lived with such gentleness that he wouldn’t break a bruised reed or snuff out a smoldering wick. No wonder crowds followed him. This gentle Messiah was entirely approachable. Little children ran to him. The outcasts, the lame, the sick, all flocked to him. And when they came, he ministered to them:
Isaiah 42:7 tells us the Messiah will come to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
Isaiah predicted the amazing healing ministry of the Messiah. He also predicted that his teaching ministry would be unparalleled. Look in Isaiah 50:4:
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.