The Suffering Servant
Text: Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Isaiah 52:13-53:12 form for us a wonderful picture of the Lord Jesus Christ
The Old Testament is full of “Types and Shadows” of what is to come in the New Testament. These “Types and Shadows” were meant to prepare us for the reality that would come in the Lord Jesus Christ.
** It is like this: A certain man went on the internet and visited eBay.com. There he saw advertised a very nice soprano saxophone. He had always wanted a soprano sax...but, he wasn’t to sure about buying off from eBay. Why? Well, you don’t actually get to see and handle the real item ... he had to rely on a picture and a description to help him to decide whether or not this is the soprano saxophone he wanted. After he went ahead and purchased the sax ... and did receive it from FEDEX... THEN, he got to see and feel the real thing.
That is--in a way--the relationship between the Old and New Testaments. In the Old Testament we get to see the picture and description of the coming Redeemer. In the New Testament the Redeemer is “ ... [who] we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched”. (1 John 1:1) For us living in the 21st Century, the Holy Spirit is our FEDEX, bringing us the reality of the risen Lord.
A Servant Who Will Be Exalted
Isaiah 52:13 begins with a bit of a difficulty for us: The Messiah will be a SERVANT. Isaiah 52:13 “See, my servant will prosper; he will be highly exalted.”
The Jewish people were looking for a HEROIC messiah ... a deliverer. Their understanding came from one of the earliest messianic prophecies in the Holy Bible found in Deuteronomy 18:18 ‘I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him.” Since MOSES was a DELIVERING PROPHET who had DELIVERED the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt, then it stood to reason that the Messiah...who would be a prophet LIKE UNTO MOSES would also be a delivering messiah.
Is it possible that we, too, are looking for the wrong kind of savior? So many people I meet are looking for a spectacular savior...an “over-the-top” signs and wonders savior. But, is that all that Jesus was? A wonder worker?
Others are looking for a ‘Great Teacher’ savior. A teacher that can lead them to understand the mysteries of life. Certainly, Jesus was a teacher of righteousness. But, is that all that Jesus was?
Some are looking for an “all inclusive” savior that will ultimately save all the world regardless of whether people will accept His message of redemption or not. And, certainly, Jesus had great love and compassion for the lost. That is true. But, is that all that Jesus was?
Isaiah’s prophecy brings some new light, then, to the ministry of Jesus: He was the SUFFERING SERVANT OF GOD.
Philippians 2:5-7 can help us to see this:
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
The Holy Bible is teaching us that He was Co-Eternal and Co-Equal with God the Father ... from the beginning. That takes Jesus out of the category of a PROPHET who found FAVOR WITH GOD ... Jesus was DIVINE RIGHT FROM THE START ... RIGHT FROM HIS BIRTH!
John 1:1 Clearly declares:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
And, John’s Gospel goes on to declare: John 1:14 “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
But, The Son of God emptied Himself of every Divine privilege to become a servant...just as Isaiah had prophesied. He was FAITHFUL to EVERY COMMAND of GOD...even FAITHFUL TO THE HORRIBLE DEATH OF THE CROSS!
He carried out this “Servant” role perfectly! How can we know this? Open your Holy Bible to John 17. Here Jesus is praying one of His last “earthly” prayers before the crucifixion. He is reporting to God the Father that He has carried out all of the tasks assigned to Him! Look at:
Vrs 4. “I have finished the work which You have given me to do.”
Vrs 4: “I have GLORIFIED Your name”.
Vrs 6: “I have REVEALED Your name to the men you have given me.”
There is great controversy in our world today over the NAME OF GOD. In some parts of the world only one religion is allowed to own and use the mighty name of God. To preach or teach in any other name is illegal. But, they have it all wrong! God is not limited to just one culture. He is not owned by a single “prophet”. In fact, GOD HIMSELF has settled that controversy long ago in Exodus 6:2-3 “2 And God spoke to Moses, and said to him, I am Jehovah. 3 And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, as the Almighty God; but by my name Jehovah I was not made known to them.” AND when we study the life of Christ we find Him consistently revealing and glorifying that JEHOVAH--the Great I AM--God of the Old Testament.
Vrs. 8 “For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them ... “
Vrs 12 “I have kept them.” He is speaking about all who came to Him to receive the revelation of God.
THESE ARE all the actions of a SERVANT ... the actions of one who is SERVING ANOTHER. Jesus Himself declared, in John 5:30 “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.”
As the SERVANT OF GOD ... Jesus..the Son of God was PERFECT IN EVERY WAY! In fact Hebrews 4:15 tells us that Jesus “was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” You see, it was his SINLESS LIFE that opened the way for Him to be the SIN SACRIFICE OF THE WORLD! Look at what is written in John 1:29 “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
A SERVANT? YES, BUT HE DID NOT REMAIN A LOWLY SERVANT!
Look again at Isaiah 52:13
“He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high.”
Again, Philippians 2:9 can help us to understand this:
“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,”
HOW DID GOD EXALT HIM?
**FIRST, GOD DID NOT allow Jesus to remain in the grave! This is a fulfillment of the prophecy by David in Psalm 16:10 “For You will not leave my soul in Sheol,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.”
In the RESURRECTION FROM THE GRAVE, God EXALTED JESUS high above every other prophet and religious leader! The Holy Bible tells us in Romans 1:4 that Jesus was “declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.”
LOOK! I AM NOT HERE DECLARING JESUS TO BE THE SON OF GOD IN MY OWN AUTHORITY OR IN MY OWN WISDOM. If I did that it would be very foolish. There would be no power or authority in that declaration. BUT, THE MIGHTY GOD HIMSELF HAS DECLARED JESUS TO BE THE SON OF GOD...and, HE DID THAT BY RAISING JESUS FROM THE DEAD!
**SECOND, God has given Him a NAME OF POWER AND AUTHORITY!
Philippians 2:10-11 makes that very clear! Listen to these words, “...that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Do you realize what this means? It means that ..
Every Prophet..whether a FALSE PROPHET or a TRUE PROPHET will one day bow the knee at the name of Jesus of Nazareth!
Every RELIGIOUS, CIVIL, or GOVERNMENT LEADER will one day bow to the name of JESUS!
Every DEMON! EVERY SPIRIT! EVERY ANGEL! Will BOW!
EVERY MAN...EVERY WOMAN...EVERY BOY...EVERY GIRL WILL ONE DAY BOW TO THE NAME OF JESUS OF NAZARETH.
WHY? Simply because GOD HAS HIGHLY EXALTED HIM!
But, not only that...JESUS gave us authority and power IN HIS NAME. Open your Holy Bible to John 14:13-14 where we read these words, “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”
This is explained further in Mark 16:17-18 where Jesus mentions a LIST of things we will do in His name. Listen to this list:
“And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;18 “they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Casting out demons
Speaking with new tongues
protection against serpents and poison
laying hands on the sick for healing
ALL THINGS DONE IN THE NAME OF JESUS OF NAZARETH!
As wonderful as all of that is ... Isaiah went on to write in Isaiah 52:14, “Just as many were astonished at him ...”
THE WORLD IS STUNNED BY JESUS CHRIST
Recently, we saw the Hollywood movie depicting the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus Christ. This movie, the Passion of Christ was very controversial. Christians who watched the graphic brutality inflicted upon the Lord Jesus Christ were moved to tears. What they saw was such a wondrous love. The haters of Christianity were shocked and offended by the graphic violence put upon the Suffering Servant of God. One critical reviewer, evidently a hater of Christianity, called it a form of Christian pornography. None of this would have shocked or surprised Isaiah. He saw it and predicted it clearly: The Suffering Servant of Isaiah 52 and 53 will also STUN or SHOCK THE WORLD.
The WORLD would LOVE to make JESUS CHRIST simply a good teacher of religious ideas. In fact, Jesus was a great teacher...and we can never take away from that fact.
Yet, among the religious leaders who have attained a large following throughout history, Jesus Christ is unique in the fact that He alone claimed to be God in human flesh.
This makes Him unique among all founders of World Religions. Buddha did not claim to be God; Moses never said that he was Jehovah; Mohammed did not claim to be Allah in the flesh. And yet Jesus, the carpenter from Nazareth, said that he who has seen Him (Jesus) has seen the Father (John 14:9).
Jesus Christ made many STUNNING and SHOCKING claims for Himself...claims which STILL...even TODAY shock and stun the world. For instance:
**He said that He existed before Abraham (John 8:58)
**He claimed He was equal with the Father (John 5:17, 18).
** And, most shocking of all, Jesus claimed the ability to forgive sins (Mark 2:5–7) which the Bible teaches was something that God alone could do (Isaiah 43:25).
**The New Testament made Jesus equal with God as the creator of the universe (John 1:3)
**It claims He is the one who holds everything together (Colossians 1:17).
**The New Testament claims that God was manifest in the flesh (I Timothy 3:16, KJV),
**John’s Gospel says that “the Word was God” (John 1:1).
The united testimony of Jesus and the writers of the New Testament is that He was more than mere man; He was God.
This fact separates Jesus from the other religious figures. In all the other major religions of the world, the teachings—not the teacher—are all-important.
Islam is the revelation of Allah, with Mohammed being the prophet.
Buddhism emphasizes the principles of the Buddha and not Buddha himself.
This is especially true of Hinduism, where there is no historic founder only a set of teachings.
However, at the center of Christianity is the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus did not just claim to be teaching mankind the truth; He claimed that He was the truth (John 14:6). Listen to what He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
What Jesus taught is not the important aspect of Christianity, but what is important is who Jesus was. Was He the Son of God? Is He the only way a person can reach Father God? Are those who reject Him eternally lost into hell itself? This was the claim He made for Himself.
That, my friend, was (and, is) a stunning claim for Jesus Christ to make for Himself.
And, when we see Jesus at the cross of Calvary it brings us face-to-face with an issue we would rather not look upon: The fact of Sin.
My friend as you are sitting here today you may be aware of your own need of salvation...of your lack of righteousness. That sense of need is not by accident. It is the work of God’s Holy Spirit. He--the Holy Spirit--is here today to convict us of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment to come.
If you are here today and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your own savior...then you are lost from Him and lost from Eternal Life. It’s as simple as that!
But, you can receive Jesus Christ and His redeeming power into your life at this moment. You can be saved.